Bianca M. Wolf, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Bianca Wolf is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Puget Sound. Her research is focused on the reciprocal influences between family communication and health and well-being.
She has studied and taught health communication in a variety of contexts including cancer communication among family members, patient-provider communication, and persuasion and influence in interpersonal and media health risk messages. Wolf’s most recent research examines computer-mediated communication among family members dealing with health disruptions.
Prior to joining Puget Sound, Wolf worked for 12 years in healthcare insurance administration, medical software and practice management consulting for physicians, and corporate education. She earned her Ph.D. and second master’s degree, an M.P.H., with an emphasis on health communication from the University of Iowa. As a Dean’s Graduate Fellow at Iowa (2005-2009), she conducted and presented her cancer communication research in which she examined individual and collaborative coping processes of family members dealing with breast cancer. She also worked with the Iowa Consortium for Comprehensive Cancer Control on a Lance Armstrong Foundation grant-funded project to establish a successful pilot mentoring program for newly diagnosed cancer survivors (M.A.P.S. – Mentors Assisting & Preparing Survivors).
Wolf has taught courses inpatient-provider communication and family communication. She is currently working on a co-authored communication textbook and manual for dental practitioners, hygienists, therapists, and assistants thereby moving patient-provider studies beyond a traditional medical context to include other healthcare providers. Wolf joined the Research Team in 2011 to consult and collaborate on mother-daughter studies focused on issues of chronic risk, breast cancer in Latina families, and prevention communication. For more information on Wolf, please see her profile at: http://www.pugetsound.edu/faculty-pages/bwolf
Research Team Overview
“I wish sometimes they’d allow me to talk more than they do … They don’t want to hear it … If I would talk about it in a negative way my daughter would not be happy about that. She wants that positive attitude – but let me get it out of my system kind of thing!” —Midlife diagnosed mothers with daughters (Research Participants)
In 2006, Carla L. Fisher, Ph.D. initiated the Mother-Daughter Breast Cancer Research Project to help mothers and daughters enhance their communication in an effort to improve their health and disease prevention. Our research team is comprised of health behavior scientists and practitioners with expertise in disease coping and prevention, health interventions, stress and well-being, women’s health, as well as family communication behavior during illness. These experts have been funded for their research activities at the private, local, and federal levels and are also actively involved in translating the science to health care practice. The team brings an interdisciplinary understanding of health and family interaction and unites a variety of disciplines including health communication, nursing, public health, psychology, counseling, and medical humanities. We are fortunate to have these revered internationally recognized experts working together on our research team.
Mollie Rose Canzona, M.A.
Mollie Rose Canzona is a first-year doctoral student in health communication at George Mason University. She graduated summa cum laude from Salem College with a B.A. in English and Not-for-Profit Management. She received a M.A. in Journalism with a focus in health and science writing from Emerson College in Boston. Her master’s thesis used narrative analysis to investigate identity revision in chronic disease patients. During her time as a journalist, she wrote stories on breast cancer screening and diagnosis, families coping with Parkinson’s disease, and domestic abuse and sexual assault survivorship. She has also worked as a crisis counselor, teen support group facilitator, and patient advocate. At George Mason she has taught introductory courses on public speaking and plans to teach courses on interpersonal communication in the upcoming academic year. Her research interests include family communication during health-related challenges, particularly in the contexts of cancer and chronic disease, disordered eating, end-of-life caregiving, and mental health. Canzona joined Fisher in working on the mother-daughter breast cancer project in 2012.
Michelle A. Miller-Day, Ph.D.
Dr. Michelle A. Miller-Day recently joined Chapman University as a Professor of Communication Studies where she will also be developing an Institute for Healthy Families. Previously she was an Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and Faculty Affiliate with the Center for Human Development and Family Research at The Pennsylvania State University where she also organized the University’s first Qualitative Research Group. Her research examines interpersonal and family communication variables related to problem behavior such as substance abuse and suicide. She is an expert in mother-daughter relationships and family communication during health transitions.
Miller-Day is currently the Principle Qualitative Investigator of a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded line of research — the Drug Resistance Strategies Project — and has served as the primary qualitative methodologist for this research for the past 20 years. This work has developed one of the most successful evidence-based substance use prevention programs in the United States (see SAMSHA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Prevention and Practice).
Miller-Day has published numerous articles in professional journals and book chapters. She has authored three books, including Communication among Grandmothers, Mothers, and Adult Daughters, a qualitative ethnographic study on maternal relationships that has been nationally recognized with numerous research awards. The popular press, including Glamour Magazine and Redbook, has highlighted her research.
Miller-Day played a key role in Fisher’s original research on mother-daughter communication and breast cancer and continues to be an integral collaborator and consultant. She has mentored Fisher on her research since 2004 and served on her doctoral committee at Penn State. Miller-Day and Fisher have collaborated on mother-daughter research in various health contexts (breast cancer, disordered eating behavior, positivity and coping, relational development) and together they have written numerous articles about health behavior in this maternal bond. For more information on Miller-Day, please see her profile at: http://cas.la.psu.edu/faculty-staff/mam32.
Carla L. Fisher, Ph.D.
Dr. Carla L. Fisher is an Assistant Professor and member of the Research Team in the Center for Health and Risk Communication in the Department of Communication at George Mason University. Prior to this, she was with Arizona State University as an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Research in the Family Communication Consortium (FCC). Fisher received her Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University with a focus on family, health, & aging communication, where she worked with Drs. Nussbaum and Miller-Day.
