The mission of the Psycho-Oncology Research Program is to improve quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and alleviating the emotional and physical burden of cancer.


Dr. Hoerger founded the Psycho-Oncology Research Program in 2013 at Tulane University in New Orleans. "Psycho-oncology" is the scientific field at the intersection between psychology and oncology. The discipline examines how psychosocial factors -- thoughts, emotions, behaviors, relationships, and culture -- contribute to cancer outcomes, as well as how the experience of living with cancer affects patients and their families. With the goal of mitigating the emotional and physical burden of cancer, our group has published 80 articles and chapters and trained over 30 scientists, supported in part by $2.5 million in federal, state, and local research funds. We thank the patients, family members, clinicians, community members, and funders that have made this research possible.

Research Priorities
  • Palliative care: Improving understanding, attitudes, access, and timely utilization
  • Health education and empowerment
  • Psychosocial factors that affect mental health, quality of life, and mortality
  • Health disparities based on geography, race, education, and financial status
  • Smoking prevention and cessation
  • Health psychology training
  • Translational psychological science, emphasizing personality, affect, and decision making