Ellen Lavoie Smith, PhD, MSN, RN, AOCN®, FAAN

Ellen Smith Portrait

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 chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). Her research is well recognized as pioneering and pivotal in identifying interventions for CIPN, a life-altering complication of neurotoxic chemotherapy for which no known treatments have been discovered. Her research addresses the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) goal to minimize cancer treatment-associated side effects and the priority recommendation outlined in the National Academy of Medicine’s Report on Pain in America regarding the need for non-opioid pain treatments. She has received independent extramural research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and foundation and industry sponsors.

Dr. Smith has led multiple instrument development studies that have been funded via the NIH and other intramural and extramural grants. She was the principal investigator for a NCI-funded multi-site randomized placebo-controlled trial to test duloxetine as a treatment for painful CIPN. As a result of her work, duloxetine is now the only treatment for painful CIPN recommended by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. 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. She currently leads an NCI-funded Phase II-III trial to test duloxetine to prevent CIPN through the multi-site Alliance NCI-funded Cooperative Group network.

Current Research Grants and Programs

  • 1R01CA235726-01 (PI) Duloxetine to Prevent Oxaliplatin-Induced Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy: A Randomized, Double-Bind, Placebo-Controlled Phase II to Phase III Study
  • Disarm Therapeutics (PI) A natural history study of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy-EPIPHANY
  • R01-PAR-18-559 (Co-I) Managing Fatigue and Pain Using Personalized Exergame Prescriptions in Head and Neck Cancer Patients after Their Treatment
  • 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
  • KL2 - UL1RR024986 (Trainee) Does a Pain Prone Genotype and Phenotype Predict the Development of Chronic Pain Following Breast Cancer Treatment?
  • Breast Cancer Pain (PI) - Karen Allen Award and University of Michigan School of Nursing


Dr. Smith has lectured nationally and internationally regarding multiple cancer-related topics. With over 38 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 supports Doctoral Students who are developing and implementing their dissertation research studies. In the past, she taught 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
  • 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
  • National Institutes of Health-Funded Alliance Symptom Intervention Committee, Co-Vice Chair, 2012 – present
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology, Neuropathy in Cancer Patients Clinical Guideline Committee, Member, 2013 – present
  • Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, 2016 - present
  • Peripheral Nerve Society Toxic Neuropathy Board of Directors, 2018 - present
  • Oncology Nursing Society Research Intensive Faculty, 2019 - present
  • FNIR Awards Committee, 2019 - present
  • NIH Nursing and Related Clinical Sciences (NRCS) Study Section, 2020
  • NIH Small Business: Cancer Diagnostics and Treatments (CDT) Study Section, 2015, 2016, 2020
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Survivorship Guideline Advisory Group, 2018-2022
  • NIH HEAL Study Section, 2019
  • Oncology Nursing Society Research Priorities Task Force, 2018 - 2019
  • Chairperson, Cancer and Leukemia Group B Oncology Nursing Committee, 2000-2011

Notable Awards / Honors

  • Fellows of the National Institute of Nursing Research Welch/Woerner Path Paver Award, 2018
  • 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
  • University of Michigan Honors Student/Mentor Research Award, 2015 & 2018


  • 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. 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.

  • 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., 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 10.1007/s11136-013-0379-8. PMID 23543373, NIHMSID 568510.

  • 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. NIHMSID 527232.

  • 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. NIHMSID 487762.

  • 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. 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.

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

  • 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. (2015). 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. PMID: 26603828 PMCID: PMC4879099. NIHMSID 775228.

  • Smith, E. M. L., Haupt, R., Kelly, J. P., Lee-Ekblad, D., Kanzawa, G., Knoerl, R., Bridges, C., Alberti, P., Prasertsri, N., & Donohoe, C. (2017). The Content Validity of a Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Patient-Reported Outcome Measure. Oncology Nursing Forum. 44(5):580-588. doi: 10.1188/17.ONF.580-588. PMID: 28820525. PMCID: PMC5913659. NIHMSID 960212.

  • Smith, E. M. L., Banerjee, T., Yang, J., Bridges, C., Alberti, P., Sloan, J., & Loprinizi, C. (2018). Psychometric Testing of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-CIPN20 Using Pooled Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Outcome Measures Standardization (CI-PeriNomS) and Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology (Alliance) A151408 Study Data. Cancer Nursing. PMID: 29649081 DOI: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000596. NIHMSID 960208.

  • Smith, E. M. L., Knoerl, R., Yang, J., Kanzawa-Lee, G., & Bridges, C. (2018). In Search of a Gold Standard Patient-Reported Outcome Measure for Use in Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Clinical Trials. Cancer Control. PMID: 29480026 DOI: 10.1177/1073274818756608. NIHMSID 960208.

  • Smith, E. M. L., Zanville, N., Kanzawa-Lee, G., Donohoe, C., Bridges, C. M., Loprinzi, C., & Yang, J. J. (2018). Rasch Analysis of the EORTC-QLQ CIPN20 Patient-Reported Outcome Measure of Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy. Supportive Care in Cancer. DOI: 10.1007/s00520-018-4553-y. PMID 30460399

  • Smith, E. M. L. (2019). Pharmacologic treatments for chronic cancer-related pain: Does anything work? Editorial. Journal of Clinical Oncology. [Epub ahead of print]. doi. http://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/JCO.18.01567

  • Smith, E. M. L, Donohoe, C., Kanzawa-Lee, G., Alberti, P., Cavaletti, G., Saad, R., Bridges, C., & Park, S. (In Press). Pediatric chemotherapy-induced peripheral neurotoxicity measurement approaches: A systematic review. Lancet Heamatology.

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