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Integrative Oncology Training Programs for Staff

One goal of the Wellness and Integrative Oncology Program is to reach as many patients as we can through innovation and collaboration.

We strive to bring integrative therapies to many locations by training our trusted, passionate, and skilled staff to expand our program.

We offer two ambassador training programs for staff in nursing and nutrition.


The Nurse Ambassador Program

The Nurse Ambassador Program combines learning and hands-on integrative care in a cancer setting.

Cancer nurses focus on patients in treatment, clinic, and inpatient units to improve their experience, symptoms, and quality of life through:

  • Aromatherapy.
  • Breathing techniques and meditation.
  • Hand and foot massage.
  • Seated yoga.

After training, Nurse Ambassadors offer these integrative therapies at the chair or bedside of cancer patients.

The program:

  • Helps patients manage their symptoms and wellness.
  • Measures and documents patients' symptoms and experience.
  • Offers nurse support and group sharing of training.

To apply, you must:

  • Be an RN.
  • Work in a cancer setting.
  • Be in good standing with UPMC and your current supervisor.

The Nutrition Ambassador Program

Registered dietitians in any medical specialty will learn tools to expand their practice and explore a more holistic approach. We define this as lifestyle nutrition.

What is lifestyle nutrition?

Lifestyle nutrition:

  • Is a framework for how food plays a role in helping to prevent and manage illness in real life and in real-time.
  • Takes a team approach to care and customizes the interaction between patients and dietitians.
  • Offers guidance on specific diets and supplements to manage symptoms, side effects, and improve quality of life.
  • Addresses the growing questions of patients and caregivers as they wade through vast amounts of food and nutrition information from various sources.
  • Helps highlight the importance of a healthy weight, as obesity is quickly overtaking tobacco as a key driver of complex diseases.

What you'll learn as a Nutrition Ambassador

Training by our Lead Lifestyle Dietitian will be both didactic and hands-on. Lanie K. Francis, MD, director of the Wellness and Integrative Oncology Program will oversee the training.

Registered dietitians will learn how to:

  • Use active listening and motivational interviews to help with habit change.
  • Take a streamlined approach where often “less is more."
  • Use cooking demos for sustainable behavioral modification.
  • Prioritize autonomy and control for patients as a guiding principle.
  • Value how food can help manage symptoms and that healthy eating can decrease the stresses of illness and treatment.

You'll also learn about:

  • The philosophy of lifestyle nutrition.
  • Evidence-based diets and supplements for women's health issues, rheumatic diseases, heart problems, endocrine disorders, and GI problems.
  • Integrative and holistic resources for use at the chair and bedside.

To apply, you must be:

  • A registered dietitian.
  • In good standing with UPMC and your current supervisor.

To learn more, email Angela at zaccagniniam@upmc.edu