Virginia Sun

Virginia Sun, R.N., Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Division of Nursing Research and Education, Department of Population Sciences

Virginia Sun, R.N., Ph.D.

  • 2015-Present - Program Member, Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program, City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2014-Present - Content Expert, Oncology Nursing Society 2014-2018 Research Agenda
  • 2014-Present - Member, Nursing Research Subcommittee, SWOG
  • 2011-Present - Assistant Professor, Department of Population Sciences, Division of Nursing Research and Education, City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2010-2011 - Assistant Research Professor, Department of Population Sciences, Division of Nursing Research and Education, City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2005 - Member, National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Task Force for Cancer Survivorship Guidelines
  • 2004-2010 - Senior Research Specialist, Department of Population Sciences, Division of Nursing Research and Education, City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • 2002-2004 - Research Specialist, Division of Nursing Research and Education, City of Hope, Duarte, CA


  • 2010 - UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, Ph.D., Nursing
  • 2002 - Yale University, New Haven, CT., M.S.N., Oncology NP
  • 1995 - Emerson College, Boston, MA., B.S., Communication
Dr. Sun has more than 15 years of experience as an oncology nurse and 4 years of experience as an oncology nurse practitioner before becoming a full-time nurse scientist. Dr. Sun’s research program is focused specifically on cancer surgery populations. The goal of her research program is to develop and test interventions to improve patient- and family-centered care and surgical outcomes. There are two overarching aims in this research program: 1) To assess and identify patient and family caregivers’ quality of life concerns and needs from pre- and post-operative settings to long-term survivorship; and 2) To develop and test innovative, pragmatic interventions to improve patient/family centered outcomes. Dr. Sun’s current collaborations include the following:
Psychological Consequences in Lung Cancer Screening
In collaboration with the Lung Cancer Screening Program and Division of Thoracic Surgery, a video-based intervention was developed with the goal to prepare high risk individuals for lung cancer screening, provide shared decision making to undergo screening, and to better understand the impact of screening on psychological well-being.
Preparing Patients and Family Caregivers for Lung Surgery
In collaboration with the Division of Thoracic Surgery, a video-assisted intervention was developed with the goal to better prepare patients and family caregivers for lung surgery. A pilot study is currently underway to test the impact of the intervention on patient and family caregivers’ quality of life.
Survivorship Care Planning for Lung Cancer Survivors
In 2013, Dr. Sun completed a pilot study to assess the feasibility of providing survivorship care planning (SCP) to lung cancer survivors following completion of treatment. This pilot work has now evolved into a planned RCT to test the impact of SCP on survivor knowledge and confidence in care, adherence to follow-up surveillance, health care resource use, and quality of life.
Electronic Monitoring of Patient-Reported Outcomes and Function in GI Cancer Surgery
In collaboration with the Department of Surgery, a pilot study is currently underway to assess the feasibility of using web-based surveys on quality of life/symptoms before and after surgery and tracking physical activity using commercially available wristband trackers.
Dietary Modifications Following Esophagectomy and Gastrectomy
In collaboration with the Department of Surgery, we are currently conducting a needs assessment study to better understand the dietary and behavioral adjustments that patients undertake following upper GI surgery to manage symptoms associated with eating. This data will aid in the development of a personalized intervention to support dietary modifications and to decrease malnutrition and dehydration post-op.
HRQOL in Long-Term Colorectal Cancer Survivors
This research program is a collaborative effort between the University of Arizona, Kaiser Permanente Northwest and Northern California, and Yale University. The group aims to identify HRQOL concerns specific to long-term CRC survivors following surgery with permanent ostomy or anastomosis. Preliminary work has led to the development of interventions: 1) a telehealth ostomy self-management program and 2) a personalized dietary intervention for managing bowel dysfunction in rectal cancer survivors.

Selected Publications

Knobf, M. T., Cooley, M. E., Duffy, S., Doorenbos, A., Eaton, L., Given, B., Mayer DK, McCorkle R, Miaskowski C, Mitchell S, Sherwood P, Bender C, Cataldo J, Hershey D, Katapodi M, Menon U, Schumacher K, Sun, V., LoBiondo-Wood, G. (2015). The 2014-2018 Oncology Nursing Society Research Agenda. Oncology Nursing Forum, 42(5), 450-465. doi: 10.1188/15.ONF.450-465

Raz DJ, Sun V, Kim JY, Williams A, Koczywas M, Cristea M, Reckamp K, Hayter J, Tiep B, Ferrell B. Long-term effects of an interdisciplinary supportive care intervention for lung cancer survivors following surgery. Annals of Thoracic Surgery. 2015. In press.

Sun V, Kim JY, Irish T, Borneman T, Sidhu R, Klein L, Ferrell B. Palliative care and spiritual well-being in lung cancer patients and family caregivers. Psychooncology. 2015. In press.

Tiep B, Sun V, Koczywas M, Kim JY, Raz DJ, Hurria A, Hayter J. Pulmonary rehabilitation and palliative care for the lung cancer patient. Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing. 2015. In press. NIHMSID: NIHMS710943.

