Arizona Cancer Center physician to receive American Psychosocial Oncology Society's award

Karen Weihs, MD, has been awarded the 2008 American Psychosocial Oncology ...
Karen Weihs, MD, medical director of the Psychosocial Oncology Program for the Arizona Cancer Center and professor of psychiatry for The University of Arizona College of Medicine, has been awarded the 2008 American Psychosocial Oncology Program Award for Outstanding Clinical Care. Dr. Weihs will receive her award at the American Psychosocial Oncology Society’s annual conference in Irvine, California, in February 2008.

“Dr. Weihs has made significant contributions to psychosocial oncology clinical care since coming to The University of Arizona and the Arizona Cancer Center in 2005,” says Dr. Terry Badger, RN, FAAN, professor and division director, Systems, UA College of Nursing, who nominated Dr. Weihs for the award. “Dr. Weihs, along with her interdisciplinary staff, provides high-quality psychosocial oncology care for patients and their families and conducts innovative research to continually improve services. She is truly a champion for psychosocial oncology services, and countless oncology patients and their families have benefited by her expertise over the years,” says Dr. Badger.

The American Psychosocial Oncology Society’s Award for Outstanding Clinical Care is given annually in recognition of outstanding clinical contributions to the field of psychosocial oncology.

“Dr. Weihs is one of those extremely rare physician scientists who simultaneously develops outstanding translational research programs while providing warm, loving, psychosocial care for women with breast cancer,” says Arizona Cancer Center Director David S. Alberts, MD. “She has had a hugely positive impact on both our research and clinical breast cancer programs in the Arizona Cancer Center and University Medical Center,” he adds.

Dr. Weihs joined the UA Department of Psychiatry as an associate professor in January 2005. She is also co-investigator for an R01 grant with George Howe, PhD, from George Washington University, where she worked for 14 years prior to joining the UA.

Dr. Weihs was appointed as medical director for the Arizona Cancer Center’s Psychosocial Oncology Program in August 2007. In her role as medical director, she coordinates increased services for risk identification, preventive intervention, symptom screening, and therapeutic interventions for mental health and quality of life. She works with four social workers to provide psychosocial services to Arizona Cancer Center patients. She is also a comprehensive member of the scientific community at the Center and is studying the effects of these new programs on the well being of patients treated here.

Dr. Weihs also practices psychiatry, providing individual and family psychotherapy, as well as pharmacotherapy services, to cancer patients. In addition, she has mentored doctoral students in clinical psychology and family studies, serving as co-director for five doctoral dissertations, as well as being a reader for another six dissertations. Her clinic is a teaching forum for psychiatry residents and medical students.

The Arizona Cancer Center is the state’s premier National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. With primary locations at the University of Arizona in Tucson and Scottsdale Healthcare, the Center has more than a dozen research and education offices throughout the state and 275 physician and scientist members working to prevent and cure cancer. For more information, go to