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Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Psychologist Receives Childhood Cancer Research Grant from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 13, 2012Robert Noll, Ph.D., a pediatric psychologist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, has been awarded a one-year Supportive Care Research grant of $98,917 from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research.
 
Dr. Noll’s is one of nine supportive research grants awarded this year by the Foundation, totaling more than $535,000. He will conduct a research-backed, school-based project to support brain tumor survivors' social involvement by training classmates to be more inclusive of others viewed as "different." Children surviving brain tumors often have physical problems (jerky movements, slurred speech, vision, hearing, etc.) and cognitive delays caused by their disease or treatment. These brain tumor survivors are frequently described by peers as "not well liked," "having few friends" and "isolated" and puts them at risk for being bullied, dropping out of school, and becoming anxious or depressed. 
 
“While the majority of children with cancer during therapy and afterwards seem to fit in quite well with peers, a different picture emerged for brain tumor survivors,” Noll said. “The St. Baldrick’s Foundation grant provides the funds necessary to allow us to test an innovative approach to help brain tumor survivors fit in better with their peers and lower their chances of being bullied.”
 
The goal of the St. Baldrick’s supportive care research grants is to improve the quality of life for patients and survivors by addressing issues such as the toxic side effects of treatment, the often life-threatening long-term effects faced by survivors, the psychosocial needs of those affected by childhood cancer, and more.
 
Dr. Noll, also professor of pediatrics, psychiatry, and psychology, came to Pittsburgh in 2004, bringing a rich background in research, clinical care and teaching to the hospital, its patients and the university.
 
At Children's, Dr. Noll leads several NIH-funded investigations focused on understanding the impact of chronic illness on children and their families. His areas of expertise include quality of life for children with chronic illness; clinical trials of cognitive behavioral therapy to reduce distress after the diagnosis of cancer in a child; and bioethical issues in pediatric oncology related to informed consent.
 
For more information about Dr. Noll, please visit www.chp.edu.

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