Ellen Lavoie Smith, PhD, APRN, AOCN®, FAAN

Director, PhD Program
Department of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences
Room 2151 400NIB

University of Michigan School of Nursing
400 North Ingalls Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5482

Telephone: (734) 936-1267
Fax: (734) 936-5525
Ellen Smith is accepting new PhD students.


  • Chemotherapy
  • Neuropathic pain
  • CNS analgesic mechanisms
  • Cancer cooperative group nursing
  • Cancer survivorship

Dr. Smith’s program of research is focused on improving the assessment and treatment of chronic, cancer-related neuropathic pain, with a specialty focus in painful chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. She has received independent research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Oncology Nursing Society, the American Cancer Society, Dartmouth, and the University of Michigan. Dr. Smith conducted a cross-sectional study evaluating the clinimetric properties of peripheral neuropathy and neuropathic pain measurement approaches. She also completed an Oncology Nursing Society-funded study focused on utilizing quality improvement methodology to improve neuropathic pain management in cancer patients. She is a co-investigator on an ongoing R01 trial focused on vincristine neuropathy pharmacogenetics in children with leukemia, and she recently received a KL-2 Career Development Award to study central nervous system mechanisms of cancer treatment-related chronic pain in adults. In addition, Dr. Smith recently completed a national multisite research trial through the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB 170601). This was the first large randomized, placebo-controlled trial to reveal an effective intervention (duloxetine) for painful chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.

Dr. Smith's findings on the "Effect of duloxetine on pain, function, and quality of life among patients with chemotherapy-induced painful peripheral neuropathy" were featured in the JAMA Report (April 3, 2013); a television clip highlighting this study was aired on 183 television stations throughout the United States and was viewed by over 17 million viewers, and 82 million viewers viewed the video clip online. It was also covered in a video by Sanjay Gupta, MD.

Current Research Grants and Programs

  • R03 (PI) Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN) Measurement Validation
  • R01 (Co-I) Pharmacogenetic Determinants of Vincristine Toxicity and Response
  • Genentech (PI) - Addressing Quality Cancer Care: Pilot Testing the On Q Care Planning and Symptom Assessment System
  • Breast Cancer Pain (PI) - Karen Allen Award and University of Michigan School of Nursing
  • Pilot Grant (Co-I) Defining an exposure target for weekly paclitaxel infusion in breast cancer patients
  • (Co-I) Characterization of chronic pain and associated symptoms in breast cancer survivors


Dr. Smith has lectured nationally and internationally regarding multiple cancer-related topics. With over 28 years of experience as an oncology nurse, nurse practitioner, and nurse administrator, the areas she most often teaches are the ones that reflect her own interests, namely chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, neuropathic pain, instrument development, cancer survivorship program development, thoracic and head and neck oncology care, and other general oncology topics. Currently, Dr. Smith teaches the undergraduate Introduction to Nursing Research Course at U-M's School of Nursing which focuses on teaching nurses how to find and evaluate the best research evidence for use in clinical practice settings.  She uses interactive teaching methodologies such as web and classroom-based research simulation experiences.

Affiliations / Service

  • Member, Oncology Nursing Society, 1984-present
  • Chairperson, Cancer and Leukemia Group B Oncology Nursing Committee, 2000-Present
  • Member Oncology Nursing Society Advanced Nursing Research Special Interest Group, 2006-present
  • Member University of Michigan Cancer Center – Biobehavioral & Quality of Life Subcommittee, 2010-present
  • Member UMHS/SON Nurse Research Partner Committee, 2010-present
  • Member University of Michigan SON CAASS, 2010-2012

Notable Awards / Honors

  • ONS Excellence in Writing Award for Quantitative Nursing Research, 2015
  • Midwestern Nursing Research Society, Harriet Werley New Investigator Award, 2014
  • New Investigator Award - Oncology Nursing Society, 2013
  • Mae Edna Doyle Teacher of the Year Award, University of Michigan School of Nursing, 2013
  • Doctoral Scholarship, American Cancer Society, 2004-2008
  • Nursing Excellence Award for Advancing the Profession, Nursing Spectrum New England Division, 2005


  • PhD, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 2008
  • Post-Masters NP Certification, University of New Hampshire, Durham NH, 1995
  • MSN, University of New Hampshire, Durham NH, 1991
  • BSN, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, 1982

Publication Highlights

  • Smith, E. M. L., Pang, H., Ye, C., Cirrincione, C., Fleishman, S., Paskett, E. E., Ahles, T., Bressler, L. R., Le-Lindqwister, N., Fadul, C. E., Loprinzi C., & Shapiro, C. L. (In Press). Predictors of Duloxetine Response In Patients with Painful Oxaliplatin-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN): A Secondary Analysis of CALGB/Alliance 170601. European Journal of Cancer Care.

  • Knoerl, R., Smith, E. L. (In Press). Chronic Pain and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: An Integrative Review. Western Journal of Nursing Research.

  • Beck, S. L., Brant, J. M., Donahue, R., Towsley, G. L., Berry, P. H., Smith, E. L., Guo, J-W., AI-Qaaydeh, S., Pett, M. A., & Donaldson, G. (In Press). Oncology Nursing Certification and Relationships to Nurses' Pain Knowledge and Attitudes, Pain Care Quality and Pain Outcomes. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing.

