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Cleveland Shields, PhD

Research Interests

I study physician-patient communication in cancer care, in pain management, and with adolescents. I am also interested in health disparities due to race, poverty, and geography such as rural or urban.


Dr. Shields has support from the National Institutes of Health to examine physician-patient communication. He recently received a NIDA grant to study physician-patient communication in opioid management and drug addiction in non-cancer chronic pain patients. He is also a faculty member of the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering (RCHE) and the Director of the Center onPoverty and Health Inequities within RCHE.

Selected Publications

  • Alexander, S. C., Christ, S. L., Fortenberry, J. D., Pollak, K. I., Østbye, T., Bravender, T., Shields, C. G. (in press) Types of sexuality conversations in physician-adolescent conversations: Latent class analysis. Sexual Health.
  • Dong,* S., Butow, P. N., Costa, D. S. J., Dhillon, H., & Shields, C. G. (in press). The influence of patient-centered communication during radiotherapy education sessions on post-consultation patient outcomes. Patient Education and Counseling. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2014.02.008 [ISI Impact: 2.93]
  • Hill, B. C., Black, D. B., & Shields, C. G. (in press). Barbershop prostate cancer education: Factors associated with client knowledge. American Journal of Men’s Health.
  • Alexander, S. C., Fortenberry, J. D., Pollak, K. I., Bravender, T., Ostbye, T., Tulsky, J.A., Dolor, R., & Shields, C. G. (2015). Adolescent sexual behavior: Comparing verbal disclosure to physicians during visits with answers on self-report questionnaires. Clinical Pediatrics, 54:1-5. [ISI Impact: 1.26]
  • Adedokun,* O. A., Parker, L. C., Childress, A., Burgess, W., Adams, R., Agnew, C. R., Leary, J., Knapp, D., Shields, C. G., Lelievre, S., & Teegarden, D. (2014). Effect of time on perceived gains from an undergraduate research program. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 13, 139-148. doi:10.1187/cbe.13-03-0045. [ISI Impact: 1.19]
  • Alexander, S. C., Fortenberry, J. D., Pollak, K. I., Bravender, T., Ostbye, T., & Shields, C. G. (2014). Physicians use of inclusive language during teenage annual visits. LGBT Health, 1, 283-291. DOI: 10.1089/lgbt.2014.0035. [ISI Impact: NA]
  • Fang*, S., Shi*, W., Kong, N., & Shields, C. G. (2014). A preliminary variable selection based regression analysis for predicting patient satisfaction on physician-patient cancer prognosis communication. In X. Zheng, D. Zeng, H. Chen, Y. Zhang, C. Xing, & D. B. Neil (Eds.), Smart Health (pp.171-180). Springer International Publishing.
  • Alexander,* S. C., Fortenberry, J. D., Pollak, K. I., Bravender, T., Davis, J. K., Ostbye, T., Tulsky, J. A., Dolor, R. J., & Shields, C. G. [published online December 30, 2013]. Sexuality talk during adolescent health maintenance visits. Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4338 . [ISI Impact: 4.28]
  • Edwardsen,* E. A., Reis, S., Morse, D. S., Gurnsey, M. G., Taupin, A., Shields, C. G., Griggs, J. J., & McDaniel, S. H. (2013). Physician dialogues with advanced cancer patients: Mostly patient-friendly but often physician-directed. European Journal of Person-Centred Medicine, 1, 138-148. http://dx.doi.org/10.5750%2Fejpch.v1i1.646. [ISI Impact: NA]
  • McDaniel,* S. H., Morse, D. S., Edwardsen, E. A., Gurnsey, M. G., Taupin, A., Griggs, J. J., & Shields, C. G. (2013). Physicians criticizing physicians to patients. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 28, 1405-1409. doi:10.1007/s11606-013-2499-9. [ISI Impact: 3.65]
  • Shields,* C. G., Finley,† M. A., Elias, C. M., Coker, † C. J., Griggs, J. J., Fiscella, K., & Epstein, R. M. (2013). Pain assessment: The roles of physician certainty and curiosity. Health Communication, 3, 1-7. doi:10.1080/10410236.2012.715380. [ISI Impact: 1.763]
  • Franks,* M. M., Sahin, † Z. S., Seidel, † A. J., Shields, C. G., Oates, S. K., & Boushey, C. J. (2012). Table for two: Diabetes distress and diet-related interactions of married patients with diabetes and their spouses. Families, Systems, & Health, 30, 154-165. doi:10.1037/a0028614. [ISI Impact: 1.735]
  • Franks,* M. M., Shields, C. G., Sands, L., Lim, E., Mobley, S., & Boushey, C. J. (2012). I will if you will: Similarity in health behavior change of married partners. Health, Education, & Behavior. 39, 324-331. doi:10.1177/1090198111402824. [ISI Impact: 1.536]
  • Shields,* C. G., Finley, † M. A., & Chawla,† N. (2012). Couple and family interventions in health problems. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 38, 265-280. doi:10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00269.x. [ISI Impact: 1.116]
  • Teegarden,* D., Lee, J., Adedokun, O., Childress, A., Parker, L. C., Burgess, W., Nagel, J., Knapp, D. W., Lelievre, S., Agnew, C. R., Shields, C. G., Leary, J., Adams, R., & Jensen, J. D. (2011). Cancer prevention interdisciplinary education program at Purdue University: Overview and preliminary results. Journal of Cancer Education, 26, 626-632. doi:org/10.1007/s13187-011-0232-0. [ISI Impact: 0.762]
