Kimberly Davis, PhD

Kimberly Davis, PhD

Associate Professor and Associate Outpatient Director for Psychotherapy

I came to Georgetown University in 2004 as a Research Assistant Professor and a member of the Cancer Control Program (CCP) of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC) and as a member of the Department of Psychiatry. My research focuses primarily on the routine assessment of symptoms and health-related quality of life (HRQL) and the treatment decision-making processes of cancer patients, survivors and their families.

Since 2006, I have been providing individual therapy to cancer patients and their families coping with the myriad issues involved in cancer, from initial diagnosis and treatment side effects to concerns at the end-of-life and survivorship. I established a multidisciplinary psychosocial oncology team which meets weekly with the goal of positively impacting overall patient quality of life and therefore their overall oncology care. Specifically, I work very closely with physicians, the palliative care team, nursing staff and other clinical and administrative staff at LCCC and throughout the hospital to address the psychological needs of patients and their family members through distress screening, psychological consultations, and on-going psychotherapy. On average, I provide therapy to 15-17 cancer outpatients per week.

Since 2013, I have been instrumental in the development and implementation of an assessment tool to screen for psychological distress in cancer patients at LCCC. In November 2014, we began to assess LCCC patients for psychological distress using a self-administered electronic tool adapted from the NCCN Distress Thermometer, the results of which can be integrated into patient’s electronic medical record and which allowed us to be in compliance with the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer mandate that all Comprehensive Cancer Centers screen all patients for distress starting January 2015. Most of 2015 was spent working through logistic issues and challenges to implementing the screening as a routine part of the outpatient clinical care process. By October 2015, we had a working system by which all new LCCC patients completed a distress screen at their initial visit prior to seeing their physician. The team developed specific follow-up protocols based on patient distress scores. Through our monitoring of the follow-up protocol we have had to make modifications to the follow-up protocol due to lack of sufficient resources to address patient needs. My understanding of the field of Psychosocial Oncology and my recognition of the current and future mission of MedStar Health to advance the health of diverse communities through greater access to high-quality, patient-centered, coordinated cancer care for the whole person, has resulted in my recent efforts to establish the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Network Psychosocial Oncology Program. Dr. Lou Weiner, head of LCCC, has requested a business plan for the program, which is in progress.