Suzanne Miller, PhD

Suzanne Miller, PhD
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This Fox Chase professor participates in the Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship
Learn more about Research Volunteering.

Professor, Cancer Prevention and Control Program

Editor in Chief, Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy, Research

Lab Overview

The overarching goal of Dr. Miller's lab is to make cancer prevention-control programs more effective by identifying the distinctive ways in which individuals make decisions, adjust to risk information and manage recommended medical regimens. She employs a transdisciplinary team approach in designing, developing and evaluating both traditional (e.g., print materials, telephone counseling) and new technology (e.g., text-messaging, web-based applications) interventions tailored to individual differences and targeted to group differences among patients and their families. Dr. Miller's work is based on her integrative theory-based framework, the Cognitive-Social Health Information Processing (C-SHIP) model, and focuses on interventions to enhance decision-making for prevention, treatment and clinical trial options; adherence to recommended screening, prevention and treatment regimens; adjustment to cancer risk feedback; and the translation and dissemination of interventions into clinical, community and other service settings and systems.

Dr. Miller's recent funded research has focused on developing and evaluating interventions designed to:

  • Enhance decision making about preference-sensitive cancer screening and treatment options
  • Increase adherence to follow up cervical cancer diagnostic screening following an abnormal Pap smear among inner-city women
  • Promote long-term smoking cessation among underserved pregnant and postpartum women
  • Facilitate the transition from active treatment into survivorship to improve adaptation, self-management and surveillance, especially among low-health literacy populations
  • Facilitate information processing, high quality prevention and treatment decisions, and adaptation among women at risk for breast and ovarian cancer
  • Improve informed consent procedures in both research and hospital contexts
  • Prostate cancer patients who used the treatment decision making program perceived more decisional support than those just receiving standard care. (Citation: Diefenbach, M. A., Benedict, C., Miller, S. M., Stanton, A. L., Ropka, M. E., Wen, K. Y., Fleisher, L. G., Mohamed, N. E., & Hall, S. J. (2018). Examining the impact of a multimedia intervention on treatment decision-making among newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients: results from a nationwide RCT. Translational behavioral medicine, 8(6), 876–886. https://doi.org/10.1093/tbm/iby066)

  • ) Low-income postpartum mothers reported satisfaction with the TxT2Commit smoking cessation program, rating text messages as helpful, understandable, supportive, and not bothersome. (Citation: Tagai, E. K., Miller, S. M., Belfiglio, A., Xu, J., Wen, K. Y., & Hernandez, E. (2020). Persistent Barriers to Smoking Cessation Among Urban, Underserved Women: A Feasibility Study of Tailored Barriers Text Messages. Maternal and child health journal, 24(10), 1308–1317. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-020-02963-x) Our telephone counseling program for increasing adherence to colposcopy after an abnormal Pap smear is recognized as an Evidence-Based Cancer Control Program by the National Cancer Institute. (Citation: Miller, S. M., Hui, S. K., Wen, K. Y., Scarpato, J., Zhu, F., Buzaglo, J., & Hernandez, E. E. (2013). Tailored telephone counseling to improve adherence to follow-up regimens after an abnormal pap smear among minority, underserved women. Patient education and counseling, 93(3), 488–495. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2013.08.008)

  • The Miller Lab presents at the 1st Annual SPEECH Conference at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine, 2019.

  • Dr. Erin Tagai, postdoctoral fellow, represents Fox Chase and the Miller Lab at the Rally for Medical Research on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., 2019.

    Educational Background

    • PhD, Clinical Psychology, Maudsley Hospital, Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, 1976
    • BS, Honours Psychology, McGill University, 1972

    Memberships

    Honors & Awards

    • Selected Evidence-Based Cancer Control Program by the National Cancer Institute. “Tailored telephone counseling to improve adherence to follow-up regimens after an abnormal pap smear among minority, underserved women,” 2018
    • Invited Cited Article, Cochrane Review of Patient Decision Aids, 2017 and Cochrane Review of Decision Coaching for Healthcare Decisions, 2019
    • Invited Participant, Specialty Integrated Care Initiative, American Psychological Association’s Center for Psychology and Health, 2016
    • Receipt of a Joint Legislative Resolution Award, on behalf of the State of New Jersey, honoring Dr. Suzanne Miller and the other founding members of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, 2016 (The joint resolution was signed by Senator Joseph Vitale and Assemblymen John S. Wisniewski and Craig J. Coughlin)
    • Featured Grantee, Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, 2014-2015
    • Recipient of the Society of Behavioral Medicine C. Tracy Orleans Distinguished Service Award, 2011
    • Fellow, Society of Behavioral Medicine, 2006
    • Recipient of the Cancer Control Award, Southeast Region of the American Cancer Society, 2002
    • Recipient of the Cancer Information Service Atlantic Region Award for Partners in Research, 2001
    • Fellow, Division 38 (Health Psychology), American Psychological Association, 1996
    • Young Scientists Award, British Psychophysiology Society, 1975
    • University Scholarship, McGill University, 1970-1972

