Research Summary

Rebecca (Becky) DeBoer, MD, MA is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at UCSF. She received her BA in Human Biology from Stanford University and her joint MD and MA in Medical Humanities and Bioethics from Northwestern University, and wrote her master’s thesis on The Ethics of Global Cancer Care and Control. She completed residency in internal medicine at the University of Chicago and fellowship at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. During her medical training, she conducted qualitative research on cancer treatment decision-making and research ethics in Mumbai, India, and pursued clinical oncology rotations in Uganda and Nigeria. After residency she worked as an oncology clinician at the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence in rural Rwanda with Partners In Health, where she was engaged in direct patient care, clinical research, and programmatic initiatives. As an oncology fellow at UCSF and HDFCCC Global Cancer Fellow, she conducted ethics research and implementation science projects in Rwanda and Tanzania with support from a Fogarty GloCal Health Fellowship and a grant from the Greenwall Foundation.

Dr. DeBoer is a medical oncologist based clinically at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where she has a general oncology clinic and a breast oncology clinic. She continues to work in the emerging academic field of Global Oncology as a member of the HDFCCC Global Cancer Program at UCSF. Her research examines ethical issues in oncology care and capacity-building in resource-limited settings, and leverages implementation science and mixed methods to address them. She is currently leading collaborative projects in the following areas: 1) Cross-cultural serious illness communication, including a qualitative study examining clinical decision-making about non-curative cancer therapy in Rwanda and Tanzania and a cultural adaptation of evidence-based communication skills training for the Rwandan setting; 2) Resource allocation and patient prioritization for radiotherapy in Rwanda; 3) Implementation science to enhance oncology care delivery, including clinical guideline implementation in Tanzania and clinical program evaluation of a care delivery system in Rwanda.

Research Funding

  • April 4, 2012 - June 30, 2022 - University of California Global Health Institute Program for Fellows and Scholars, GloCal Health Fellow. Sponsor: NIH/FIC, Sponsor Award ID: D43TW009343
  • July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021 - Adaptation and Implementation of Evidence-Based Communication Skills Training at Butaro Hospital in Rwanda, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation: 2020 Global Oncology Young Investigator Award: Implementation Science to Address Oncology Care in LMICs, Sponsor Award ID: P0539944
  • July 1, 2018 - December 31, 2020 - An Ethical Approach to Routine Tragic Choices: Radiotherapy Allocation in Rwanda, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: Greenwall Foundation, Sponsor Award ID: A131753
  • April 4, 2012 - June 30, 2022 - University of California Global Health Institute Program for Fellows and Scholars, GloCal Health Fellow. Sponsor: NIH/FIC, Sponsor Award ID: D43TW009343


Stanford University, B.A., 06/2005, Human Biology
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, M.D., 05/2011, Medicine
Northwestern University Program in Medical Humanities and Bioethics, M.A., 03/2014, Medical Humanities and Bioethics
University of Chicago, 06/2014, Internal Medicine Residency
MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics; Chicago, IL, 06/2016, Clinical Medical Ethics Fellowship
University of California, San Francisco, 06/2019, Medical Oncology Fellowship

Honors & Awards

  • 2003
    Human Biology Research Exploration (HB-REX) Grant (Stanford University)
  • 2004
    Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for Community Service
  • 2005
    Psi Chi National Honor Society in Psychology
  • 2005
    Albert H. Hastorf Award for Outstanding Service to Program in Human Biology (Stanford University)
  • 2007
    Department of Neurological Surgery Staff Recognition and Development Award (UCSF)
  • 2008
    International Health Fellowship (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
  • 2008
    Program in Medical Humanities and Bioethics Travel Grant (Northwestern University)
  • 2008
    Voices Against Brain Cancer (VABC) Young Investigators Research Grant
  • 2014
    19th Congress of the European Hematology Association (EHA) Travel Grant
  • 2017
    Rachel Pearline Award in Recognition of an Extraordinary Commitment to Patient Care (UCSF)

