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Dawn Hershman, MD, MS

Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Division of Medical Oncology
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, New York
Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO

Current Research

  • Seeking to improve quality of care, reduce overuse or expensive drugs and improve quality of life for breast cancer survivors.
  • Intervention studies are planned to test strategies to reduce side effects of cancer and cancer therapies.
  • These studies address many of the issues around patient survivorship and quality of life and will inform evidence-based solutions to improve patient outcomes and quality of life.

Many breast cancer patients live with the side effects of their diagnosis and treatment for many years. Many others are prescribed expensive drugs that do not add clinical benefit and may reduce quality of life. Dr. Hershman is conducting a series of studies aimed at improving the lives of patients during and after breast cancer care. 

Full Research Summary

The quality of cancer care is a major national concern. Not all patients receive the most advanced treatments, and others receive costly treatments that may not help. The goal of Dr. Hershman's patient-oriented, interventional studies is to integrate findings from population-based research to improve the quality of cancer care, reduce overuse of expensive drugs, and improve quality of life for breast cancer survivors. 

This year, Dr. Hershman and her team will continue to evaluate barriers to initiation of oral anticancer medications. They will also perform two additional studies. 

The first study will evaluate two interventions to prevent the development of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (compression vs. cryotherapy vs. usual care) among women with breast cancer receiving taxanes. 

The second study will use a digital health offering (digital medication) to control pain among metastatic breast cancer patients in chronic pain. The study will determine if rapid feedback can reassure patients and providers and more rapidly improve pain control. The feasibility of this intervention will also set the stage to use this technology to assess medication adherence. Results from these studies are expected to improve adverse effects, control pain, and improve treatment adherence and quality of life. 

Dr. Hershman is beginning her third year of a Conquer Cancer Foundation Comparative Effectiveness Research Professorship in Breast Cancer sponsored by BCRF. During the course of this five-year award, she will continue her efforts at reducing the costs of cancer care, increasing the value and quality of care, and improving cancer care delivery.


Dr. Hershman is Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Columbia University and is Leader of the Breast Cancer Program of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. She completed her medical degree at The Albert Einstein College of Medicine where she was Alpha Omega Alpha, and completed her internal medicine residency and oncology fellowship training at Columbia University Medical Center, where she served as Chief Resident. During that time, she completed a Master’s degree in Biostatistics/Patient Oriented Research at the Mailman School of Public Health.

She was appointed a faculty position at Columbia University in 2001 and since that time has developed an expertise in the areas of breast cancer treatment, prevention, survivorship, late-effects of cancer therapy, health outcomes and health disparities research. She has published over 250 scientific articles and has received numerous awards including the Ewig Award for Teaching Excellence, the AVON Foundation Medical Advancement Award, the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Advanced Clinical Research Award and the ASCO/BCRF Comparative Effectiveness Professorship. She has national leadership positions in the Southwest Oncology Group, where she serves as co-chair of the Cancer Care Delivery Committee and Co-PI of the NCORP Research Base. She has served as primary mentor for numerous medical students, graduate students, fellows and junior faculty.

She has received grant funding from the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, Department of Defense, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Lance Armstrong Foundation, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, PCORI, the Irving Center for Clinical Research and the Avon Foundation for Women.

Grid Researcher Headshot - Hershman D

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The ANN INC. Award (a division of ascena retail group inc.)

Area(s) of Focus