Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., M.P.H. is a Professor of Behavioral Science at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Director of the Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship. She received her Ph.D. in community psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1989, and her Masters in Public Health from The University of Texas – Houston Health Science Center in 1991. She served on the faculty of the University of Texas School of Public Health from 1991 to 1996, when she transitioned to a faculty position in the department of behavioral science at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Her research focuses on cancer survivors and the role of health behavior interventions in decreasing the severity of late effects, improving physical functioning, optimizing quality of life, and reducing risk of chronic diseases. In addition, she studies intervention methods for behavior change and innovative real-time methods for assessing symptoms and behavior in cancer patients and survivors. She has an R01 study funded by the NCI to investigate the mechanisms of exercise adoption and maintenance in endometrial cancer survivors, using a social cognitive theory model that tests the social, physiological, and behavioral predictors of exercise adherence. Two NCI-funded pilot studies are evaluating the benefits of exercise for advanced colon cancer patients and cancer survivors with chemotherapy induced heart failure. In addition, she co-directs the Patient-Reported Outcomes, Survey, and Population Shared Resource (PROSPR), which provides technical assistance and support for investigators who conduct clinical, behavioral, and survivorship research that uses participant-reported outcomes.