Qi Chen is an intervention researcher. Her research goal is to develop clinical interventions for cancer survivors and their caregivers to address their unmet needs in mental health, social support and interpersonal relationship. Qi is a recipient of American Cancer Society Doctoral Training Grant in Oncology Social Work (One of two doctoral students nationally to receive the award). She earned her MSW from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017 and her BPhil in philosophy with distinction from Sun Yat-sen University, China, in 2015.

As a trained social work clinician and a clinical researcher, Qi has practiced and conducted research in mental illness rehabilitation centers, community pharmacies, hospitals and telehealth settings for over seven years. Qi was also a licensed psychological counselor at a university counseling center in southeast China prior to coming to the United States. Before joining UT Austin, she worked as a project coordinator on several NIDA- and NCI- funded Randomized Clinical Controlled Trials with patients at risk of misusing opioid and advanced cancer patients and caregivers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work and School of Medicine. Her professional experiences as a clinical social worker and her personal experiences as a foreign-born immigrant informed her interests in understanding and addressing the biopsychosocial challenges and informational needs of people affected by chronic illness through interprofessional team-based care and eHealth interventions.

As a scholar at the intersection of integrated health, relationship and communication, Qi’s research aims to improve cancer patients and caregivers’ mental health, social support and interpersonal relationship and to address cancer disparities by enhancing their communication with support networks using digital tools. Her research projects are currently focused on 1) identifying the patterns of social media use behaviors among cancer survivors with diverse racial/ethnicity and socioeconomic backgrounds and examining the linkage between social media use patterns and emotional well-being (dissertation work); 2) understanding patients and caregivers’ dyadic processes in mental health and communication across the cancer continuum; and 3) social workers’ role on an interdisciplinary team in addressing service gaps and social determinants of health. She has trained in advanced statistical methods such as dyadic analysis, social network analysis, structural equation modeling (SEM), hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) and in mixed methods to fulfill her research inquiry. She earned the Certificate in Mixed Methods Research from the School of Social Work in the University of Michigan. Her work has been published on high impact journals such as Supportive Care in Cancer, Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Journal of Psychosocial Oncology and Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Qi is also an educator, trainer and advocate for social workers. She taught the BSW courses Social Work Research Methods and was a faculty facilitator for Foundation of Interprofessional Collaboration and Practice, a course designed to train over 250 students from pharmacy, medicine, social work, and nursing to work proficiently on an interprofessional healthcare team for an entire academic year. Qi is a doctoral fellow at the Health Behaviors Research and Training Institute at UT Austin and has five years of experience in providing standardized patient training on motivational interviewing for practitioners and graduate students from social work, psychology, nursing, and medicine. During the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Qi co-facilitated a virtual workshop on COVID-19 crisis intervention using solution-focused brief therapy for Chinese frontline workers with fellow Chinese international students from SHSSW UT Austin. In her spare time, she is a freelance reporter and op-ed writer focusing on various social justice topics including health disparities, healthcare policy and gender violence for Chinese digital newspaper.

After receiving her PhD, Qi’s goals are to continue her research in a research university to 1) understand how online and offline interpersonal communication and social support affect cancer patients and their caregivers’ wellbeing; and 2) develop and implement dyadic interventions to enhance cancer survivors and their caregivers’ mental health and relationship outcomes. Ultimately, her research aims to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors and their caregivers and to reduce the health disparities in accessing and utilizing quality psychosocial oncology care. She hopes to attain a tenured-track faculty position in a research-intensive university.

Research Statement

Teaching Statement

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Interests

Dyadic coping and functioning for cancer patients and their family caregivers; reproductive health service and effective couple intervention for young adult cancer patients; communication in cancer care and interprofessional education