The Scars You Can't See Are the Hardest to Heal: Coping with the Impact of GVHD

Learn how to cope with the daily challenges of living with graft-versus-host disease.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2021


The Scars You Can’t See Are the Hardest to Heal: Coping with the Impact of Graft-versus-Host Disease 

Date: Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Time:  1:00 pm Eastern, Noon Central, 11:00 am Mountain, 10:00 am Pacific

Duration:  40 minute presentation followed by questions and answers.

Presenters: Hillary Howrey PhD and Megan McMahon PsyD, Christiana Care Health System/Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and Research Institute

Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) affects approximately 50 percent of patients who have a transplant using donor cells (an allogeneic transplant). It can cause pain, inflammation and other major problems, primarily in the gut, skin, eyes, mouth and/or lungs. 

The physical and emotional pain caused by GVHD is real, but it is often not visible to others. It can persist for months or even years, and coping can be a challenge.

At this webinar you will learn:

  • several psychotherapy tools that can be used to manage the stress associated with symptoms of GVHD
  • what Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is and how it differs from other types of therapy
  • how to apply Acceptance and Commitment Therapy skills to your own experience
  • how to find other psychosocial resources to help you manage side effects of transplant and symptoms of GVHD

Bring your questions!

The webinar is free, but advance registration is required.  All you will need to participate is a computer, smart phone or other electronic device.

About the Speakers

Dr. Hillary Howrey is a licensed clinical psychologist at Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute in Newark, Delaware. She’s experienced in using a variety of evidence-based treatments that are tailored to the needs of individuals impacted by cancer, such as acceptance and commitment therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, meaning-centered and existential therapy, motivational interviewing, and biofeedback.

Dr. Howrey specializes in hematologic oncology and is a member of the CAR-T and  Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant interdisciplinary team where she collaborates with patients and families before, during, and after transplant or CAR T-cell therapy to improve health outcomes and quality of life. Her research interests include stress, coping, resilience, and the impact of social support on well-being in patients with chronic health conditions. She is involved in training students, residents, and fellows in Psycho-Oncology, is an active member of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society and serves on the Executive Board of the Delaware Psychological Association.

Dr. Megan McMahon has a breadth of experience working with cancer patients and their caregivers, including inpatient and outpatient work with transplant patients impacted by GVHD. She also has experience with dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), addiction medicine, and providing psychological services to children and families. She is involved in psychosocial oncology research and the training of psychology and psychiatry trainees.

Dr. McMahon completed her doctoral training at La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA where she gained extensive training in trauma, health psychology, and psycho-oncology. Her previous clinical work includes psycho-oncology at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center at Christiana Care Hospital, consult & liaison psychology at Cooper University Hospital, and a psychology internship at Christiana Care in Psycho-Oncology and Behavior Health Consultation in Primary Care.

Our thanks to Pharmacyclics, an AbbVie Company and Janssen Biotech, Inc., Kadmon Corporation, Incyte and Syndax whose support, in part, made this webinar possible.