Spotlight On: Mary Lou Galantino
Galloway, N.J. – Mary Lou Galantino, Distinguished Professor of Physical Therapy, began collaborative research during the onset of COVID-19 that examined the pandemic's impact on those afflicted with a cancer diagnosis. This diagnosis is life-changing under normal circumstances, let alone during a public health crisis. This research, "Effect of Disrupted Rehabilitation Services on Distress and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors During the COVID-19 Pandemic," was published in 2020.
As a result of the significance of the study, Galantino, along with fellow researchers, received the 2021 APTA Oncology Stephen Gudas Award for Outstanding Publication in Rehabilitation Oncology. This award recognizes those whose written publication in the journal, Rehabilitation Oncology, has resulted in the advancement of the practice of oncologic physical therapy.
"It was incredible to be a part of this thought-provoking and hopefully policy-changing research we successfully conducted during a pandemic. This data and insight provide a lens on when and if we should be closing an entire health care system for quarantine purposes," Galantino said.
Two of Galantino's students also were recognized for their work on additional collaboration with cancer survivors exploring the impact of yoga and meditation for chemotherapy related peripheral neuropathy, a painful condition with certain types of treatment. Kimberly (Wilson) Hampson and Shera Jang '22 were recipients of the 2021 APTA Academy of Oncologic Physical Therapy Student Research Award. In February, Jang and Galantino, alongside colleagues and other students, attended the Academy's Celebration of Life Reception to receive the awards formally.
Galantino's exuberance and gratitude spill out over the phone as she reflects on her love for her students and the work they do.
It was incredible to be a part of this thought-provoking and hopefully policy-changing research we successfully conducted during a pandemic. This data and insight provide a lens on when and if we should be closing an entire health care system for quarantine purposes.
Additionally, Galantino was invited on May 9 to deliver the keynote speech at the University of Maryland. Her presentation, "Engaging in Academic-Community Research During a Pandemic: Translating Research through a RE-AIM Model," focused on how to unpack and understand academic-community data collection and incorporates the RE-AIM framework- "Reach," "Effectiveness," "Adoption," Implementation," and "Maintenance."
This same framework was a tool and resource used to evaluate the study with breast cancer survivors conducted in 2020, and clearly demonstrated a significant amount of "reach,” which could have proved challenging during an isolating time during the pandemic.
Galantino, a cancer survivor herself, continues to explore innovative ways to advocate for those impacted by cancer through mixed methods research. Currently, she is working with her research team and a Ph.D. student at University of Delaware exploring the benefit of group health coaching for cancer survivors.
“Using technology to deliver health coaching continues to stretch our capacity to impact behavior change across cancer prevention and survivorship. It is all about connection regardless of the format via Zoom or in person; we all yearn for community during difficult diagnoses and unpredictable pandemics. And we are here to take the journey with students, researchers, patients and our communities,” Galantino said.
Reported by Mandee McCullough