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Emily BellEmily Bell is a Research Project Coordinator primarily working with Stephanie Wheeler and Katie Reeder-Hayes.

How did you get into cancer outcomes research?
I was hired in April of this year to support several projects for Drs Katie Reeder-Hayes and Stephanie Wheeler.  The position couldn’t fit more perfectly with my background and interests! I went to graduate school for counseling but spent the last 4 years as a research coordinator working on breast cancer clinical trials at Lineberger.  The bulk of my effort in this role is as a counselor with their new Alliance trial, GET SET, a national study to support breast cancer survivors and improve their long-term adherence to endocrine therapy medications. 

What have you been working on recently? 
In addition to GET SET, I am managing or assisting several projects within Outcomes. One project that I’m really excited about is a Komen/SECU funded project with Dr Reeder-Hayes, From Action to Impact: Improving Breast Cancer Care in North Carolina through Navigation and Collaborative Partnerships (ATI). The ATI project is looking at how geographic variation in where patients live might impact care outcomes. We are in Phase I of the project defining the “who, what, where, when and why” of gaps in breast cancer care delivery in North Carolina: where and when delays/gaps in care occur, from detection of cancer to completion of initial treatment; who are the patients, groups, and communities most likely to experience these delays; why specific delays or gaps occur in particular communities, and; what interventions will be most feasible and effective at the local level. Starting in 2021,  we begin Phase II of the project where we will assess the patient, healthcare provider/system, and community level barriers to initiation of treatment in by interviewing breast health providers, breast cancer patients, and community resource providers.

In an alternate universe, what is a different career path you might have taken?
Oh gosh, that’s a hard question.  While I was in graduate school I worked at Vocational Rehabilitation which helps people with disabilities achieve their goals for employment and independence. My primary patient population was individuals with severe mental illness who had recently been released from prison. I really enjoyed supporting the transformation from inmate to productive community member.  The journey was often hard, but very rewarding!

What  books or magazines are on your nightstand right now?
Big Ideas for Curious Minds: An Introduction to Philosophy 
During Covid, my 3 children, my husband, and I read 1-2 chapters/week and then discuss at Sunday night dinner. We are having the best family conversations as a result of this book. The ideas presented are practical, focusing on problems we all have and which affect children too. What things really make me happy? Do I want the right things? Why are other people mean to me sometimes? What is the real reason I’m in a bad mood? Each problem is presented and then framed in terms of a particular philosopher’s viewpoint. The viewpoints are chosen to help children develop an understanding of why they (and others) feel the way they feel and of how they can think about things to feel better. I hope this will give my children a bit of a mental toolkit to help them through life.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat
I LOVE to cook but grew up on strictly takeout so I’ve had to learn as I go.  Salt, Fat Acid, Heat has replaced the Joy of Cooking as my all-time favorite cookbook! This is a cookbook you actually READ vs flipping through a litany of recipes before giving up. The author is INCREDIBLY fun and lively and the book is wonderfully illustrated. She brings a lot of cooking experience, humor, and scientific knowledge to her explanation of how an understanding of the four basics of salt, fat, acid and heat can enable you to cook pretty much anything in the kitchen.

Huffington Post, Washington Post & New York Times
Yes, this is a bit of a copout since I read these on my iPad, but I start every day with a cup of tea and read a couple articles from these news sites before I start my day.  Before everyone else wakes up and the craziness of working from home, virtual school, and all of my other responsibilities of the day begin, I sit on my back porch (alone preferably) and get up-to-date on what is going on in the world.  Admittedly, sometimes I’ll just read the “fluff” pieces but taking the time for myself helps keep me sane and grounded.

During the COVID-19 quarantine, I have enjoyed having more time and spending time with my family!