Lois J. Loescher, PhD, RN, FAAN

Associate Professor, College of Nursing
Associate Professor, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
Co-Director, UACC Behavioral Measurement and Intervention Shared Resource
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-6169
Professional Bio: 

Dr. Loescher is a behavioral scientist and Associate Professor of Nursing in the College of Nursing with a joint appointment in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. She has been a member of the University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC) for over 25 years, and a founding member of the UACC Skin Cancer Institute and serves on the executive board. She has a broad background in cancer prevention and control research and has focused her research on skin cancer prevention, risk perception and communication, technology, and behavioral factors influencing risk-reducing behaviors.

Dr. Loescher was both a pre- and post-doctoral fellow on the NCI R25 Cancer Prevention and Control training grant at the UACC, and received further post-doctoral training in cancer prevention and control through a K07 grant from the NCI, completed in 2010. She is currently a co-investigator (R. Harris, PI) on an NLM contract to investigate the impact of a texting intervention on sun-safety behaviors in adolescents. She was principal investigator (PI) on a R03 ending in 2013 to evaluate the impact of an evidence-based skin cancer prevention video for adults who recently underwent solid organ transplantation. These investigations and others have involved development or modification of items, messages, scales, and psychometric testing of theory-based instruments to test behavioral interventions. Through online and in-person academic courses she has taught hundreds of graduate students research methods, theories of health promotion and risk reduction, and implementation and dissemination science methods.

Several of Dr. Loescher's students have developed instruments using mixed methods, elicitation methods, and classical measurement theory. These instruments have been subjected to item response, reliability and validity analyses. Her  mentorship of students has resulted in 12 student first-authored publications.

Dr. Loescher has had leadership roles, not only in the capacity of research team building, but in the College of Nursing (Chair of Faculty), UACC Skin Cancer Institute (Executive Board), UA (Graduate Council) and in professional organizations such as the Oncology Nursing Society. In summary, she has the capability to lead and mentor UACC and other researchers who desire to use the UACC Behavioral Measurements and Interventions Shared Resource (BMISR) services. Additionally, her networking skills, expertise in instrument development and testing and skin cancer prevention, and a strong theory background will enable her to be an effective co-leader of BMISR.

After receiving her Bachelor's degree at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Dr. Loescher moved to Tucson and worked at the Arizona Health Sciences Center while receiving her Master's degree in nursing at the University of Arizona. She worked and conducted her research at the University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC) for many years, during which time she completed her PhD degree at the University of Arizona.

She is co-Director of the Behavioral Measurement and Intervention Shared Resource at the UACC. She has been an oncology nurse for 40 years and is a long-standing member of the Oncology Nursing Society and the American Society of Preventive Oncology. Currently, Dr. Loescher conducts behavioral science research at the University of Arizona , primarily in the area of skin cancer prevention and early detection. She also conducts international skin cancer research as part of a team based in Queensland, Australia. Her current research focuses on use of mobile health (mHealth) technology as an intervention to improve skin cancer primary prevention in youth (texting) and for consumers and practitioners to detect skin cancer early (mobile phone apps and devices). In this context, Dr. Loescher studies behavioral risk factors for cancer, factors that improve chances of risk-reducing behaviors, and technology acceptance. 

Clinical Information

Clinical Focus: 
Using technology as an intervention to educate high risk groups on skin cancer detection and prevention and promote risk-reducing behaviors.
Using technology as an intervention to educate healthcare providers about skin cancer detection and promote more accurate detection of suspicious skin lesions. 
Clinical Practice Sites: 
The University of Arizona Cancer Center - North Campus
Disease or Clinical Specialty: 
Atypical Moles
Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer
Skin Cancer

Research Information

Research Program: 
Cancer Prevention and Control
Member Status: 
Research Member
Year of Membership Acceptance: 
The University of Arizona
College of Nursing
Summary of Research Activity: 

My research focuses on two broad areas. The first is risk factors, risk communication and risk communication as they pertain to persons at high risk of cancer and other diseases. For example, I study cognitive and emotional factors, such as risk perception, cancer worry, self-efficacy, and beliefs as they relate to risk reducing behaviors in persons at high risk of skin cancer, such as melanoma survivors and solid organ transplant recipients. The second broad area is using and evaluating technology to improve skin cancer early detection by healthcare providers, particularly primary care providers, and consumers. Currently I am a co-investigator in two studies using a smartphone-dermoscopy device to improve skin cancer detection and self-efficacy. The third broad area is skin cancer primary prevention interventions that use mobile health (mHealth) technology. I am co-investigator on a study of the effect of sun-safety text messaging on skin cancer knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of adolescents. My research is theory-based and mixed-methods research.

Selected Publications: 
Collaborative Research: 

Dr. Loescher's collaborators at the University of Arizona are investigators at the Skin Cancer Institute, Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health, and the Department of Communications. Her national collaborations are with an investigator at Harvard University. Her international collaborations are with two universities in Queensland, Australia.

What prompted you to get into cancer research?: 

I started my nursing career as a critical care nurse, but then my father developed bladder cancer at age 50. During this time, the original 3 research nurses in the then hematology/oncology department at the University of Arizona gave a guest lecture for one of my masters level courses. These two events prompted my interest in oncology. I was fortunate to be hired as a research nurse at the UACC by Frank Meyskens in 1980, which cemented my desire to conduct skin-cancer related research.

Professional Information

Professional Affiliations: 
 (Memberships for past 5 years)
2012-present   Member, American Academy of Nursing
2002-present   Member, Society of Behavioral Medicine
2002-present   Member, American Society of Preventive Oncology
1994-present   Member, Arizona Nurses Association
1994-present   Member, American Nurses Association
1980-present   Member, Oncology Nursing Society (National)
Positions and Honors: 
2015: Excellence in Leadership Award, Sigma Theta Tau, Beta Mu Chapter.
2012: International Research Development Grant travel award. The University of Arizona Office of Global Initiatives.
2012: Visiting scholar, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
2012: Selected as Fellow, American Academy of Nursing
2012: Oncology Nursing Society Excellence in Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Award.
2009: American Academy of Dermatology, Gold Triangle Award for the video, Skin Cancer: Learn to Spot it Early©, developed as an intervention for the 2008 Laurence B. Emmons Research Award.
2007: Sigma Theta Tau International, Journal of Nursing Scholarship, award for Best of Genomics to Practice article
2005-08: Visiting fellow, cancer genetic risk communication, for steering group for “Children, Young People and their Families' Communication of Genetic Risk.” Funded by the Department of Health, UK (Sponsor, Alison Metcalfe, Ph.D., University of Birmingham (England) School of Health Sciences)

Academic Information

The Arizona Cancer Center R25 Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cancer Prevention and Control
The University of Arizona
Master's Degree: 
The University of Arizona
Undergraduate School: 
University of Wisconsin