The Department of Supportive Care Summer Student Research Program aims to provide students with meaningful opportunities to engage in current research related to psychosocial oncology, palliative care, and cancer rehabilitation and survivorship.

The specific objectives of the program include:

  • Contribute to ongoing research activities in the Department of Supportive Care
  • Build research knowledge and skills, and gain meaningful work experience
  • Facilitate professional network development​

The program runs every year from June to August. ​

Available Opportunities


Available Opportunities

Psychosocial Oncology

Clinician Investigators Description of Research Contact Information

Sarah Hales MD, PhD, FRCPC

Rinat Nissim PhD, C. Psych.

Mixed-methods, multi-site study examining Medical Assistance In Dying (MAID) from the patient and caregiver perspective, assessing outcomes including the quality of death and bereavement morbidity.

Patients requesting MAID and their primary family caregivers are asked to complete questionnaires on their mood, quality of life, attachment style, and satisfaction with care. Patient and caregiver participants are also invited to participate in semi-structured interviews about their perspective on the MAID process.

Students will have the opportunity to be involved in relevant literature reviews, in participant recruitment and the collection of quantitative and/or qualitative data, and in preliminary quantitative/qualitative data analysis. Students will also have the opportunity to support other psychosocial oncology research ongoing in the department.

Palliative Care

Clinician Investigators Description of Research Contact Information

Breffni Hannon MB BCh BAO, BMedSci, MMedSci, MCFP
Palliative Care Site Lead

  1. A review of patients who failed to attend an initial visit to the Oncology Palliative Care Clinic (OPCC). This retrospective review will compare patients who were 'no-shows' to their clinic visit to a random selection of new patients who did attend. We hope this work will identify some of the clinical and demographic factors that might be barriers to attending the OPCC. The summer student would be involved in data collection and interpretation, and manuscript writing.
  2. A validation of the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) with added symptoms of sleep and bowel dysfunction, using a timeframe of 'past 24 hours' versus the original timeframe of 'now'. ESAS is a numerical rating scale symptom assessment tool used across all cancer centres in Ontario to track symptom burden and intensity. This study will prospectively recruit patients across the cancer centre to complete 2 versions of ESAS as described above, to validate an updated version and to help develop a conversion factor to allow us to use both versions of the tool in our research moving forward. The summer student would be involved in participant recruitment, data collection and entry.
  3. A review of patients known to the palliative care team at The Princess Margaret who are admitted under General Internal Medicine services at Toronto General Hospital. This study will use day-to-day generated data regarding patients admitted to Toronto General Hospital, and aims to characterize the patients known to our service who are admitted there. We will use clinical and demographic data to look at the profiles of these patients and assess what proportion could have avoided the emergency department.

Cancer Rehabilitation & Survivorship

Clinician Investigators Description of Research Contact Information

Lori Bernstein PhD, C. Psych.

Research projects focus on understanding and characterizing the cognitive changes that cancer and/or its treatment has on people, both in the short and long term, and ways to help improve functioning.

Jackie Bender PhD

An active program of research in digital health, cancer survivorship and implementation science, focusing on designing, implementing and evaluating digital health innovations that leverage peer support to meet the supportive care needs of people with cancer and their families.

Kailey Trewartha RKin
Registered Kinesiologist

Exercise across the cancer continuum with a focus on prehabilitation prior to cancer treatment.
Last reviewed: 3/27/2022
Last modified: 2/6/2023 11:46 AM