Erin M. Mobley, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. She serves within the division of general surgery and surgical oncology in the college’s department of surgery.
Dr. Mobley is a trained health services researcher who focuses on cancer control and survivorship among children, adolescents and young adults.
Dr. Mobley received her doctorate in health services and policy from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in public health and a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University. Prior to joining UF Health, she completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Center for Young Adult Cancer Survivorship Research at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.
What are your current research interests and/or what is a project you are currently working on?
My research interests include access to care, insurance coverage, financial hardship and toxicity, employment, educational attainment, clinical trials, and fertility concerns experienced by cancer survivors. I am most interested in pediatric, adolescent, and young adult cancer survivors diagnosed prior to age 40; however, some of my recent work spans cancer survivors of all ages.
How did you end up going into medicine and/or why did you decide on your specialty?
My journey down my career path started right when I was born – I was born premature, at 27 weeks gestation at UF Health in Jacksonville. After having urgent heart surgery, a few chest tubes placed, and countless other tests and procedures, my parents tell me I was able to go home after being in the NICU for about three months. After getting through my first health challenge in life, at the age of six, I was diagnosed with a rare type of sarcoma in my bladder. I underwent surgery and chemotherapy, missed many days of school, and witnessed the considerable stress this placed on my family. Because of these two early life experiences, at a very young age, I became acutely aware of the considerable impact that cancer and other serious health conditions can have on not only an individual but also their family, friends, and community. I have always known that I wanted to pursue a career that would allow me to help people diagnosed with cancer, and I knew I would accomplish this goal by going to college and prioritizing my education.
Who or what has inspired you to pursue this career?
As a first generation college graduate, coupled with my early life experiences and being a cancer survivor, I have always been very motivated to further my education so that I could achieve my goals and passions related to helping those facing cancer. Ultimately, my family and personal experiences have inspired me to pursue my career path.
Why did you decide to focus on cancer?
I decided to focus on cancer, and particularly cancer survivorship, because of my experience as a cancer survivor. I did not know until I was in my PhD program, what cancer survivorship was and that there are specific long-term side effects (known as “late effects”) of a cancer diagnosis and treatment that need to be surveilled for and cared for overtime by a care team that specializes in cancer survivorship.
What do you want to achieve with your work and/or in your career?
Ultimately, I want to make a difference in the lives of people who have been diagnosed with cancer. After I finish my career and retire, I want to know that my work has improved the lives of people who have heard the words “you have cancer.”
What excites you about your work? What is exciting to you about your field right now?
I am very excited about many things in the field of health services research for cancer survivorship in the future. First, and most importantly, I am looking forward to innovative and unique ways to continue to capture patient-reported data to ensure the patient voice and perspective is considered in all studies the future. Second, there is an infinite amount of studies that can be conducted with unique data available through the electronic health record and large datasets like OneFlorida+ Clinical Research Consortium using big data and AI methods. Third, I am very happy to see emphasis and priority being placed on pediatric, adolescent, and young adult cancer survivorship research from funders due to the passage of the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act and other pieces of legislation.8 The STAR Act has calls for enhanced support for pediatric, adolescent, and young adult cancer research, including ongoing efforts to address survivorship disparities.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my miniature dachshund, Bowden (yes, he’s named after Bobby Bowden). I also enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and going to the beach or spending time in/around the water.