Research and teaching
Area of Focus
- Psychosocial Oncology – subspeciality sexual medicine
Summary of Research
Dr. Walker’s research has focused on identifying needs in prostate cancer, with regard to sexual health and rehabilitation. She also focuses on adaptation to the many complex side effects or hormone treatment (aka androgen deprivation therapy). Her work has lead to the development of many resources that help cancer patients of all backgrounds adapt to changes in sexual health after undergoing treatment. She also collaborates nationally with prostate cancer survivorship programs to help with these same concerns. She has worked to create awareness of the importance of sexual health needs of all oncology patients and educational resources to improve health care providers care of patients and also created and increased the sexual health information available to patients. She is also exploring the sexual health needs of patients with multiple myeloma, a population in which sexuality is often overlooked. Her work in women’s sexual health has centered on identifying sexual concerns in routine follow-visits for gyne-oncological cancer patients, as well as creating and evaluating group-based resources for sexual and vaginal health concerns and evaluating a multi-disciplinary sexual health services for all patients. She is currently a co-Principal Investigator on an RCT testing two types of group therapies for breast cancer survivors with sexual concerns. She has also contributed significantly to methods of assessing sexual distress, an important contributor to sexual dysfunction and sexual well-being.
Dr. Lauren Walker is a registered psychologist in the province of Alberta and holds an academic appointment as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Departments of Oncology and Psychology, at the University of Calgary. She earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology in 2013 and completed a Clinical Fellowship specializing in Oncology and Sexuality in 2015. Dr. Walker established the University of Calgary’s Oncology Sexual Health Lab in 2015 and maintains an active research program. As a researcher she has contributed 40 peer-reviewed publications about psychosocial and sexual adaption to cancer treatments. She was recently recognized with Calgary Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40. Dr. Walker’s passion is in developing resources that help cancer patients of all backgrounds adapt to changes in sexual health after undergoing treatment. She co-founded the Androgen Deprivation Therapy Educational Program for Prostate Cancer Patient. She also owns Walker Psychological, a private clinical psychology practice in Calgary treating individuals and couples with sexual concerns from all backgrounds. She splits her time between research and clinical practice in sexual health.