Kathleen Lyons, ScD, OTR/L is a rehabilitation scientist and occupational therapist whose research is focused on developing the evidence base for cancer rehabilitation and psycho-oncology. Her primary area of interest is in developing and testing participant-directed interventions that are tailored to address individual priorities and needs. Dr. Lyons uses both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to explore and improve the functional recovery and quality of life of adult cancer survivors. Her research has been funded by the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, and the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. Dr. Lyons was inducted into the Academy of Research of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation in 2021 in recognition of sustained contributions to science of occupational therapy.

Dr. Lyons joined IHP in 2021 to establish the Cancer Rehabilitation (CaRe) Lab. The mission of the CaRe Lab is to advance knowledge and clinical practice related to reducing disability and improving the functional well-being and quality of life of individuals living with and beyond cancer. Our interprofessional team is interested in fostering evidence-based practice and utilizing practice-based evidence to stimulate productive collaborations between scientists and practitioners.

Dr. Lyons has mentored graduate students and junior faculty in the disciplines of occupational therapy, nursing, psychology, medicine, and physical therapy. She is passionate about teaching students to standardize, deliver, and evaluate rehabilitation interventions using mixed methods and designs that are informed by community-engaged methods and implementation science. She is committed to a team science model and has led multi-site research teams of over 20 people.

  • BS, Occupational therapy, University of NH, Durham, NH
  • MS, Occupational therapy, University of NH, Durham, NH
  • ScD, Therapeutic studies, Boston University, Boston MA

Research Interests

  • Intervention development and testing
  • Experimental design
  • Qualitative research
  • Mixed methods
  • Implementation science


November 9, 2022. The Reality of Exercise After Cancer: Using Lived Experience to Inform Cancer Rehabilitation Intervention. American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Annual Conference. Chicago, IL

November 7, 2022. Rehabilitation Treatment Specification System: Intermediate/Advanced Application in Rehabilitation Education, Research, and Clinical Practice. American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Annual Conference. Chicago, IL

April 26, 2022. "Telephone-delivered Occupational Therapy:” A Contradiction in Terms? Inaugural Joan C. Rogers Distinguished Lecture University of Pittsburgh, OT Spring Colloquium. Pittsburgh, PA

April 2, 2022. Myths and Truths about Research and a Research Career: An Interactive Panel. AOTF/AOTA Institute of Future Scientists in Occupational Therapy. American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference and Expo, San Antonio, Texas

October 23, 2020. Special Symposium: Cancer Rehabilitation Guidelines: Synthesizing Guideline Recommendations to Inform Practice American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Virtual annual conference due to COVID-19

K.D. Lyons, Forcino, R., Rotenberg, S., Schiffelbein, J.E., Morrissette, K., Godzik, C.M, & Lichtenstein, J.D, (2022). “The last thing you have to worry about:” A thematic analysis of employment challenges faced by cancer survivors. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(18), 11214. doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191811214. PMID: 36141485

Stevens, C.J., Hegel, M.T., Bakitas, M.A., Bruce, M.L. Azuero, A, Pisu, M., Chamberlin, M., Keene, K., Rocque, G., Ellis, D.E., Gilbert, T.L., Morency, J.L., Newman, R.M., Codini, M.E., Thorp, K.E., dos Anjos, S.M., Cloyd, D.Z., Echols, J., Milford, A., Ingram, S.A., Davis, J., & Lyons, K.D. (2020). Study Protocol for a Multi-Site Randomized Controlled Trial of a Rehabilitation Intervention to Reduce Participation Restrictions among Female Breast Cancer Survivors. BMJ Open, 10(2):e036864. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-036864. PMCID: PMC7044873

Newman, R.M., Alfano, C.M., Radomski, M.V., Pergolotti, M., Wolf, T., Sleight, A.G., Bryant, A.L., Voelbel, G.T. De Moor, J.S., Nitkin, R., Daniels, E. Braveman, B., Walker, R.K., Williams, G.R., Winters-Stone, K.M., Cheville, A.L., Campbell, S., Lawlor, M., King, A., Ness, K., Srivastava, P., & Lyons, K.D. (2019). Catalyzing Research to Optimize Cancer Survivors’ Participation in Work and Life Roles. OTJR: Occupation, Participation, and Health. 39(4), 189-196. doi:10.1177/1539449219844749 PMID: 31046601

Lyons, K.D., Padgett, L., Marshall, T.F., Greer, J.A., Silver, J.K., Raj, V.S., Zucker, D.S., Fu, J.B., Pergolotti, M., Sleight, A.G., & Alfano, C.M. (2019). Follow the Trail: Using Insights from the Growth of Palliative Care to Advance a National Agenda for Cancer Rehabilitation. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 69(2), 113-126. PMID: 30457670 PMID: 30457670

Lyons, K.D., Bruce, M.L., Hull, J., Kaufman, P.A., Li, Z., Stearns, D.M., Lansigan, F., Chamberlin, M., Fuld, A., Bartels, S.J., Whipple, J., Bakitas, M.A., & Hegel, M.T (2019). Health Through Activity: Initial evaluation of an in- home intervention for older adults with cancer. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 73(5), 7305205070. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2019.035022 PMID: 31484031


Contact Information

Awards and Honors

Academy of Research In Occupational Therapy Inductee, 2021

The American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) Academy of Research in Occupational Therapy recognizes individuals who have made exemplary, distinguished, and sustained contributions toward the science of occupational therapy.