    People

    Research Interests

    • Application of personalized behavioral principles to achieve health equity between the availability of groundbreaking cancer control technologies and the populations they are meant to serve, focusing on women and the underserved.
    • Theory-guided psychosocial and coping profiles underlying health information processing, action scripts, behavioral outcomes, and health status.
    • Development and evaluation of tailored and targeted cancer prevention and control interventions for populations at risk, patients, and survivors to facilitate decision making, promote behavior change and enhance adaptation, using traditional and new technologies.

    Lab Overview

    The overarching goal of Dr. Miller's lab is to make cancer prevention and control programs more effective by identifying the distinctive ways in which individuals make decisions, adjust to risk information, and manage recommended medical regimens. She employs a transdisciplinary team approach in designing, developing, and evaluating both traditional (e.g., print materials, telephone counseling) and new technology (e.g., text-messaging, web-based applications) interventions tailored to individual differences and targeted to group differences among patients and their families. Dr. Miller's work is based on her integrative theory-based framework, the Cognitive-Social Health Information Processing (C-SHIP) model, and focuses on interventions to enhance decision-making for prevention, treatment, and clinical trial options; adherence to recommended screening, prevention, and treatment regimens; adjustment to cancer risk, diagnostic, and survivorship feedback; and the translation and dissemination of psychosocial interventions into clinical, community, and related service settings and systems.

    Lab Description

    Dr. Miller’s lab has been among the first to explore decision aids for treatment and clinical trials decision making for cancer patients. In addition, she has explored the impact of web-based programs on adaptation after the transition to survivorship to promote self-management skills, communication patterns, and recovery.

    Survivorship among cancer patients is a core element of her research program, including exploring the transitions of care that accompany a cancer diagnosis.  Dr. Miller has been characterizing the challenges faced by survivors and their partners/caregivers in the oncologic setting, including poor physical functioning and negative psychological outcomes, as well as the unique challenges faced by patients with co-morbid conditions who decide to be followed in the primary care setting. These challenges have been addressed in the web-based PROGRESS (Prostate Cancer Online Guide & Resource for Electronic Survivorship) intervention, where the intervention group reported improved coping and fewer practical concerns, and the EXCELS (Extended Cancer Education for Longer-term Survivors) intervention.

    In the area of cancer disparities, Dr. Miller has conducted an extensive program of research in the Temple Health catchment area to improve adherence and adjustment to follow-up recommendations after an abnormal screening result, among underserved urban populations, who bear a disproportionate burden of cancer in both incidence and mortality rates.  Further, she has focused on the psychosocial barriers as well as the mediators and moderators that undermine the uptake of follow-up among at-risk women, especially over the long term. Miller’s work has also identified greater care needs and higher risk of poor post-treatment outcomes among men with prostate cancer who have low health literacy or depressive symptoms, which is particularly relevant to disparities due to the high rates of prostate cancer in the region that Temple Health serves.

    Dr. Miller has an established program in behavioral risk modification, including as it relates to tobacco control. Most recently, in collaboration with Dr. Enrique Hernandez of Temple’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine and Dr. Kuang-Yi Wen of Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (Thomas Jefferson University), she has been exploring the factors that undermine smoking cessation among urban underserved women, and has developed and tested texting interventions that facilitate prolonged smoking cessation to address the high rates of lung cancer in the catchment area. Participants reported high satisfaction with the program and rated the text messages as helpful and supportive.

    In the area of genetic risk, Dr. Miller has found that high risk women who undergo BRCA1/2 testing display specific cognitive profiles that determine their emotional responses to testing, that counseling interventions can enhance adaptive coping among high risk individuals, and that there are specific patterns of communicating test results that facilitate adaptive decision making and family function.

    Selected Publications

    Marziliano A., Diefenbach M.A., Hudson S.V., Tagai E.K., Handorf E.A., Bator A., Miller S.M., Demographic and psychosocial characteristics associated with use of a prostate cancer survivorship website: Implications from a multisite randomized controlled trial. J Med Internet Res. 24(3): e27890, 2022. PMC8981019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/35311678.

    Sansoni M., Tagai E.K., Lapitan E., Wen K.Y., Xu J., Belfiglio A., Hudson S.V., Kohler R.E., Hernandez E., Miller S.M., Development of a text message-based intervention for follow-up colposcopy among predominately underserved black and hispanic/latinx women. Cancer Causes Control. 33(6): 861-873, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/35334016.