Selected Publications

  1. DeBoer RJ, Nguyen C, Mutoniwase E, Ho A, Umutesi G, Bigirimana JB, Triedman SA, Shyirambere C. Procedural fairness for radiotherapy priority setting in a low resource context. Bioethics. 2021 Aug 20.  View on PubMed
  2. Nyagabona SK, Luhar R, Ndumbalo J, Mvungi N, Ngoma M, Meena S, Siu S, Said M, Mwaiselage J, Tarimo E, Buckle G, Selekwa M, Mushi B, Mmbaga EJ, Van Loon K, DeBoer RJ. Views from Multidisciplinary Oncology Clinicians on Strengthening Cancer Care Delivery Systems in Tanzania. Oncologist. 2021 07; 26(7):e1197-e1204.  View on PubMed
  3. DeBoer RJ, Mutoniwase E, Nguyen C, Ho A, Umutesi G, Nkusi E, Sebahungu F, Van Loon K, Shulman LN, Shyirambere C. Moral Distress and Resilience Associated with Cancer Care Priority Setting in a Resource-Limited Context. Oncologist. 2021 07; 26(7):e1189-e1196.  View on PubMed
  4. Blanchard C, Lubuzo B, Asirwa FC, Dlamini X, Msadabwe-Chikuni SC, Mwachiro M, Shyirambere C, Ruhangaza D, Milner DA, Van Loon K, DeBoer R, Mtshali P, Dugan U, Baker E, Shulman LN. Multisector Collaborations and Global Oncology: The Only Way Forward. JCO Glob Oncol. 2021 01; 7:153-161.  View on PubMed
  5. DeBoer RJ, Fadelu TA, Shulman LN, Van Loon K. Applying Lessons Learned From Low-Resource Settings to Prioritize Cancer Care in a Pandemic. JAMA Oncol. 2020 09 01; 6(9):1429-1433.  View on PubMed
  6. DeBoer RJ, Shyirambere C, Driscoll CD, Butera Y, Paciorek A, Ruhangaza D, Fadelu TA, Umwizerwa A, Bigirimana JB, Muhayimana C, Nguyen C, Park PH, Mpunga T, Lehmann L, Shulman LN. Treatment of Hodgkin Lymphoma With ABVD Chemotherapy in Rural Rwanda: A Model for Cancer Care Delivery Implementation. JCO Glob Oncol. 2020 07; 6:1093-1102.  View on PubMed
  7. Mutebi M, Anderson BO, Duggan C, Adebamowo C, Agarwal G, Ali Z, Bird P, Bourque JM, DeBoer R, Gebrim LH, Masetti R, Masood S, Menon M, Nakigudde G, Ng'ang'a A, Niyonzima N, Rositch AF, Unger-Saldaña K, Villarreal-Garza C, Dvaladze A, El Saghir NS, Gralow JR, Eniu A. Breast cancer treatment: A phased approach to implementation. Cancer. 2020 05 15; 126 Suppl 10:2365-2378.  View on PubMed
  8. Rositch AF, Unger-Saldaña K, DeBoer RJ, Ng'ang'a A, Weiner BJ. The role of dissemination and implementation science in global breast cancer control programs: Frameworks, methods, and examples. Cancer. 2020 05 15; 126 Suppl 10:2394-2404.  View on PubMed
  9. DeBoer RJ, Ndumbalo J, Meena S, Ngoma MT, Mvungi N, Siu S, Selekwa M, Nyagabona SK, Luhar R, Buckle G, Lin TK, Breithaupt L, Kennell-Heiling S, Mushi B, Philipo GS, Mmbaga EJ, Mwaiselage J, Van Loon K. Development of a theory-driven implementation strategy for cancer management guidelines in sub-Saharan Africa. Implement Sci Commun. 2020; 1:24.  View on PubMed
  10. Xu MJ, Su D, Deboer R, Garcia M, Tahir P, Anderson W, Kinderman A, Braunstein S, Sherertz T. Palliative Oncologic Care Curricula for Providers in Resource-Limited and Underserved Communities: a Systematic Review. J Cancer Educ. 2019 04; 34(2):205-215.  View on PubMed
