Ellen Lavoie Smith

Dr. Ellen Lavoie Smith, Assistant Professor

Ellen Lavoie Smith, PhD, APN-BC, AOCN®

Associate Professor
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

Scholarly Expertise / Activity


  • Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
  • 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:

  • Breast Cancer Pain (BCP) - Karen Allen Award and University of Michigan School of Nursing, Pilot Grant (PI)
  • Addressing Quality Cancer Care: Pilot Testing the On Q Care Planning and Symptom Assessment System, Genentech (CO-I)
  • Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN) Measurement Validation, NIH (PI)


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. L., Li, L., Hutchinson, R., Ho, R., Burnette, W. B., Wells, E., Bridges, C., & Renbarger, J. (In Press). Measuring vincristine-induced peripheral neuropathy in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Cancer Nursing. NIHMS487762, Publ.ID: NCC200489
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Smith, E. L. (2013). Assessment and Management of Taxane-Associated Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy. Clinical Journal of Oncology, Suppl 17(1), 22-34. PMID: 23360700
  • Pett, M. A., Beck, S. L., Guo, J. W., Towsley, G. L., Brant, J. M., Lavoie Smith, E. M., Berry, P. H., & Donaldson, G. (2012). Confirmatory factor analysis of the Pain Care Quality Survey (PainCQ(c)). Health Services Research. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.12014.
  • Smith, E. M. L., Skalla, K., Li, Z., Onega, T., Anton, K., Gallagher, S., Rhoda, J., Gates, C., & Scott, M. R. (2012). Assessing cancer survivors' needs using web-based technology: A pilot study. Computer Informatics in Nursing, 30(2). 71-81.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Beck, S.L., Towsley, G.L., Pett, M, Berry, PH, Smith, EL, Brant, JM, Guo, JW (2010) Initial psychometric properties of the Pain Care Quality (PainCQ) Survey. Journal of Pain.
  • Beck, S.L., Towsley, G.L., Berry, PH, Brant, JM, Smith, EL (2010) Measuring the quality of care related to pain management: A multiple method approach to instrument development. Nursing Research, 59(2), 85-92.
  • 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.
  • Smith, E. L., Bakitas, M., Homel, P., Fadul, C., Skalla, K., Meyer, L., & Bookbinder, M. (2009). Using Quality Improvement Methodology to Improve Neuropathic Pain Screening and Assessment in Patients with Cancer. Journal of Cancer Education, 24(2), 135-140.
  • Smith, E. L., Beck, S. L., & Cohen, J. A. (2008). The Total Neuropathy Score (TNS): A Tool for Use by Oncology Nurses When Measuring Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy. Oncology Nursing Forum, 35 (1), 96-102.
  • Smith, E.L., Skosey, C, Armer, J., Berg, D., Cirrincione, C., & Henggeler, M. (2006). The Cancer and Leukemia Group B Oncology Nursing Committee (1983-2006): A History of Passion, Commitment, Challenge, and Accomplishment. Clinical Cancer Review, 12(11), 3638s-3641s.
  • Smith, E. L., Whedon, M., Bookbinder, M. (2002) Quality Improvement Approach of Painful Peripheral Neuropathy. Seminars in Oncology Nursing, 18(1), 36-43.