Catherine Alfano, PhD, MS

VP, Cancer Survivorship


American Cancer Society


Dr. Catherine Alfano is the Vice President of Survivorship at the American Cancer Society (ACS) where she provides vision and leadership to ACS research, programming, and policy efforts nationwide to improve the lives of cancer survivors. She previously served as Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Survivorship where she managed a large portfolio of rehabilitation and lifestyle change research in cancer survivors and led advanced initiatives to improve the care and prognosis of cancer survivors. Dr. Alfano is an international leader in cancer rehabilitation and survivorship and has extensive scientific expertise in optimizing symptom management, follow-up care, healthy behavior change and self-management to optimize healthy aging and reduce risk of cancer's late effects.

Prior to joining the NCI, Dr. Alfano was a faculty member at The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Public Health, the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the OSU Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. Her research interests focused on interventions to promote physical activity in cancer survivors and the interrelationships between physical activity, energy balance, and biological mechanisms underlying risk for chronic and late effects of cancer treatment as well as prognosis. 

Dr. Alfano received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Washington, Seattle, after first studying aeronautical & astronautical engineering. She earned her MS and PhD in clinical psychology with an emphasis in behavioral medicine from the University of Memphis. Her doctoral work focused on physical activity and health outcomes research and on interventions to help people adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle. She returned to Seattle to complete her residency in clinical rehabilitation psychology at the University of Washington Medical Center. Following her residency, she completed a clinical fellowship in oncology at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, as well as an NCI-funded post-doctoral research fellowship in Biobehavioral Cancer Prevention and Control at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington.

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Catherine Alfano, PhD, MS