  11. Rubagumya F, Greenberg L, Manirakiza A, DeBoer R, Park PH, Mpunga T, Shulman LN. Increasing global access to cancer care: models of care with non-oncologists as primary providers. Lancet Oncol. 2017 08; 18(8):1000-1002.  View on PubMed
  12. Daly B, Hantel A, Wroblewski K, Balachandran JS, Chow S, DeBoer R, Fleming GF, Hahn OM, Kline J, Liu H, Patel BK, Verma A, Witt LJ, Fukui M, Kumar A, Howell MD, Polite BN. No Exit: Identifying Avoidable Terminal Oncology Intensive Care Unit Hospitalizations. J Oncol Pract. 2016 10; 12(10):e901-e911.  View on PubMed
  13. DeBoer R, Koval G, Mulkey F, Wetzler M, Devine S, Marcucci G, Stone RM, Larson RA, Bloomfield CD, Geyer S, Mullighan CG, Stock W. Clinical impact of ABL1 kinase domain mutations and IKZF1 deletion in adults under age 60 with Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL): molecular analysis of CALGB (Alliance) 10001 and 9665. Leuk Lymphoma. 2016 10; 57(10):2298-306.  View on PubMed
  14. Keck MK, Zuo Z, Khattri A, Stricker TP, Brown CD, Imanguli M, Rieke D, Endhardt K, Fang P, Brägelmann J, DeBoer R, El-Dinali M, Aktolga S, Lei Z, Tan P, Rozen SG, Salgia R, Weichselbaum RR, Lingen MW, Story MD, Ang KK, Cohen EE, White KP, Vokes EE, Seiwert TY. Integrative analysis of head and neck cancer identifies two biologically distinct HPV and three non-HPV subtypes. Clin Cancer Res. 2015 Feb 15; 21(4):870-81.  View on PubMed
  15. Raizer JJ, Fitzner KA, Jacobs DI, Bennett CL, Liebling DB, Luu TH, Trifilio SM, Grimm SA, Fisher MJ, Haleem MS, Ray PS, McKoy JM, DeBoer R, Tulas KM, Deeb M, McKoy JM. Economics of Malignant Gliomas: A Critical Review. J Oncol Pract. 2015 01; 11(1):e59-65.  View on PubMed
  16. Seiwert TY, Zuo Z, Keck MK, Khattri A, Pedamallu CS, Stricker T, Brown C, Pugh TJ, Stojanov P, Cho J, Lawrence MS, Getz G, Brägelmann J, DeBoer R, Weichselbaum RR, Langerman A, Portugal L, Blair E, Stenson K, Lingen MW, Cohen EE, Vokes EE, White KP, Hammerman PS. Integrative and comparative genomic analysis of HPV-positive and HPV-negative head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. Clin Cancer Res. 2015 Feb 01; 21(3):632-41.  View on PubMed
  17. Parvataneni R, Polley MY, Freeman T, Lamborn K, Prados M, Butowski N, Liu R, Clarke J, Page M, Rabbitt J, Fedoroff A, Clow E, Hsieh E, Kivett V, Deboer R, Chang S. Identifying the needs of brain tumor patients and their caregivers. J Neurooncol. 2011 Sep; 104(3):737-44.  View on PubMed
  18. DeBoer R, Batjer H, Marymont M, Goldman S, Walker M, Gottardi-Littell N, Raizer J. Response of an adult patient with pineoblastoma to vorinostat and retinoic acid. J Neurooncol. 2009 Nov; 95(2):289-292.  View on PubMed
  19. Prados MD, Chang SM, Butowski N, DeBoer R, Parvataneni R, Carliner H, Kabuubi P, Ayers-Ringler J, Rabbitt J, Page M, Fedoroff A, Sneed PK, Berger MS, McDermott MW, Parsa AT, Vandenberg S, James CD, Lamborn KR, Stokoe D, Haas-Kogan DA. Phase II study of erlotinib plus temozolomide during and after radiation therapy in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme or gliosarcoma. J Clin Oncol. 2009 Feb 01; 27(4):579-84.  View on PubMed

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