Tamara Somers

Overview:

Tamara J. Somers, PhD, is a Clinical Psychologist and Faculty Member in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Somers conducts research developing, testing, and implementing behavioral interventions for pain and other symptoms in patients with chronic disease (e.g., cancer, arthritis). She is particularly interested in developing behavioral interventions that are personalized to the needs of individual patients and using innovative delivery methods (mobile health) to deliver the interventions. Grant awards from the NIH, American Cancer Society, and other funding agencies support her research. Dr. Somers also co-directs a clinical psychology training program at the Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) that trains graduate students, clinical psychology interns, and post-doctoral fellows in psychosocial and behavioral symptom management interventions. She is the Director of Research for the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program at DCI. Dr. Somers maintains a small clinical practice at the Duke Faculty Practice at Erwin Square. 

Positions:

Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Medicine
School of Medicine

Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Duke Cancer Institute
School of Medicine

Education:

Ph.D. 2007

University of Pittsburgh

Grants:

Coping Skills for Colorectal Cancer Survivors with Pain and Distress

Administered By
Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Medicine
Role
Co-Sponsor
Start Date
End Date

Behavioral Weight and Symptom Management for Breast Cancer Survivors and Partners

Administered By
Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Medicine
Awarded By
National Institutes of Health
Role
Co-Sponsor
Start Date
End Date

Optimizing Delivery of a Behavioral Cancer Pain Intervention Using a SMART

Administered By
Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Medicine
Awarded By
National Institutes of Health
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group (PCRC) Refinement and Expansion

Administered By
Duke Cancer Institute
Role
Co Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Pain Coping Skills Training for African Americans with Osteoarthritis

Administered By
Medicine, General Internal Medicine
Awarded By
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Role
Co Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Publications:

A feasible and acceptable multicultural psychosocial intervention targeting symptom management in the context of advanced breast cancer.

OBJECTIVE: Advanced breast cancer patients around the world experience high symptom burden (ie, distress, pain, and fatigue) and are in need of psychosocial interventions that target symptom management. This study examined the feasibility, acceptability, and engagement of a psychosocial intervention that uses cognitive-behavioral strategies along with mindfulness and values-based activity to enhance patients' ability to manage symptoms of advanced disease in a cross-cultural setting (United States and Singapore). Pre-treatment to post-treatment outcomes for distress, pain, and fatigue were compared between intervention recipients and waitlisted controls. METHODS: A pilot randomized controlled trial included women with advanced breast cancer (N = 85) that were recruited in the United States and Singapore. Participants either received the four session intervention or were put on a waitlist. Descriptive statistics and effect size of symptom change were calculated. RESULTS: The psychosocial intervention was found to be feasible as indicated through successful trial accrual, low study attrition (15% ), and high intervention adherence (77% completed all sessions). Acceptability (ie, program satisfaction and cultural sensitivity) and engagement to the study intervention (ie, practice of skills taught) were also high. Anxiety, depression, and fatigue scores remained stable or improved among intervention participants while the same symptoms worsened in the control group. In general, effect sizes are larger in the US sample compared with the Singapore sample. CONCLUSIONS: The cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness, and values-based intervention is feasible, acceptable, and engaging for advanced breast cancer patients in a cross-cultural setting and has potential for efficacy. Further larger-scaled study of intervention efficacy is warranted.
Authors
Teo, I; Vilardaga, JP; Tan, YP; Winger, J; Cheung, YB; Yang, GM; Finkelstein, EA; Shelby, RA; Kamal, AH; Kimmick, G; Somers, TJ
MLA Citation
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1421436
PMID
31703146
Source
pubmed
Published In
Psychooncology
Published Date
DOI
10.1002/pon.5275

Coping Skills Training and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Symptom Management: Feasibility and Acceptability of a Brief Telephone-Delivered Protocol for Patients With Advanced Cancer.

