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Lyn Balsamo, PhD

Lyn Balsamo, PhD, is an Associate Research Scientist in Pediatrics (Hematology/Oncology) and a Licensed Psychologist for the Yale Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Program. Although her tasks vary day to day, patient to patient, her ultimate goal never wavers: to see childhood cancer survivors grow and thrive.

As one of her many tasks, Lyn performs neuro-cognitive testing for children that have undergone treatments for cancer to assess for late effects and any services they may need moving forward with their education. By testing memory and learning ability, Lyn helps parents understand their child’s strengths and weaknesses so they can be as successful as possible in the future. Having been in this role for 12 years now, Lyn has seen patients grow from children to young adults. As they grow and change, so do their needs.

“The intersection between mental health and a medical diagnosis looks different for each individual and can depend on age, personal history, and family factors. For many, a cancer diagnosis profoundly changes the lives of children and their families. Sometimes they need assistance in coping with a new diagnosis and its effect on daily life, and later coping with what it means to be a survivor,” said Lyn. Often the issues Lyn manages range from trouble with toilet training, to more severe issues such as depression and anxiety.

Lyn commented that since the pandemic she has begun to see some children in person again but Zoom consults have allowed her to interact with patients she normally would never see due to travel barriers, and time constraints. She can now schedule a Zoom for after school, which has been helpful for older children. It is still evolving and depends on what works best for each individual patient.

Nina Kadan-Lottick, MD, MSPH, Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Hematology/Oncology) and Medical Director of the HEROS Clinic for survivors of childhood cancer, commented, “Dr. Balsamo is an amazing clinician who makes an incredible difference for children and teens affected by cancer. She helps them first cope, then thrive, and ultimately live life to their full potential.”