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Crane named Moore Fellow

Pediatric oncology symptom tracker moves to next phase

Stacey Crane

A prestigious fellowship will enable Assistant Professor Stacey Crane, PhD, RN, to refine and expand testing of a web-based interface designed to make it easier for kids and their parents to report symptoms during cancer treatment.

Crane is the first faculty member at Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston to receive a Betty Irene Moore Fellowship from the University of California, Davis. She is one of 16 nurse scientists nationally chosen for the 2024 cohort. The fellowship comes with $450,000 in funding over three years for her research project, “Advancing Comprehensive Symptom Assessments for Children with Cancer.”

Crane received a grant from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in 2020, followed by a three-year K23 grant in 2021 from the National Institute of Nursing Research, to fund the development of the Smart Pediatric Oncology Tracker of Symptoms (SPOTS). The interface is derived from the Pediatric Patient-Reported Outcomes version of the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (Pediatric PRO-CTCAE™). SPOTS uses colorful animations and plain-language descriptions to help kids with cancer and their parents report symptoms and side effects to health care providers in real time.

“My K23 grant supported the development and pilot testing of a SPOTS prototype that was co-designed alongside children with cancer, their parents, and pediatric oncology providers,” Crane said. “With the Betty Moore Fellowship, my team will incorporate refinements identified by the stakeholders, such as a home page dashboard and automated symptom alerts to enhance communication with the clinical team.”

This pilot testing will also expand to a longitudinal study spanning 12 weeks at three pediatric oncology treatment sites in the U.S. Researchers aim to identify patterns in symptom reporting and demographics, and exit interviews with families and health care providers will be used to assess the clinical usefulness of SPOTS over time.

“Dr. Crane is primed to move to the next level of research and leadership through the one-of-a-kind support and networks offered through the Betty Moore Fellowship,” Cizik School of Nursing Dean Diane Santa Maria, DrPH, MSN, ACRN, PHNA-BC, FAAN, said in her nomination letter. “Her research will improve the health of this vulnerable population by alleviating children’s suffering and allowing clinicians to respond more effectively to the side effects of cancer therapies.”

Research funding constitutes just part of the fellowship, which also includes mentorship, networking opportunities, online courses, and an individual leadership development plan. Crane selected Shannon Docherty, PhD, PNP, FAAN, as her mentor. Docherty is an internationally recognized leader in symptom science aimed at improving the lives of children and adolescents undergoing treatment for cancer and other life-limiting and chronic conditions. Docherty is an associate professor at Duke University School of Nursing.

A former pediatric oncology nurse, Crane joined Cizik School of Nursing’s faculty in 2019 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Indiana School of Nursing, where she earned her PhD in nursing science and a graduate certificate in bioethics. She holds a Master of Science in Nursing with an informatics focus.

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Stacey Crane, PhD, RN, CPON

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