Photo of Daniel A. Gundersen,  PhD

Daniel A. Gundersen, PhD

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Phone: (617) 632-5827
Fax: (617) 582-7105

Daniel A. Gundersen, PhD

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


  • Lead Scientist, Population Sciences, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


Research Abstract

I am a Lead Scientist in Medical Oncology at DFCI and a collaborative researcher at the Survey and Data Management Core (SDMC). The SDMC designs and implements survey studies for investigators at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DFHCC), other Harvard affiliated institutions, and external academic and public health institutions. This includes developing and evaluating survey instruments using psychometric methods, designing sampling and data collection protocols, and programming and implementing single- and multi-mode surveys. I provide scientific leadership for the Core’s activities and serve as the principal methodological consultant for investigators using the Core’s services. I also lecture on survey design and analysis to enhance the survey capacity at Harvard-affiliated academic health care centers. My expertise is in developing survey instruments and data collection protocols for patients (patient reported outcomes [PROs]), community members, and health care professionals in different settings. I am currently Multiple-Principal Investigator on an NCI funded R01 grant entitled “Cell Phone RDD Sampling to Reach Young Adults for Tobacco Control Surveillance” (5R01CA149705). The project’s aims are to develop methods for collecting longitudinal survey data by efficiently leveraging mobile technologies for sampling, recruitment, multi-mode data collection, and cohort retention. I use my methodological expertise to ensure investigators’ research designs produce valid and reliable self-reported data at a low burden to respondents that is collected and analyzed in a reproducible manner.

My methodological work and collaborative work with DFCI and DF/HCC investigators has concentrated in two primary areas: (1) advancing survey methodology, and (2) developing single item and latent measures for health services research.

(1) My work in survey methodology has focused on solving applied sampling and measurement problems. It has sought to find the best and most efficient ways to sample hard-to-reach populations such as young adults, and on understanding challenges and opportunities for using mobile technology for collecting self-reported health data. The long-term goal of this line of research is to identify and leverage efficiencies in mobile technology to collect more data at a low respondent burden. The outcomes of this research enhance not only cancer research, but survey research in a variety of settings and substantive areas within and beyond health.

(2) My work in item and latent scale development has focused on applying both qualitative and quantitative methods to developing new health measures such as use of non-cigarette and emerging tobacco products, patients’ knowledge of multigene panel testing for cancer risk, and perceived discrimination among disadvantages populations. The goal of this line of research is to create reliable measures that can easily be implemented in research and clinical settings. The long-term goal of my research in this area is to creatively combine new electronic modes of data collection with statistical modeling that incorporates prior beliefs and knowledge about participants to measure complex constructs in ways that minimize cognitive burden to participants.

