Joseph Greer, PhD

Joseph Greer, PhD

Research Interests: Development and testing of supportive care interventions for patients with cancer.



Dr. Joseph Greer is the Clinical Director of Psychology in the Center for Psychiatric Oncology & Behavioral Sciences at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. He is also an Assistant Professor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Greer received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and subsequently completed his postdoctoral fellowship in Behavioral Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

Research Interests

Dr. Greer's research focuses on the development and testing of supportive care interventions for patients with cancer. As the principal investigator and collaborator on numerous grant-funded projects, he is studying the application of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat anxiety in patients with metastatic cancer; the use of mobile technology to promote symptom management and adherence to oral chemotherapy medications; and the benefits of early palliative care integrated with standard oncology care. Dr. Greer has published over 60 scholarly papers, reviews, chapters, and commentaries related to this work. He has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and philanthropic donations. Dr. Greer’s program of research is greatly informed by his clinical practice in which he provides CBT for patients with cancer and their families.

Future Directions

Next steps in this program of research include developing innovative ways to increase access to supportive care among those coping with cancer. For example, Dr. Greer and his team are developing an array of mobile technologies and point-of-care interventions to help patients with cancer manage symptoms, such as breathlessness, as well as cope effectively during the transition from active treatment to surveillance. In addition, Dr. Greer will continue to collaborate with his colleagues in adapting the early palliative care intervention to support patients with life-threatening diseases across diverse medical settings.


Selected Publications

  • Greer JA, Amoyal N, Nisotel L, Fishbein JN, MacDonald J, Stagl J, Lennes I, Temel JS, Safren SA, Pirl WF. A Systematic Review of Adherence to Oral Antineoplastic Therapies. Oncologist, in press.
  • Greer JA, MacDonald JJ, Vaughn J, Viscosi E, Traeger L, McDonnell T, Pirl WF, Temel JS. Pilot study of a brief behavioral intervention for dyspnea in patients with advanced lung cancer. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2015. 50(6):854-60.
  • Greer JA, Jackson VA, Meier DE, Temel JS. Early integration of palliative care services with standard oncology care for patients with advanced cancer. CA Cancer J Clin. 2013. 63(5):349-63.
  • Greer JA, Pirl WF, Jackson VA, Muzikansky A, Lennes IT, Heist RS, Gallagher ER, Temel JS. Effect of early palliative care on chemotherapy utilization and end-of-life care in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2012; 30: 394-400.
  • Greer JA, Traeger L, Bemis H, Solis J, Hendriksen ES, Park ER, Pirl WF, Temel JS, Prigerson HG, Safren SA. A pilot randomized controlled trial of brief cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety in patients with terminal cancer. Oncologist. 2012; 17(10): 1337-45.

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