Carole Mayer, PhD

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Director of Research and Regional Clinical Lead, Supportive Care Oncology Program, Health Sciences North
Affiliate Scientist, Health Sciences North Research Institute

Dr. Carole Mayer is the Director of Research and Regional Psychosocial Oncology Lead of the Supportive Care Program at the Northeast Cancer Centre (NECC), Health Sciences North (HSN) in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Mayer leads a team of allied healthcare professionals and rehabilitation specialists, providing care to cancer patients and families across the cancer journey. She holds administrative responsibilities for the Medicine Lodge and other Indigenous services at HSN/NECC.  She is also the Regional Lead of the Ontario Cancer Symptom Management Collaborative for Cancer Care Ontario. 

Dr. Mayer obtained a PhD in Social Work from Memorial University of Newfoundland. She has a Masters of Social Work and an Honours Bachelor of Social Work from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. She obtained a Fellowship in the Executive Training for Research (EXTRA) through the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement.

Honors and Awards

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  • 2016 Award of Excellence-Recipient Innovation Award, Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology
  • 2013 Fellow of the School of Graduate Studies in recognition of continued academic excellence in the School of Social Work, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • 2010 Nominee for the Best Practice Spotlight panel for the Cancer Care Ontario Clinical Council
  • 2009 Recipient Innovation Award, Cancer Care Ontario, Cancer Quality Council of Ontario and Canadian Cancer Society.  

Selected Affiliations

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  • Vice President of the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO)
  • Member, Anishinaabe Kweok Research Network in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
  • Member of the Research Committee for the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology
  • Member of the Person-Centred Care Advisory Committee, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
  • Member of CancerChat Canada Advisory Group, de Souza Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Past Member of Board of Directors for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation-Ontario Division

Research Interests

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Dr. Mayer’s research focusses on understanding the needs of cancer patients and their families living in rural and remote communities and developing oncology programming that is unique to the geography and population of the Local Health Integration Network-13. She strives to improve access and quality to supportive care and psychosocial services, with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life for people affected by cancer. 

Recipient of several grants,  she led one of the first and largest Canadian initiatives to implement  Screening for Distress, 6th Vital Sign,  in 14 Community Oncology Chemotherapy Clinics in Northeastern Ontario.

Dr. Mayer is currently leading the implementation of additional  patient reported outcome measures through a pilot quality improvement project at the NECC for the symptoms of depression, anxiety, pain and cancer fatigue as part of the Improving Patient Experience and Health Outcomes Collaborative (iPEHOC).  Sudbury is one of three pilot sites in Ontario with another three pilot sites in Quebec, funded by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer through Cancer Care Ontario (CCO).  As part of iPEHOC, she is working in collaboration with the Aboriginal Cancer Care Unit at Cancer Care Ontario to implement and evaluate patient reported outcomes measures working collaboratively with First Nations communities on Manitoulin Island.

Her work is grounded in Feminist Epistemologies, the methodology of Participatory Action Research, qualitative methods, mixed methods and knowledge translation.

Current Funding

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Canadian Partnership Against Cancer through Cancer Care Ontario (CCO).  

Selected Publications

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  • Howell D, Keshavarz H, Esplen MJ, Hack T, Hamel M, Howes J, Jones J, Li M, Manii D, McLeod D, Mayer C, Sellick S, Riahizadeh S, Noroozi H, & Ali M on behalf of the Cancer Journey Advisory Group of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. A Pan Canadian Practice Guideline: Screening, Assessment and Care of Psychosocial Distress, Depression, and Anxiety in Adults with Cancer, Toronto: Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology, July 2015.
  • Mayer, C. & Damore-Petingola, D. (2015) Using Telehealth to Respond to Distress in Rural and Remote Chemotherapy Clinics. In Christ, G, Messner, C, Behar, L. Editors, The Handbook of Oncology Social Work: Psychosocial Care for People with Cancer, Oxford University Press.
  • Mayer, C., Damore-Petingola, S., Conlon, M., George, K. (2014). Implementing and sustaining screening for distress in 14 community oncology clinics: a good news story! Abstract, Supportive Care in Cancer, 22(Supplement1), S170.
  • Mayer, C. (2013). Younger women’s experience with distress at time of breast biopsy and Diagnosis, (Unpublished doctoral dissertation) Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.
  • Bultz, BD., Groff, SL. Fitch, M., Blais, MC., Howes, J., Levy, K., Mayer, C. (2011) Implementing screening for distress, the 6th vital sign: a Canadian strategy for changing practice.  Psycho-Oncology, 20(5), 436-490.
  • Mayer, C., Loney, K., Lamoureux, S., Gauthier-Frohlick, D. (2011). A nutrition referral priority rating system in an outpatient oncology centre.  Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 72(2),  92-95.
  • Mayer, C., Damore-Petingola, S. (2010).  Delivering person-centred care.  Oncology Exchange, 9(3), 7.
  • Rodin, G., Zimmermann, C., Mayer, C., Howell, D., Katz, M., Sussman, J., Mackay, J.,  Brouwers, M. (2009). Clinician - patient communication: Evidence-based recommendations to guide practice in cancer. Current Oncology, 16(6), 398-405.
  • Mayer, C., Larose, C., Gauthier-Frohlick, D.  (2009). A Mixed Methods Research Design for the Implementation and Evaluation of a Community Project - Bridges to Better Breast Health. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 8(3), Conference Abstracts, 38.
  • Gauthier-Frohlick, D., Boyko, S., Conlon, M., Damore-Petingola, S., Lightfoot, N., Mackenzie, T., Mayer, C., Reed, E., Steggles, S. (2009). Evaluation of Cancer Patient Education and Services, Journal of Cancer Education, doi: 10.1007/s13187-009-0008-y.