Sheri Robb, PhD
Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine has named Sheri Robb, PhD, a Walther Professor of Supportive Oncology. This is one of five endowed positions to develop a supportive oncology program that encompasses research and patient care. Dr. Robb is a nationally renowned music therapy researcher, Professor at the IU School of Nursing, and an IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher. Her research focuses on supportive care needs of children and adolescents with cancer and their families. She has held 15 years of continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for her work to develop and test music-based interventions to reduce symptom distress and improve health outcomes.
“My motivation for becoming a research scientist was to advance research in the emerging field of music therapy—to better understand how and for whom specific interventions work and to increase access to those services,” Dr. Robb said. “As a Walther Professor of Supportive Oncology, I will have the opportunity to accelerate and advance research in music and health in exponential ways, with the goal of creating evidence-based and culturally meaningful programs of care to improve the health and well-being of all patients with cancer and their families.”
Setting an Example
The supportive oncology program intends to influence care for patients with cancer and their families throughout Indiana and the country by providing expertise and best practices for other health systems to model, with particular attention to the underserved. Dr. Robb currently holds a $2 million NIH grant to lead a study on how music and play interventions may reduce stress, improve survivorship, and boost the immune system during cancer treatments in children between the ages of 3 and 8. Because child and parent distress are interrelated, researchers are aiming to reduce stress levels in both patients and caregivers.