  • Shields,* C. G., Ziner, K. W., Bourff, S. A., Schilling, K., Zhao, Q., Monahan, P., Sledge, G., & Champion, V. (2010). An intervention to improve communication between breast cancer survivors and their physicians. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 28, 610-629. doi:10.1080/07347332.2010.516811 [ISI Impact: 1.03]
  • Rosenberg,† T., & Shields, C. G. (2009). The role of parental-adolescent attachment in the glycemic control of adolescents with type 1 diabetes: A pilot study. Families, Systems, & Health, 27, 237-248. doi:10.1037/a0017117. [ISI Impact: 1.05]
  • Shields,* C. G., Coker, † C. J., Poulsen, S. S., Doyle, † J. M., Fiscella, K., Epstein, R. M., & Griggs, J. J. (2009). Patient-centered communication and prognosis discussions with cancer patients. Patient Education and Counseling, 57, 437-442. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2009.09.006.. [ISI Impact: 2.93]
  • Duberstein,* P., Meldrum, S., Fiscella, K., Shields, C. G., & Epstein, R. M. (2007). Influences on patients’ ratings of physicians: Physicians’ demographics and personality. Patient Education and Counseling, 65, 270-274. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2006.09.007. [ISI Impact: 2.305]
  • Epstein,* R. M., Hadee, T., Carroll, J., Meldrum, S. C., Lardner, J., & Shields, C. G. (2007). Could this be something serious? Reassurance, uncertainty and empathy in response to patients’ expressions of worry. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 22, 1731-1739. doi:10.1007/s11606-007-0416-9. [ISI Impact: 2.96]
  • Epstein,* R. M., Shields, C. G., Franks, P., Meldrum, S. C., Feldman, M., & Kravitz, R. L. (2007). Exploring and validating patient concerns: Relation to prescribing for depression. Annals of Family Medicine, 5, 21-28. doi:10.1370/afm.621. [ISI Impact: 3.80]
  • Griggs,* J. J., Sorbero, M. E. S., Mallinger, † J. B., Quinn, M., Waterman, M., Brooks, B., & Shields, C. G. (2007). Vitality, mental health, and satisfaction with information after breast cancer. Patient Education and Counseling, 66, 58-66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2006.10.008. [ISI Impact: 1.78]
  • Schultz,* S. H., North, S. W., & Shields, C. G. (2007). Schizophrenia: a review. American Family Physician, 75, 1821-1829. doi: n/a. [ISI Impact: 1.89]
  • Bayer,* W., Mallinger,† J. B., Krishnan, A., & Shields, C. G. (2006). Attitudes toward life-sustaining interventions among ambulatory black and white patients. Ethnicity and Disease, 16, 915-920. PMID:17061746. [ISI Impact: 1.59]
  • Burwell,* S. R., Brucker, P., & Shields, C. G. (2006). Attachment behaviors and proximity-seeking in cancer patients and their partners. Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, 5, 1-16. doi:10.1300/J398v05n03_01. [ISI Impact: 1.06]
  • Epstein,* R. M., Shields, C. G., Meldrum, S. C., Fiscella, K., Carroll, J., & Carney, P. A. (2006). Physicians’ responses to patients’ medically unexplained symptoms. Psychosomatic Medicine, 68, 269-276. doi:10.1097/01.psy.0000204652.27246.5b. [ISI Impact: 3.86]
  • Franks,* P., Jerant, A. F., Fiscella, K., Shields, C. G., Tancredi, D. J., & Epstein, R. M. (2006). Studying physician effects on patient outcomes: Physician interactional style and performance on quality of care indicators. Social Science & Medicine, 62, 422-432. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.05.027. [ISI Impact: 3.69]
  • Mallinger,† J. B., Griggs, J. J., & Shields, C. G. (2006). Family communication and mental health after breast cancer. European Journal of Cancer Care, 15, 355-361. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2354.2006.00666.x. [ISI Impact: 1.31]
  • Mallinger,† J. B., Shields, C. G., Griggs, J. J., Roscoe, J. A., Morrow, G. R., & Rosenbluth, R. J. (2006). Stability of decisional role preference over the course of cancer therapy. Psycho-Oncology, 15, 297-305. doi:10.1002/pon.954. [ISI Impact: 2.77]


  • Post Doctoral Training, 1987-90, Family Therapy Training Program, Division of Family Programs, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester
  • PhD, 1987, Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Purdue University
  • MDiv, 1980, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC
  • BS, 1976, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA

Courses Recently Taught

  • HDFS 629: Interventions in Families and Health (Methodology)
  • HDFS 201: Family Processes
  • HDFS 331: Skills for Helping Professionals


  • 2005, 2006: Susan H. McDaniel Graduate Teaching Award, Awarded by Graduate Students in the Marriage & Family Therapy Master's Degree Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester

External Grants

  • 2011-2016, Co-PI, National Cancer Institute, "Social and behavioral influences on clinical communication and pain management." $2,700,000.
  • 2015-2017, Co-PI, National Institute of Drug Abuse, “Identifying communicative factors affecting opioid management for chronic pain.” $270,000.

Professional Memberships

  • European Association for Communication in Healthcare (EACH)
  • American Academy on Communication in Healthcare (AACH)