Distinguished Scientist; Robin Lally, PhD

February 15, 2021

Image with caption: Robin Lally, PhD

Robin Lally, PhD

This profile is part of a series to highlight the researchers who will be honored at a ceremony for UNMC's 2020 Scientist Laureate, Distinguished Scientist and New Investigator Award recipients.

  • Name: Robin Lally, PhD
  • Title: Bertha L. Pankratz Professor of Nursing and interim associate dean for research, UNMC College of Nursing
  • Joined UNMC: Sept. 1, 2016
  • Hometown: Eagan, Minnesota

The Distinguished Scientist Award

The Distinguished Scientist Award, sponsored by UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, recognizes researchers who have been among the most productive scientists at UNMC during the past five years.

Research focus:

  • Cancer-related psychological distress

The goal of my research is: To develop and evaluate electronic and mobile health (e/mHealth) self-management interventions to transform the care of people experiencing cancer-related psychological distress.

My research will make a difference because:

Nearly everyone diagnosed with cancer experiences some degree of psychological distress manifested as symptoms of anxiety, depression, panic and/or existential crisis. If left unchecked, these symptoms escalate to poor long-term psychologic, social, spiritual and physical well-being that affects people's lives and the lives of family and friends, as well as increasing the burden on society and the health care system. Arming patients and families with easily accessible, tailored and targeted self-management interventions, which increase the likelihood of them engaging in self-management to mitigate cancer-related distress, has the potential to change the lives of the more than 22 million cancer survivors expected in the U.S. by 2030.

My work focuses on the largest group of cancer survivors, breast cancer survivors, of whom over 30% experience significant cancer-related distress. My team developed, and has continued to test and upgrade the "CaringGuidance After Breast Cancer Diagnosis," an e/mHealth psychoeducational self-management tool aimed at distress prevention and reduction when accessed in the days after diagnosis.

We have achieved significant differences in overall distress, depressive symptoms and social constraints over usual care alone when women had access to CaringGuidance for eight weeks. Our team's current work is also focused on making a difference in the care that young and rural women with breast cancer receive; and most recently the mental health of our Nebraska Medicine workforce during COVID-19.

The best advice I've ever been given is:

If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Three things you may not know about me are:

  • My happy place is the Minnesota Northshore.
  • I plan to write a book in retirement.
  • I have completed two marathons, a 30K, and 17 half-marathons.

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Peter Kaufmann
March 05, 2021 at 12:30 PM

Congratulations Dr. Lally!

Catherine Paradiso
March 04, 2021 at 3:09 PM

Congrats Dr Lally.

Andy Lim
February 16, 2021 at 2:28 AM

Congrats, Dr. Lally!

Peggy Moore
February 15, 2021 at 12:46 PM

Congratulations Dr. Lally!

Scott Campbell
February 15, 2021 at 12:17 PM

Congrats, Robin!

Lisa Muschall
February 15, 2021 at 8:56 AM

Congratulations Robin!