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The Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Survivorship Program aims to improve the experience and outcomes of BMT survivors and families through focused clinical care and research.
Due to advances in bone marrow transplant practices, more individuals are living longer free of their cancer diagnosis than ever before. In this environment, the cancer experience is shifting from an acute illness to a chronic condition. We are beginning to recognize the full range of medical, functional, and psychological challenges facing bone marrow transplant (BMT) survivors. Consequently, survivorship has become a distinct phase of cancer care that requires more focused attention. Survivorship refers to the process of living with, through, and beyond cancer. Survivorship is unique for every person. Everyone has to find his or her own path to navigate the changes and challenges that occur as a result of living with cancer.
The goal of this program is to improve the experience and outcomes of bone marrow transplant (BMT) survivors and their families by:
Survivors will be able to regularly see BMT specialists who also have expertise in other medical areas, creating a one-stop treatment plan that reduces secondary and potentially stressful doctor visits elsewhere.
Our clinical program is designed to comprehensively explore the needs of BMT survivors and their families and improve their quality of life and overall care, including:
Our research program is focused on enhancing the quality of life and care for BMT survivors and their families in the following areas:
BMT Survivorship Core Team Consulting Providers
Director, BMT Survivorship Program
Areej El-Jawahri MD is an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Survivorship Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and Associate Director of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center Survivorship Program. Dr. El-Jawahri’s clinical and research interests focus on improving the quality of life and care for patients with hematologic malignancies and their families, and addressing their palliative, supportive care and survivorship needs.
Associate Director, BMT Survivorship Program
Julie Vanderdklish is a Nurse Practitioner with The Department of Bone Marrow Transplant at Massachusetts General Hospital. She has focused in bone marrow transplant as a nurse practitioner since 1999 and is the Associate Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Survivorship Program. Julie’s clinical interests focus on the prevention and management of graft versus host disease, symptom management and improving the quality of life in bone marrow transplant survivors. Her research interests include sexual health and survivorship issues in the bone marrow transplant population.
Director, BMT Program
Yi-Bin Chen, MD serves as Director for the BMT program at MGH, and divides his time between patient care and clinical research with a focus on patients undergoing bone marrow/stem cell transplantation. He directs an active portfolio of clinical trials aimed to improve outcomes for patients undergoing stem cell transplantation. His interests mainly revolve around clinical care of patients underoing autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplant. He collaborates extensively with local and national colleagues as well as industry in addition to developing his own original clinical trials.
Jen D’Alotto is a Clinical Social Worker in the BMT/Leukemia and Bone Marrow Transplant Survivorship programs at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Her practice focuses on assessing/addressing the strengths and challenges families face in coping with their diagnosis and treatment before, during, and after transplant. Her clinical interests include patient and caregiver quality of life, post-traumatic growth, mindfulness practices as stress management strategies, and developmentally-specific supports to children in adjusting to a parent’s treatment. Jen provides assessment, support, and facilitation of access to resources in clinic and in the community.
Jessica Driscoll, DNP, ANP-BC is a nurse practitioner in the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. She graduated from Simmons College with her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in 2016 as a Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar. Dr. Driscoll’s clinical and research interests focus on the psychosocial aspects of chronic graft versus host disease as it impact patients and family caregivers.
Chrisa Hunnewell is a Nurse Practitioner specializing in the care of patients with Hematologic Malignancies who have undergone Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation. Chrisa received her MSN from Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions in 1995. She has been a member of the Massachusetts General Hospital transplant team since 2010. As a Hematologic Malignancies Nurse Practitioner, her clinical interests include long term complications of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Chronic Graft versus Host Disease, Leukemia and effects of cancer on quality of life issues.
Dr. Jacobo is the Chief Psychologist of the Medical Psychiatric Inpatient and the Director of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program at Massachusetts General Hospital and is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School. At MGH, she leads skills training groups, supervises, & teaches trainees about DBT. She is a senior member of the DBT consultation team at MGH, which offers as-needed consultation to other members of the MGH Psychiatry Department on challenging cases. In addition, she supervises and participates in the clinical application of mindfulness in medical populations. Dr. Jacobo’s research focuses on clinical applications of the DBT skills training model and she has been an author on several published papers in this area. A graduate of The University of Massachusetts at Amherst in clinical psychology, Dr. Jacobo has a long –standing interest in psychotherapy integration.
Cathleen M. Poliquin is a nurse practitioner in the Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. She has been with the program since its inception in 1993. She received her BS at Boston College, her MS at Boston University and her NP certificate at the Graduate School of Nursing at UMASS Worcester. She is also holds certifications as an Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse (AOCN) and Blood and Marrow Transplant Certified Nurse (BMTCN). Both these certifications are granted from the Oncology Nursing Society. She has published on the long term effects of bone marrow and stem cell transplantation and has presented at local and national oncology conferences on the long term effects of transplantation. She served as a co-facilitator for a patient/family support group sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for 22 years. Her clinical interests include the care of patients undergoing allogeneic and autologous stem cell transplantation, the complications and long term effects of transplantation including acute and chronic graft-vs-host disease and survivorship issues.
