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Jessica Burris


B.A., Marquette University, 2006
Ph.D., University of Kentucky, 2012


My research spans the continuum from cancer prevention to cancer control, with a focus on the health risk behavior of tobacco use. A particular area of scientific inquiry involves identification and modification of psychological variables that are germane to the process of smoking cessation (e.g., motivation, confidence, distress, causal attributions, risk perception, fatalism, social support, and posttraumatic growth). Funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), my Career Development Award sought to uncover precisely how a cancer diagnosis functions as a “teachable moment” for adults who smoke cigarettes. In a sample of newly diagnosed head/neck and cervical cancer patients, this longitudinal study investigated day-to-day changes in cigarette smoking and other tobacco use behavior and the cognitive and affective processes that underlie these changes. Another recently completed observational study is a mixed-methods study with cervical cancer survivors and their primary source of support, the goal of which was to try and discern why cervical cancer survivors smoke at rates that exceed those of all other cancer patient populations. With a grant from the KY Lung Cancer Research Fund, I then conducted a pilot randomized controlled trial to test the adaptation of a proven strategy for smoking cessation induction (that is, prompting quit attempts among smokers who report low motivation to quit) for cancer survivors who live in rural or Appalachian Kentucky. More recently, my lab has engaged in more mixed-methods research, including studies on the social functioning of rural and nonrural cancer survivors and the rationale behind cancer patients' desire to quit smoking on their own, sans evidence-based treatment. Pertinent to implementation science, I also oversee a NCI-funded, evidence-based tobacco treatment program that serves adult outpatients at Markey Cancer Center, affectionately named the Markey CARES Program. Yet another implementation science project involved a partnership with Kentucky Homeplace and provided an avenue whereby community health workers in Appalachia Kentucky could become tobacco treatment specialists. Currently, I am the Multi-Principal Investigator of a NCI R01 that will test the efficacy of a survivorship care intervention designed for lung cancer survivors in rural Kentucky. Finally, I contribute to the NCI Cancer Center Cessation Initiative as an Expert Panel Member and the Commission on Cancer Just ASK and Beyond ASK Quality Improvement Initiatives as a Taskforce Member.

I am NOT accepting any new undergraduate students into my lab for the 23-24 academic year.

I am NOT accepting any new graduate students into my lab for the 24-25 academic year.

Selected Publications:

Burris, J. L. & Andrykowski, M. A. (2010). Disparities in mental health between rural and nonrural cancer survivors: A preliminary study. Psycho-Oncology, 19, 637–645. PMC2880195.

Sterba, K. R., Burris, J. L., Heiney, S., Baker Ruppel, M., Ford, M. E., & Zapka, J. (2014). “We both just trusted and leaned on the Lord”: A qualitative study of religiousness and spirituality among African American breast cancer survivors and their caregivers. Quality of Life Research, 23, 1909–1920. PMC4141026.

Burris, J. L., Heckman, B. W., Mathew, A. R., & Carpenter, M. J. (2015). A mechanistic test of nicotine replacement therapy sampling for smoking cessation induction. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 29, 392–399. PMC4411194.

Burris, J. L., Studts, J. L., DeRosa, A. P., & Ostroff, J. S. (2015). Systematic review of tobacco use after lung or head/neck cancer diagnosis: Results and recommendations for future research. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 24, 1450–1461. PMC4592460.

Puleo, G. E., Borger, T., Rivera-Rivera, J. N., Montgomery, D., & Burris, J. L. (2020). A qualitative study of smoking-related causal attributions and risk perceptions in cervical cancer survivors. Psycho-Oncology, 29, 500–506. PMC7054153.

Rivera-Rivera, J. N. & Burris, J. L. (2020). A systematic literature review and head-to-head comparison of social support and social constraint in relation to the psychological functioning of cancer survivors. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 54, 176–192. PMC7455805.

D'Angelo, H., Webb Hooper, M., Burris, J. L., et al. (2021). Achieving equity in the reach of smoking cessation services within the NCI Cancer Moonshot-funded Cancer Center Cessation Initiative. Health Equity, 5.1, 424-430. PMC8237098.

Rivera-Rivera, J. N., Badour, C. L., & Burris, J. L. (2021). The association between psychological functioning and social support and social constraint after cancer diagnosis: A 30-day daily diary study. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 44, 355-367. PMC8131225.

Borger, T., Puleo, G. E., Rivera-Rivera, J. N., Montgomery, D., Bowling, W., & Burris, J. L. (In press). A descriptive study of cervical cancer survivors’ persistent smoking behavior and perceived barriers to quitting. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Burris, J. L., Borger, T., Shelton, B. J., et al. (In press). Tobacco use and treatment referral response in patients with cancer: Implementation outcomes at a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. JCO Oncology Practice.

Puleo, G. E., Borger, T., Bowling, W. R., & Burris, J. L. (In press). The state of the science on cancer diagnosis as a "teachable moment" for smoking cessation: A scoping review of the literature. Nicotine and Tobacco Research.