  • Smith, E. M. L., Li, L., Chiang, C ., Thomas, K., Hutchinson, R., Wells, E. M., Ho, R. H., Skiles, J., Chakraborty, A., & Renbarger, J. (2015). Patterns and severity of vincristine-induced peripheral neuropathy in children with acute lymphocytic leukemia. Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System, 20(1), 37-46. doi: 10.1111/jns.12114. PMID: 25977177. NIHM SID 725958

  • Pachman, D., Qin, R., Seisler, D., Smith, E. M. L., Beutler, A. S., Ta, L. E., Lafky, J., Johnston, N. W., Ruddy, K., Bernath, A. M., Grothey, A., Loprinzi, C. (2015). Clinical Course of Oxaliplatin-Induced Neuropathy – Results from the Randomized Phase III Trial N08CB (Alliance). Journal of Clinical Oncology. 20; 33(30):3416-22. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2014.58.8533. PMID: 26282635

  • Smith, E. M. L., Bridges, C. M., Kanzawa, G., Knoerl, R., Kelly, J. P., Berezovsky, A., & Woo, C. (2014). Cancer treatment-related neuropathic pain – epidemiology and treatment: An update. Current Pain and Headache Reports, 18 (459). doi 10.1007/s11916-014-0459-7. PMID: 25239766.

  • Smith, E. M. L., Campbell, G., Tofthagen, C., Kottschade, L., Collins, M. L., Wharton, C., Ghosh, B., Ronis, R. L., Mallory, G. A., & Visovsky, C. (2014). Nursing knowledge, practice patterns, and learning preferences regarding chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Oncology Nursing Forum, 41(6), 669–679. doi: 10.1188/14.ONF.669-679. PMID: 25355022.

  • Bridges, C. M. & Smith, E. M. L. (2014). What about Alice? Peripheral neuropathy from taxane-containing treatment for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. Supportive Care Cancer. DOI 10.1007/s00520-014-2317-x. PMID:24952242

  • Hershman, D., Lacchetti, C., Dworkin, R., Smith, E., Bleeker, J., Cavaletti, G., Chauhan, C., Gavin, P., Lavino, A., Lustberg, M., Paice, J., Schneider, B., Smith, T., Terstriep, S., Johnson, N. W., Bak, K., & Loprinzi, C. L. (2014). Prevention and management of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy in survivors of adult cancers: American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline. Journal of Clinical Oncology. doi:JCO.2013.54.0914. PMID: 24733808

  • Smith, E. L., Li, L., Hutchinson, R., Ho, R., Burnette, W. B., Wells, E., Bridges, C., & Renbarger, J. (2013). Measuring vincristine-induced peripheral neuropathy in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Cancer Nursing. doi:10.1097/NCC.0b013e318299ad23. NIHMS487762, Publ.ID: NCC200489 PMID: 2384252. PMCID: PMC3951303.

  • Smith, E. L., Pang, H., Cirrincione, C., Fleishman, S., Paskett, E. D., Ahles, T., Bressler, L. R., Fadul, C., Knox, C., Gilman, P. B., Shapiro, C. L. (2013). Effect of duloxetine on pain, function, and quality of life among patients with chemotherapy-induced painful peripheral neuropathy: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA, 309(13), 1359 – 1367. PMID: 23549581; PMC3912515. a. Featured in the JAMA Report (April 3, 2013) – A television clip highlighting this study was aired on 183 television stations throughout the United States and was viewed by over 17 million viewers and 82 million viewers viewed the video clip on-line. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/journal.aspx; http://www.nursing.umich.edu/about-our-school/news-portal/201304/2978#.UVwrTPUr27s. b. http://www.everydayhealth.com/sanjay-gupta/the-legacy-of-chemo-that-can-last-for-years-pain.aspx

  • Smith, E. L., Barton, D. L., Qin, R., Aaronson, N. K., & Loprinzi, C. L. (2013). Assessing patient-reported peripheral neuropathy: The reliability and validity of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-CIPN20 Questionnaire. Quality of Life Research. DOI

  • Smith, E. L., Bakitas, M. A., Homel, P., Piehl, M., Kingman, L., Fadul, C., & Bookbinder, M. (2011). Preliminary Assessment of a Neuropathic Pain Treatment and Referral Algorithm for Patients with Cancer. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 42(6), 822-838. PMID: 21820851

  • Smith, E. L., Cohen, J. A., Pett, M. A., & Beck, S. L. (2011). The Validity of Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN) Measurement Approaches When Used to Assess Taxane and Platinum-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy in Oncology Outpatients. Oncology Nursing Forum, 38(2), 133-142. PMID: 21356652.

  • Smith, E. L., Cohen, J. A., Pett, M. A., & Beck, S. L. (2010). The Reliability and Validity of a Modified Total Neuropathy Score-Reduced (TNSr) and Neuropathic Pain Severity Items When Used to Measure Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN) in Patients Receiving Taxanes and Platinums. Cancer Nursing, 33(3), 173-182. PMID: 20357656.

Download CV