Ferrell B, Sun V, Hurria A, Cristea M, Raz DJ, Kim JY, Reckamp K, Williams AC, Borneman T, Uman G, Koczywas M. Interdisciplinary palliative care for patients with lung cancer. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2015. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2015.07.005

Sun V, Olausson JM, Fujinami R, Chong C, Dunham R, Tittelfitz T, Greer K, Grant M. The role of the advanced practice nurse in survivorship care planning. Journal of the Advance Practitioner in Oncology. 2015; 6:64-70.

Sun V, Kim J, Kim JY, Raz, DJ, Merchant S, Chao J, Chung V, Jimenez T, Wittenberg E, Grant M, Ferrell B. Dietary alterations and restrictions following surgery for upper gastrointestinal cancers: Key components of a health-related quality of life intervention. European Journal of Oncology Nursing. 2015; 19(4): 343-348.

Sun V, Grant M, Wendel CS, McMullen CK, Bulkley JE, Altschuler A, Ramirez M, Baldwin CM, Herrinton LJ, Hornbrook MC, Krouse RSK. Dietary and behavioral adjustments to manage bowel dysfunction following surgery in long-term colorectal cancer survivors. Annals of Surgical Oncology. 2015. doi: 10.1245/s10434-015-4731-9. NIHMSID: NIHMS 703697.

Sun V, Grant M, Fujinami R, Del Ferraro C, Borneman T, Koczywas M, Freeman B, Zachariah F, Uman G, Ferrell B. Effectiveness of an interdisciplinary palliative care intervention for family caregivers in lung cancer. Cancer. 2015. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29567. NIHMSID: NIHMS 703117.

Merchant, S. J., Ituarte, P. H., Choi, A., Sun, V., Chao, J., Lee, B., & Kim, J. Hospital Readmission Following Surgery for Gastric Cancer: Frequency, Timing, Etiologies, and Survival. Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery. 2015. doi: 10.1007/s11605-015-2883-3

Luyimbazi D, Nelson RA, Choi AH, Li L, Chao J, Sun V, Hamner JB, Kim J. Estimates of conditional survival in gastric cancer reveal a reduction of racial disparities with long-term follow-up. Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery. 2015;19(2):251-257.

Fujinami R, Sun V, Zachariah F, Uman G, Grant M, Ferrell B. Family caregivers' distress levels related to quality of life, burden, and preparedness. Psychooncology. 2015; 24(1): 54-62. PMCID: PMC4216636.

Sun V, Krouse RS. Palliative surgery: Incidence and outcomes. Seminars in Oncology Nursing. 2014; 30:234-241.

Sun V, Kim JY, Williams AC, Raz DJ, Sampath S, Ferrell B. Quality of life and symptoms following stereotactic body radiotherapy in early-stage lung cancer patients. Journal of Community and Supportive Oncology. 2014; 12(11): 407-414. PMCID: PMC4361026.

Sun V, Grant M, McMullen CK, Altschuler A, Mohler MJ, Hornbrook MC, Herrinton LJ, Krouse RS. From diagnosis through survivorship: health-care experiences of colorectal cancer survivors with ostomies. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2014; 22(6):1563-1570. PMCID: PMC4130212.

Sun V, Grant M, McMullen CK, Altschuler A, Mohler MJ, Hornbrook MC, Herrinton LJ, Baldwin CM, Krouse RS. Surviving colorectal cancer: long-term, persistent ostomy-specific concerns and adaptations. Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing. 2013; 40(1):61-72. PMCID: PMC3536890

Grant M, Sun V, Fujinami R, Sidhu R, Otis-Green S, Juarez G, Klein L, Ferrell B. Family caregiver burden, skills preparedness, and quality of life in non-small cell lung cancer. Oncology Nursing Forum. 2013;40(4):337-346. PMCID: PMC3695406.

Sun V, Borneman T, Koczywas M, Cristea M, Piper BF, Uman G, Ferrell B. Quality of life and barriers to symptom management in colon cancer. European Journal of Oncology Nursing. 2012;16(3):276-280. PMCID: PMC3223329

Gemmill R, Sun V, Ferrell B, Krouse RS, Grant M. Going With the Flow: Quality-of-Life Outcomes of Cancer Survivors With Urinary Diversion. Journal of Wound, Ostomy & Continence Nursing. 2010;37(1):65-72. PMCID: PMC3530426

Sun V, Sarna L. Symptom management in hepatocellular carcinoma. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. 2008, 12(5), 759-766. PMCID: PMC2881685.

Sun V, Ferrell B, Juarez G, Wagman LD, Yen Y, Chung V. Symptom concerns and quality of life in hepatobiliary cancers. Oncology Nursing Forum. 2008, 35(3), E45-52.

Sun V, Borneman T, Ferrell B, Koczywas M, Piper B. Barriers to pain assessment and management in cancer survivorship. Journal of Cancer Survivorship. 2008, 2: 65-71. PMCID: PMC2556887.

Full list of Publications

Ir al Inicio