Meredith Saylor has been a nurse practitioner on the bone marrow transplant team at Mass General since 2012. She received her undergraduate degree from George Washington University and graduate degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University. Her clinical interests include patients who have undergone allogeneic and autologous stem cell transplants, complications from transplantation including acute and chronic graft vs host disease and survivorship care post transplant.
Lara Traeger, PhD is a clinical psychologist and researcher at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. In her clinical work and research, Dr. Traeger focuses on helping patients affected by cancer to enhance health behaviors and quality of life. She also studies strategies for enhancing resilience among cancer care clinicians.
As you have completed your initial cancer treatment and BMT, you might be wondering: what happens next? The answer is different for every person. Some people return to the lives they were leading before their diagnosis, while the lives of others are significantly changed by their cancer experience, the development of graft-versus-host-disease, or other issues and challenges. However, the challenge for every BMT survivor is figuring out how to return to everyday life while adjusting to the effects of their illness and its treatments.
Understanding and recognizing the challenges that face BMT survivors can help you through this time of transition. Understanding and recognizing these challenges are the first steps in developing strategies to adapt to the changes affecting your life after BMT. The goals of the MGH Bone Marrow Transplant Program Survivorship Program are:
There are many challenges that can affect BMT survivors including:
Many of these challenges face all cancer survivors, but some of them are very specific to BMT survivors (such as fear of germs after BMT and dealing with chronic GVHD).
Chronic GVHD is a condition when the immune system can attack the body. This condition can affect any organ in the body and we will be discussing chronic GVHD in detail in one of our sessions. But the common challenges that patients face when they have chronic GVHD include:
Our goal with the MGH BMT Survivorship Program is to cover all of these challenges and help you develop strategies to overcome these challenges in your daily life. Some of these challenges might not apply to you, but the strategies that we will discuss can help you in thinking about how to face the journey of survivorship after BMT.
Many BMT survivors describe the first year after BMT as a time of change. It is not so much “getting back to normal” as it is finding out what’s normal for you now. BMT survivors often also say that life has new meaning and they look at things differently now. This new meaning and perspective on life often make individuals stronger and allow them a chance to reflect on what’s really important to them.
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The Mass General Bone Marrow Transplant Survivorship Research Program focuses on enhancing the quality of life and care for BMT survivors and their families in the following areas:
The MGH Cancer Center Bone Marrow Transplant Survivorship Program is leading the efforts to develop innovative interventions to address the needs of BMT Survivors. Current ongoing research efforts:
To make an appointment, please contact: Kerri Tortora tel: 617-726-5765 email@example.com fax: 617-643-5843
Your donation to the BMT Survivorship Fund supports the program's mission to reduce suffering for survivors of bone marrow transplantation by providing outstanding clinical care and conducting research that aims to improve the delivery, experience and outcomes of survivorship care.
Mass General Resources:
Our Bone Marrow Transplant program is committed to developing leading-edge strategies for autologous and allogeneic bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell transplantation for a wide variety of hematologic malignancies, solid tumors and other life-threatening hematologic disorders.
Our goal is to promote the health and well-being of patients with cancer following completion of initial therapy.
The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Program offers a range of support resources around the Mass General Cancer Center. The program has an ongoing mission to make support services, as well as respite and community-building areas, more accessible to patients and families throughout the Cancer Center.
The Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital is dedicated to research, teaching and clinical application of Mind Body Medicine and its integration into all areas of health.
Social workers are available to Mass General inpatients and outpatients through walk-in services, scheduled appointments, or by request. Tel: 617-726-2643
The Center for Psychiatric Oncology and Behavioral Sciences brings together experts in psychiatry and psychology to help patients and cope with the psychological and behavioral impact of cancer. Tel: 877-789-6100.
The clinical team of the Marjorie E. Korff PACT Program is committed to providing professional and compassionate care to families who are facing the challenges of a parent’s serious illness. Tel: 617-724-7272
Mass General's Cancer Center's support programs are designed to help patients, their families and caregivers cope with the challenges of a cancer diagnosis. We offer a wide range of integrative therapies, workshops and support groups. Tel: 617-724-6737
Mass General's Cancer Center's specialized clinic provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment for men and women with concerns about sexual health after a diagnosis of or treatment for cancer. Tel: 617-724-4800
Mass General's Cancer Center's Lifestyle Medicine Program provides personalized one-on-one consultations for any patient with cancer or a history of cancer who wants to improve their physical fitness, nutrition, quality of life or cancer prognosis. Tel: 617-724-4000
Blood & Marrow Transplant Information Network (BMT InfoNet) is dedicated to providing transplant patients, survivors and their loved ones with emotional support and high quality, easy-to-understand information about bone marrow, peripheral blood stem cell and cord blood transplants.
Cancer.gov is the central website for the National Cancer Institute, the U.S. government’s principal agency for cancer research.
Look Good Feel Better is dedicated to improving the quality of life and self-esteem of people undergoing cancer treatment.
LIVESTRONG unites, inspires and empowers people affected by cancer, and provides free cancer support services to anyone fighting cancer today.
The National Bone Marrow Transplant Link is dedicated to serving individuals before, during, and after a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.
Stay tuned for information on our BMT Survivorship Workshop!
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