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Dr. Vadaparampil

Meet Susan Vadaparampil, PhD, MPH

Associate Center Director, Community Outreach, Engagement and Equit Researcher, Health Outcomes and Behavior Department

"It's really easy to step up and to be courageous when you're surrounded by inspiration every day."

Research is all about asking questions. And in her unique role at Moffitt Cancer Center, Dr. Vadaparampil is inspired to never stop asking them.

As a researcher in the Health Outcomes and Behavior Department, her focus is on continually improving the experience for cancer patients. Not to mention, their lives beyond cancer. It demands thinking about every aspect of cancer from a patient’s perspective.

“How are they getting information?” Dr. Vadaparampil asks. “How are they able to talk to their provider? Are they able to identify and describe the symptoms or concerns they’re having?” Questions like these fuel research studies to help Moffitt understand the day-to-day concerns of patients, as well as their emotional experiences with cancer.

The importance of her work was made personal for Dr. Vadaparampil when a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. After beating her cancer and going on to have another baby, her friend told her “to keep doing what you’re doing because we need you to do this work.” The words inspire her every day at Moffitt.

“It became a privilege to be part of how we can help our patients move forward,” she explains, “to give them the courage to make this experience something that’s empowering and life-changing in the most positive way possible.”

Cancer, of course, is life-changing for young patients. It’s why Dr. Vadaparampil is particularly interested in parenthood after cancer. Together with a colleague, they’re working to improve reproductive health for patients who wish to have more children. It involves conversations about the potential impact of treatments on fertility.

During an already stressful time, these conversations aren’t easy. So they created a national training program to help nurses, social workers and other providers at Moffitt—and across the country—deliver important messages about their reproductive health.

“It gives them courage,” Dr. Vadaparampil says. “It gives them something to aspire to after the cancer is done.”