As a National Institute on Aging (NIA) Pre-doctoral Fellow (2005-2008) she completed interdisciplinary training in human development and aging behavior, including a minor and graduate certificate in gerontology and international health studies at the Institute of Gerontology, University of Jönköping, Sweden. In 2010 she participated in post-doctoral training in health behavior theory in the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) fifth Advanced Training Institute.
Fisher uses a life-span, developmental framework to understand how families cope with health changes to maximize their wellness. She explores potential therapeutic implications and long-term health outcomes of kin interaction and how family narratives can support behavioral modeling and psychosocial education. The National Communication Association honored Fisher’s dissertation research, which examined mother-daughter communication and breast cancer coping in young, middle, and later adulthood, with two national top dissertation awards. Fisher has published this research in journal articles and book chapters, and she is completing a book in Hampton Press’ health communication series.
Fisher has been invited to speak at medical centers, universities, and community organizations, and she collaborates with various medical institutions, including Mayo Clinic where she began working in conjunction with Dr. Pipe. She also collaborates with Memorial Sloan-Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences where she conducts psychosocial research aimed at understanding the needs of high-risk mothers and daughters, particularly during genetic counseling and provider-patient consultations. For more information on Fisher, please see her profile at: http://communication.gmu.edu/people/cfishe23
Teresa Britt Pipe, Ph.D., R.N.
Dr. Teri Britt Pipe is Director of Nursing Research and Innovation at Mayo Clinic and Associate Professor of Nursing in the College of Medicine at Mayo Clinic. In 2011 she was appointed Interim Dean of Arizona State University’s College of Nursing & Health Innovation, where she has been adjunct faculty since 2002. Pipe holds a doctorate in health policy administration from The Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Arizona and a bachelor’s in nursing from the University of Iowa.
Pipe is an expert on nursing leadership as well as health and wellness. She has authored numerous articles in these areas. Most of her clinical work focused in gerontology and delivery models of health care for the frail and underserved. She has recently focused her research on stress management for employees, cancer survivors, and caregivers. Her current research explores innovative approaches to creating and sustaining healing environments for patients and professional staff, models of resilience and stress management, interdisciplinary research in behavioral approaches to cancer care and survivorship, integrative health care and care for diverse populations. She has taught primarily in the areas of leadership, innovation and research.
In 2009, Pipe and Fisher began collaborating together on mother-daughter behavior and breast cancer coping. Their first collaborative project was funded by the 2010 PARCORE ASU/MAYO Collaborative Seed Grant, the first psychosocial health project funded by this grant program. They have since received support from Mayo Clinic’s Cancer Center to further their research with Latina mothers and daughters. For more information on Pipe, please see her profile at: http://nursingandhealth.asu.edu/directory/656869.
Nicole (Nicki) Piemonte, B.A., M.A.
Nicki Piemonte is a doctoral candidate in the Ph.D. program in Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. She received a B.A. in English with a minor in Communication Studies from Arizona State University in 2008 on a four-year Provost scholarship. In 2010, she earned an M.A. in Health also at Arizona State. She has taught undergraduate curriculum in storytelling/narrative history, family communication, and public speaking.
Her research activity and interests center on medical ethics, end-of-life issues, narrative medicine, and the role of interdisciplinary studies in health care education. Before joining the Fisher Mother Daughter team, Piemonte’s previous research focused on the understudied population of young adults who serve as primary caregivers for their dying parents. Piemonte bring personal expertise in mother-daughter communication, caregiving, and cancer. In her senior year of undergraduate studies at Arizona State University, her mother, Joy, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Piemonte became her mother’s caregiver until she passed away in August 2009. She wrote about her experiences in an autoethnography which she extended to explore other caregivers’ experiences while in young adulthood.
She has been honored internationally for this research as a finalists for the 2011 International Communication Association/National Communication Association Amanda Kundrat Health Communication Thesis of the Year Award and the 2011 Communicaton and Aging Division Top Thesis Award. Piemonte began working with Fisher in 2010 as a research assistant on the ASU/Mayo mother-daughter breast cancer project led by Fisher and Pipe. For more information on Piemonte, please see her profile at: http://imh.utmb.edu/education/graduate-program/current-students
Jon F. Nussbaum, Ph.D.
Dr. Jon Nussbaum is a Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences & Human Development and Family Studies at The Pennsylvania State University. He specializes in the communicative behavior of individuals across the life span emphasizing older adults. Currently, his research focuses on how older adults achieve a high quality of life as they manage their family, friendship, and professional relationships encountered within the health care system. He has served as President of the International Communication Association, President of the International Society of Language and Social Psychology, editor of the Journal of Communication, and a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health.
Nussbaum was appointed as a Fulbright Scholar in the UK and as a Fellow of the International Communication Association and the American Psychological Association (Adult Development and Aging). Nussbaum is internationally renowned for his expertise in health communication and aging. He has authored 11 books and over 70 articles and chapters on communication behavior and patterns across the life span. Nussbaum played a significant role in Fisher’s original research on mothers, daughters, and breast cancer and continues to provide expert consultation and collaboration. He has mentored Fisher since 2004 when he became both her doctoral advisor and her National Institute on Aging (NIA) training preceptor. Nussbaum and Fisher have collaborated on health research in cancer communication, aging, doctor-patient communication, and intergenerational caregiving. They have written numerous publications together, including an article proposing a new model to understand the communication needs of older adults in geriatric medicine. Nussbaum, Miller-Day, and Fisher are also co-authors on a book examining intimate communication in later life, which has been published in several languages. For more information on Nussbaum, please see his profile at: http://cas.la.psu.edu/faculty-staff/jfn5.