Yelena Wu, PhD

Research Interests

  • Risk Communication
  • Familial Melanoma
  • Treatment Adherence
  • Cancer Genetics
  • Pediatric Psychology
  • Clinical Child Psychology
  • Skin Cancer Prevention


  • English

Academic Information

  • Departments: Dermatology - Assistant Professor, Pediatrics - Adjunct Assistant Professor, Population Health Sciences - Adjunct Assistant Professor
  • Divisions: Cancer Population Science, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
  • Cancer Center Programs: Cancer Control & Population Sciences

Academic Office Information

  • Huntsman Cancer Institute
    2000 Circle of Hope
    Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Academic Bio

Dr. Wu is a pediatric and clinical child psychologist. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology, and a Full Member of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program at Huntsman Cancer Institute. The overall goal of her research is to improve children’s health outcomes by promoting self-management and disease management. In particular, Dr. Wu is interested in improving adherence to medical recommendations among adolescents and young adults with cancer and children who are at elevated risk for melanoma.

Dr. Wu’s research interests fall within three main areas:

The first area is examining the socioecological factors that influence adherence, including individual, family, and systems-level factors. She is especially interested in patient developmental influences, the role of patient and family social networks, barriers to engagement in critical health behaviors, and provider communication with families.

The second area includes using a socioecological framework to design and test developmentally-appropriate psychosocial and multidisciplinary interventions that promote optimal development, physical health, and psychosocial outcomes. These behavioral interventions address modifiable patient, family, and provider factors that influence child and family self-management. For example, Dr. Wu's work in this area includes testing new family-focused behavioral interventions for children who are at-risk for melanoma that incorporate risk communication and behavioral strategies to promote adherence. Dr. Wu also has interests in using eHealth and mHealth to deliver assessments and health promotion interventions.

The third area comprises of advancing translation of evidence-based assessments and interventions into clinical practice, including interventions that increase adherence to medical regimens, as strategies to improve health and psychosocial outcomes. This work includes testing the effectiveness of evidence-based interventions in practice, spreading interventions to a wider range of healthcare providers, and addressing barriers to intervention implementation.

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Education History

Type School Degree
Postdoctoral Fellowship Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Center for Adherence and Self-Management, Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology
Postdoctoral Fellow
Internship Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology
Predoctoral Internship
Doctoral Training University of Kansas
Clinical Child Psychology, Minor in Quantitative Psychology
Graduate Training University of Kansas
Clinical Child Psychology
Undergraduate University of California Berkeley

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Wu YP, Mays D, Kohlmann W, Tercyak KP (2017). Pediatric predispositional genetic risk communication: Potential utility for prevention and control of melanoma risk as an exemplar. DOI: 10.1007/s10897-017-0105-8. J Genet Couns, 26(5), 887-893.
  2. Nagelhout ES, Comarell K, Samadder J, Wu YP (2017). Barriers to colorectal cancer screening in a racially diverse population served by a safety-net clinic. J Community Health.
  3. Wu YP, Aspinwall LG, Nagelhout E, Kohlmann W, Kaphighst KA, Homburger S, Perkins RD, Grossman D, Harding G, Cassidy P, Leachman SA (2016). Development of an educational program integrating concepts of genetic risk and preventive strategies for children with a family history of melanoma. J Cancer Educ.
  4. Wu YP, Yi J, McClellan J, Kim J, Tian T, Grahmann B, Kirchhoff AC, Holton A, Wright J (2015). Barriers and facilitators of healthy diet and exercise among adolescent and young adult cancer survivors: Implications for behavioral interventions. J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol, 4(4), 184-191.
  5. Wu YP, Aspinwall LG, Michaelis TC, Stump T, Kohlmann WG, Leachman SA (2015). Discussion of photoprotection, screening, and risk behaviors with children and grandchildren after melanoma genetic testing. J Community Genet, 7(1), 21-31.
  6. Wu YP, Hommel KA (2014). Using technology to assess and promote adherence to medical regimens in pediatric chronic illness. J Pediatr, 164(4), 922-7.
  7. Wu YP, Rohan JM, Martin S, Hommel K, Greenley RN, Loiselle K, Ambrosino J, Fredericks EM (2013). Pediatric psychologist use of adherence assessments and interventions. J Pediatr Psychol, 38(6), 595-604.
  8. Wu YP, Steele RG (2013). Predicting health-related quality of life from the psychosocial profiles of youth seeking treatment for obesity. J Dev Behav Pediatr, 34(8), 575-82.
  9. Wu YP, Aylward BS, Steele RG (2010). Associations between internalizing symptoms and trajectories of medication adherence among pediatric renal and liver transplant recipients. J Pediatr Psychol, 35(9), 1016-27.


  1. Wu YP, Pai AL (2014). Health care provider-delivered adherence promotion interventions: a meta-analysis. [Review]. Pediatrics, 133(6), e1698-707.
  2. Wu YP, Roberts MC (2008). A meta-analysis of interventions to increase adherence to medication regimens for pediatric otitis media and streptococcal pharyngitis. [Review]. J Pediatr Psychol, 33(7), 789-96.

Clinical Trials