Head & Neck Cancer Alliance, in collaboration with the American Head & Neck Society, hosted a free webinar, Managing Insomnia, on March 9, 2021 from 5 PM EST. The webinar, moderated by Warren C. Swegal, MD, featured medical presenters, Amy M. Williams, PhD and Marci Lee Nilsen, PhD, RN, and survivor speaker, Shant’a Miller-White.
Head and Neck Surgeon
Division of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
Allegheny Health Network
Dr. Swegal, a fellowship trained Head and Neck Surgical Oncologist, is currently an Otolaryngologist-Head and Neck surgeon with Allegheny Health Network, focusing on head and neck cancer and sleep medicine.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Dr. Swegal returned to the area after completing his training to be closer to family. He attended the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine for medical school, completed Otolaryngology residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and received his fellowship training in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology from Johns Hopkins Hospital.
His research interests include treatment of radiation induced xerostomia and physical rehabilitation after head and neck cancer therapy.
Outside of medicine, Dr. Swegal enjoys gardening, playing soccer, and raising chickens.
Senior Staff Clinical Health Psychologist,
Director of Research,
Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Cancer,
Henry Ford Health System
Dr. Amy Williams, a fellowship trained Clinical Health Psychologist, is the Director of Research for the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.
As a core member of the multidisciplinary head and neck cancer team within the Henry Ford Cancer Institute, Dr. Williams works with patients and their families providing psych-oncology services across the care and survivorship spectrum. Additionally, Dr. Williams works closely with the Surgical, Medical, and Radiation Oncology teams as the patient moves through treatment, helping the patient and their support system better understand the psychosocial needs and impacts of their treatments and the medical team to better understand and partner with the patient and their support system.
In research, Dr. Williams examines the role of social support, psychological distress, cognition and literacy, and other psychosocial and socioeconomic variables on cancer care and care disparities in head and neck cancer.
Department of Acute and Tertiary Care, School of Nursing
Department of Otolaryngology, School of Medicine
Director of Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship,
University of Pittsburgh
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Marci Lee Nilsen, PhD, RN, CHPN is an Assistant Professor in the University of Pittsburgh, School of Nursing, Department of Acute and Tertiary Care with a secondary appointment in the School of Medicine, Department of Otolaryngology. Her program of research focuses on the identification and management of symptoms and treatment-related effects in head and neck cancer survivors through the development of interventions targeted to meet the unique needs this patient group. She serves as the Co-Director of the UPMC Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship clinic, which takes a multidisciplinary, patient-centered approach to addressing the needs of head and neck cancer survivors. She also serves as the Director of Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship for UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.
After her surgery, Shant'a was not able to rest due to neck pain and the fear of choking. For a year following surgery, she would wake up four or five time a night due to her ongoing fear of choking to death in her sleep.
Her medical team recommended many sleep aids, i.e., melatonin, which helped a little. What finally helped were breathing techniques to help calm her nerves. Plus, she had to re-learn to swallow and then her choking gradually subsided.
Shant'a's full cancer story can be read on her profile page here.
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