Pain Psychologist Joins TSET Health Promotion Research Center

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Pain Psychologist Joins TSET Health Promotion Research Center

Desiree Azizoddin, PsyD, a behavioral scientist and pain psychologist, recently joined TSET Health Promotion Research Center (HPRC) at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Azizoddin will be conducting research which focuses on developing technology-based and novel behavior pain management interventions for cancer patients who use opioids. She is primarily interested in identifying and treating psychological factors that impact chronic disease outcomes centered around pain and opioids.

Azizoddin joins HPRC following her appointment as a research scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) with an appointment at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and social behavior. She received her master’s degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Loma Linda University in California. She completed her behavioral medicine clinical internship at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, a clinical fellowship in pain psychology at Stanford University Medical Center, and a research fellowship in psychosocial oncology and palliative care at DFCI and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Azizoddin is the principal investigator of a grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health titled, “Leveraging mHealth to deliver integrated pain-CBT, opioid monitoring, and self-management support for advanced cancer patients coping with chronic pain.” The goal of this study is to adapt pain-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (pain-CBT) for patients with advanced cancer pain and to integrate this treatment with opioid medication support using mobile health delivery (mHealth).

“Patients with advanced cancer suffer with significant pain need brief and accessible treatments to help manage their pain,” Azizoddin said. “I plan to adapt core components of pain-CBT and integrate them into an existing National Institute of Nursing Research-funded cancer pain mHealth intervention.”

Smartphone Technology to Alleviate Malignant Pain (STAMP) is a patient-facing smartphone application that supports symptom and medication tracking, delivers tailored education and advice, and includes proactive outreach. Azizoddin was involved in the development of the STAMP app with her mentor, Dr. Andrea Enzinger, during her fellowship at DFCI. “With mentored support, I have a strategic opportunity to augment and refine this application to add pain-CBT, including pain psycho-education, brief behavioral exercises, and adaptive self-monitoring,” Azizoddin said.

Azizoddin’s study has the potential to improve support for cancer patients as they self-manage chronic pain. STAMP+CBT offers a promising strategy to adapt psychological pain interventions for cancer patients using the HPRC mHealth platform to deliver medically oriented self-management support in conjunction with simulating the therapeutic experience of pain-CBT.

This research is primarily supported by the National Cancer Institute with additional support from the National Palliative Care Institute Kornfeld Scholars Program Award. Azizoddin will conduct the research in collaboration with co-investigators at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The HPRC receives funding from the OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center via an NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (P30CA225520) and the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust contract number R22-02.