Women’s History Month: Debra Lynch Kelly and Angela Starkweather

As part of a new nationwide research program, two University of Florida College of Nursing faculty are working to improve the health and well-being of older adult women who have been diagnosed with cancer.

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Debra Lynch Kelly and Angela Starkweather

Chamings Professor Angela Starkweather, PhD, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN and Associate Professor Debra Lynch Kelly, PhD, RN, OCN, CNE, FAAN, recently joined with Pack Health to investigate the feasibility of a digital health coaching intervention following primary treatment of a tumor.

According to the National Cancer Institute, women are more prone to experience severe side effects of cancer treatment compared to men, significantly impacting their well-being.

“The symptoms that women experience from cancer treatment can have a significant impact on their ability to enjoy the activities that they participated in before being diagnosed with cancer, including time with their family and loved ones, and self-care that is so important for maintaining their health and quality of life,” Starkweather said.

One possible solution?  Exploring how digital coaching sessions can facilitate survivors’ well-being and help them navigate the resources for meeting their clinical and non-clinical needs.

Thanks to Starkweather and Lynch Kelly’s efforts, UF is now part of a collaborative group of health care and academic centers that serve as study sites for this innovative intervention. By tracking cancer survivors’ activity, sleep habits and quality of life through a digital app, the team hopes to determine the impact of the coaching program on health outcomes and quality of life for cancer survivors.

Both Starkweather and Lynch Kelly are personally dedicated to improving cancer survivors’ longevity. This project will capture how cancer survivors report their post-treatment experiences both with and without digital coaching. According to the pair, the results of this groundbreaking study may provide much needed relief, and generate data to support more widespread use of coaching for cancer survivors.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be part of this discovery and to work with this amazing team while partnering with cancer survivors across multiple cancer populations to improve the health of our communities.” Lynch Kelly said.