    Miller S.M., Diefenbach M.A., Jacobsen P.B., Stefanek M.E., Bowen D.J., Bellizzi K.M.,Tercyak K.P., Cancer prevention and control: An overview of a decade of progress and the decade ahead. Transl Behav Med. 11(11): 1965-1966, 2021. PMC8634416. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/34850926.

    Tagai E.K., Hudson S.V., Diefenbach M.A., Xu J., Bator A., Marziliano A., Miller S.M., Social and medical risk factors associated with supportive needs in the first year following localized prostate cancer treatment. J Cancer Surviv. 15(1): 110-118, 2021. PMC7872345. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32681305.

    Tagai, E.K., Miller, S.M., Hudson, S.V., Diefenbach, M.A., Handorf, E., Bator, A., Marziliano, A., Kutikov, A., Hall, S.J., Vira, M., Schwartz, M., Kim, I.Y., Kim, S. (in press). Improved Cancer Coping from a Web-based Intervention for Prostate Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Psycho-Oncology.

    O’Malley, D., Davis, S.N., Amare, R., Sanabria, B., Sullivan, B., Devine, K., Ferrante, J., Findley, P., Miller, S.M., Hudson, S.V. (2020). User-Centered Development and Patient Acceptability Testing of a Health-Coaching Intervention to Enhance Cancer Survivorship Follow-up in Primary Care. Journal of Cancer Education. ePub ahead of print. PMID: 33025453

    Tagai, E.K., Miller, S.M., Xu, J., Hudson, S.V., Diefenbach, M.A., Kutikov, A. (2020). Social and medical risk factors of low readiness for re-entry among prostate cancer survivors in the first year post-treatment. Journal of Cancer Survivorship. ePub ahead of print. PMID: 32681305

    Tagai, E.K., Miller, S.M., Belfiglio, A., Xu, J., Wen, K.Y., Hernandez, E. (2020). Persistent barriers to smoking cessation among urban, underserved women: A feasibility study of tailored barriers text messages. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 24(10):1308-1317. PMCID: PMC7483310

    O’Malley, D.M., Davis, S.N., Devine, K.A., Sullivan, B., Bator, A., Clemow, L., Ferrante, J.M., Findley, P., Miller, S.M., Hudson, S.V. (2020). Development and Usability of the e-EXCELS Tool to Guide Cancer Survivorship Follow-up Care. Psycho-oncology. PMCID: PMC7279518

    Fisher, E. B., Miller, S.M., Evans, M., Luu, S. L., Tang, P. Y., Dreyer Valovcin, D., & Castellano, C. (2020). COVID-19, stress, trauma, and peer support-observations from the field. Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy, Research, 10(3), 503–505. PMCID: PMC7337751

    Tagai, E.K., Miller, S.M., Kutikov, A., Diefenbach, M.A., Gor, R.A., Al-Saleem, T., Chen, D.Y.T., Fleszar, S., Roy, G. (2019). Prostate cancer patients’ understanding of the Gleason scoring system: implications for shared decision making. Journal of Cancer Education, Jun; 34(3): 441-445. PMCID: PMC6557691

    Davis, S.N., O’Malley, D., Bator, A., Ohman-Strickland, P.A., Clemow, L., Ferrante, J.M., Crabtree, B.F., Miller, S.M., Findley, P., Hudson, S.V. (2019). Rationale and Design of Extended Cancer Education for Longer Term Survivors (EXCELS): A Randomized Control Trial of ‘High Touch’ vs. ‘High Tech’ Cancer Survivorship Self-Management Tools in Primary Care. BMC Cancer, Apr; 19(1): 340. PMCID: PMC6458696... Expand

    Additional Publications

    My NCBI

    Books

    Books

    Diefenbach, M. A., Miller, S. M. & Bowen, D. J. (Eds) (2016). Handbook of Health Decision Science. Springer Publications, 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10001. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-3486-7

    Miller, S.M., Bowen, D., Croyle, R. & Rowland, J. (Eds.) (2008). Handbook of Cancer Control and Behavioral Science: A Resource for Researchers, Practitioners, and Policy Makers. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association. (Foreword by Dr. David Abrams) https://doi.org/10.1037/14499-000

    Miller, S.M., McDaniel, S., Rolland, J., & Feetham, S. (Eds.) (2006). Individuals, Families & the New Era of Genetics: Biopsychosocial Perspectives. New York: Norton Publications. (Foreword by Dr. Francis Collins) https://doi.org/10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181572ba3

    Samaroff, A., Lewis, M., & Miller, S.M. (Eds.) (2000). Handbook of Developmental Psychopathology.  (2nd Edition) New York: Plenum Press. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4615-4163-9

    Lewis, M. & Miller, S.M. (Eds.) (1990). Handbook of Developmental Psychopathology. (1st Edition). New York: Plenum Press. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4615-7142-

    This Fox Chase professor participates in the Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship
    Learn more about Research Volunteering.