CONTEXT: Patients with advanced cancer face a life-limiting condition that brings a high symptom burden that often includes pain, fatigue, and psychological distress. Psychosocial interventions have promise for managing symptoms but need additional tailoring for these patients' specific needs. Patients with advanced cancer in the community also face persistent barriers-availability of interventions in community clinics as well as financial and illness-related factors-to accessing psychosocial interventions. OBJECTIVES: The aim of the present study was to assess the feasibility and acceptability of telephone implementation of Engage, a novel brief combined Coping Skills Training and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy protocol, for reducing symptoms and increasing quality of life in community patients with advanced cancer. METHODS: Adult patients with advanced cancer receiving care in the community received Engage, four 60-minute manualized telephone sessions delivered by a trained psychotherapist and completed pretreatment and post-treatment assessments. RESULTS: Engage was feasible, achieving 100% accrual (N = 24) of a heterogeneous sample of patients with advanced cancer, with good retention (88% completed). Acceptability was demonstrated via satisfaction (mean 29 of 32; SD 2), engagement (95% attendance), and use of skills. Secondary analyses pointed to reductions in pain interference, fatigue, psychological distress, and improvements in psychological acceptance and engagement in value-guided activity after treatment. CONCLUSION: Engage, our brief novel combined Coping Skills and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy intervention, demonstrated initial feasibility and acceptability when delivered over the telephone and increased access for community clinic patients with advanced cancer. Future research will assess the comparative efficacy of Engage in larger randomized trials.
Authors
Plumb Vilardaga, JC; Winger, JG; Teo, I; Owen, L; Sutton, LM; Keefe, FJ; Somers, TJ
MLA Citation
Plumb Vilardaga, Jennifer C., et al. “Coping Skills Training and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Symptom Management: Feasibility and Acceptability of a Brief Telephone-Delivered Protocol for Patients With Advanced Cancer..” J Pain Symptom Manage, Sept. 2019. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2019.09.005.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1411901
PMID
31539599
Source
pubmed
Published In
J Pain Symptom Manage
Published Date
DOI
10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2019.09.005

The Relationship Between Pain Coping Skills and Pain, Fatigue, Mood, and Lupus Activity

Authors
Kurakula, P; Somers, TJ; Criscione-Schreiber, LG; Keefe, FJ; Clowse, MEB
MLA Citation
Kurakula, Preethi, et al. “The Relationship Between Pain Coping Skills and Pain, Fatigue, Mood, and Lupus Activity.” Arthritis and Rheumatism, vol. 63, no. 10, WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2011, pp. S555–56.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub871139
Source
wos
Published In
Arthritis and Rheumatism
Volume
63
Published Date
Start Page
S555
End Page
S556

Memory Complaints in Lupus Patients: Relationship to Lupus Activity, Symptoms, Quality of Life, Psychological Distress, and Coping

Authors
Clowse, MEB; Criscione-Schreiber, LG; Jolly, M; Keefe, FJ; Somers, TJ
MLA Citation
Clowse, Megan E. B., et al. “Memory Complaints in Lupus Patients: Relationship to Lupus Activity, Symptoms, Quality of Life, Psychological Distress, and Coping.” Arthritis and Rheumatism, vol. 63, no. 10, WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2011, pp. S556–S556.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub871204
Source
wos
Published In
Arthritis and Rheumatism
Volume
63
Published Date
Start Page
S556
End Page
S556

PAIN AND EATING IN OVERWEIGHT AND OBESE INDIVIDUALS WITH OSTEOARTHRITIS: AN ECOLOGICAL MOMENTARY STUDY

Authors
Wong, K; Somers, TJ; Babyak, M; Sikkema, KJ; Keefe, FJ
MLA Citation
Wong, Karmel, et al. “PAIN AND EATING IN OVERWEIGHT AND OBESE INDIVIDUALS WITH OSTEOARTHRITIS: AN ECOLOGICAL MOMENTARY STUDY.” Annals of Behavioral Medicine, vol. 45, SPRINGER, 2013, pp. S95–S95.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1244424
Source
wos
Published In
Annals of Behavioral Medicine
Volume
45
Published Date
Start Page
S95
End Page
S95