Publications from Harvard Catalyst Profiles

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  • Lakin JR, Gundersen DA, Lindvall C, Paasche-Orlow MK, Tulsky JA, Brannen EN, Pollak KI, Kennedy D, McLeggon JA, Stout JJ, Volandes A, . A Yet Unrealized Promise: Structured Advance Care Planning Elements in the Electronic Health Record. J Palliat Med 2021. PubMed
  • Bekalu MA, Gundersen DA, Viswanath K. Beyond Educating the Masses: The Role of Public Health Communication in Addressing Socioeconomic- and Residence-based Disparities in Tobacco Risk Perception. Health Commun 2020. PubMed
  • Lakin JR, Brannen EN, Tulsky JA, Paasche-Orlow MK, Lindvall C, Chang Y, Gundersen DA, El-Jawahri A, Volandes A, . Advance Care Planning: Promoting Effective and Aligned Communication in the Elderly (ACP-PEACE): the study protocol for a pragmatic stepped-wedge trial of older patients with cancer. BMJ Open 2020; 10:e040999. PubMed
  • Pozzar R, Hammer MJ, Underhill-Blazey M, Wright AA, Tulsky JA, Hong F, Gundersen DA, Berry DL. Threats of Bots and Other Bad Actors to Data Quality Following Research Participant Recruitment Through Social Media: Cross-Sectional Questionnaire. J Med Internet Res 2020; 22:e23021. PubMed
  • Underhill-Blazey M, Stopfer J, Chittenden A, Nayak MM, Lansang K, Lederman R, Garber J, Gundersen DA. Development and testing of the KnowGene scale to assess general cancer genetic knowledge related to multigene panel testing. Patient Educ Couns 2019; 102:1558-1564. PubMed
  • Watson AG, McCoy JV, Mathew J, Gundersen DA, Eisenstein RM. Impact of physician workload on burnout in the emergency department. Psychol Health Med 2019; 24:414-428. PubMed
  • O'Malley D, Dewan AA, Ohman-Strickland PA, Gundersen DA, Miller SM, Hudson SV. Determinants of patient activation in a community sample of breast and prostate cancer survivors. 2018; 27:132-140. PubMed
  • Kasza KA, Coleman B, Sharma E, Conway KP, Cummings KM, Goniewicz ML, Niaura RS, Lambert EY, Schneller LM, Feirman SP, Donaldson EA, Cheng YC, Murphy I, Pearson JL, Trinidad DR, Bansal-Travers M, Elton-Marshall T, Gundersen DA, Stanton CA, Abrams DB, Fong GT, Borek N, Compton WM, Hyland AJ. Correlates of Transitions in Tobacco Product Use by U.S. Adult Tobacco Users between 2013⁻2014 and 2014⁻2015: Findings from the PATH Study Wave 1 and Wave 2. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2018. PubMed
  • Kasza KA, Borek N, Conway KP, Goniewicz ML, Stanton CA, Sharma E, Fong GT, Abrams DB, Coleman B, Schneller LM, Lambert EY, Pearson JL, Bansal-Travers M, Murphy I, Cheng YC, Donaldson EA, Feirman SP, Gravely S, Elton-Marshall T, Trinidad DR, Gundersen DA, Niaura RS, Cummings KM, Compton WM, Hyland AJ. Transitions in Tobacco Product Use by U.S. Adults between 2013⁻2014 and 2014⁻2015: Findings from the PATH Study Wave 1 and Wave 2. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2018. PubMed
  • Delnevo CD, Gundersen DA, Manderski MTB, Giovenco DP, Giovino GA. Importance of Survey Design for Studying the Epidemiology of Emerging Tobacco Product Use Among Youth. Am J Epidemiol 2017; 186:405-410. PubMed
  • Villanti AC, Bover Manderski MT, Gundersen DA, Steinberg MB, Delnevo CD. Reasons to quit and barriers to quitting smoking in US young adults. Fam Pract 2016; 33:133-9. PubMed
  • O'Malley DM, Hudson SV, Ohman-Strickland PA, Bator A, Lee HS, Gundersen DA, Miller SM. Follow-up Care Education and Information: Identifying Cancer Survivors in Need of More Guidance. J Cancer Educ 2016; 31:63-9. PubMed
  • Delnevo CD, Villanti AC, Wackowski OA, Gundersen DA, Giovenco DP. The influence of menthol, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products on young adults' self-reported changes in past year smoking. Tobacco Control 2016; 25:571-4. PubMed
  • Giovenco DP, Gundersen DA, Delnevo CD. Reaching a representative sample of college students: A comparative analysis. J Am Coll Health 2016; 64:262-7. PubMed
  • Gundersen DA, Peters KR, Conner A, Dayton J, Delnevo CD. Stability of sample quality for a national random-digit dialing cellular phone survey of young adults. Am J Epidemiol 2014; 180:1047-9. PubMed
  • Gundersen DA, ZuWallack RS, Dayton J, Echeverría SE, Delnevo CD. Assessing the feasibility and sample quality of a national random-digit dialing cellular phone survey of young adults. Am J Epidemiol 2014; 179:39-47. PubMed
  • Delnevo CD, Gundersen DA, Hagman BT. Declining estimated prevalence of alcohol drinking and smoking among young adults nationally: artifacts of sample undercoverage? Am J Epidemiol 2008; 167:15-9. PubMed
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