Keith Bellizzi, HDFS Faculty Spotlight August 2020


Keith BellizziKeith Bellizzi has spent the last two decades studying how individuals and their families cope and adapt to a cancer diagnosis and related treatment. Dr. Bellizzi has examined issues such as resilience, psychosocial health and wellbeing, and health behaviors in cancer survivors across the lifespan.

A new study (2020) he co-authored “Prevalence of Healthy Behaviors among Cancer Survivors in the United States: How Far Have We Come?” updates national prevalence data on healthy lifestyle behaviors among cancer survivors. Compared to 20 years ago, smoking and physical inactivity have declined. However, excess alcohol consumption has increased. Findings from this study indicate that, while we have made progress, continued health promotion efforts are needed in cancer survivors, targeted by age and cancer site. This information is critical for tracking guideline adherence and informing intervention priorities to reduce morbidity and mortality among cancer survivors.

Keith has been teaching at UConn since 2008 and regularly teaches research methods (HDFS 2004W), Death, Dying and Bereavement (HDFS 3252), and a graduate course on living with chronic illness (HDFS 5255). He encourages his students to engage in higher order thinking and personal development in his courses, and to get students to move beyond simply recalling facts and instead to use knowledge in complex and applied ways.  In his classes, Keith discusses many topics that are controversial, taboo in American culture, or deal with different types of loss. He believes that talking about hard to discuss topics makes the uncomfortable become more comfortable, and that we all have the potential to grow as human beings when we face adversity or challenge our thinking.

Keith loves living in New England and finds each of the four seasons distinctly appealing for its own unique characteristics.  When Keith isn’t working, he can be found spending time with his three girls, cheering for them on the soccer field or basketball court, exploring the ski slopes of Vermont, or riding the numerous single-track mountain bike trails of New England.  Keith finds peace and solace being outdoors, particularly in times like these when the world doesn’t seem to make sense.

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