• Researcher Profile

    Kira Bona, MD, MPH

    Kira Bona, MD, MPH

    Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School


    Pediatric Hematologic Malignancies

    Office phone: 617-632-4688
    Fax: 617-632-4410
    Email: kira.bona@childrens.harvard.edu

    Preferred contact method: appointment phone

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    Research Department

    Medical Oncology/Population Sciences


    Hematologic malignancies

    Area of Research

    Outcomes research, pediatric oncology

    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    450 Brookline Avenue
    Boston, MA 02215


    Outcomes research, pediatric oncology

    Dr. Bona’s research is focused on understanding the contribution of social determinants, such as poverty, to pediatric cancer outcomes. Despite advances in pediatric oncology treatment, nearly 20% of children still die of their disease, and children with cancer experience significant suffering throughout the course of illness regardless of whether that illness culminates in cure or death. Understanding the contribution of social determinants of health to pediatric cancer outcomes may provide targetable factors involved in residual morbidity and mortality. It is widely recognized that poverty is correlated with negative health outcomes, including mortality, in both pediatric primary care and chronic illness. It is not known how poverty impacts pediatric oncology outcomes. Data elucidating the relationship between family poverty and childhood cancer outcomes have the potential to shift current clinical practice paradigms which rely exclusively on biological factors for risk stratification.

    Dr. Bona’s current research is utilizing data from a longitudinal prospective cohort study of newly diagnosed pediatric cancer patients to identify the natural history of poverty in pediatric cancer and develop a novel screening tool to identify pediatric cancer families at risk for material hardship—one concrete measure of poverty. She is concurrently utilizing the Pediatric Health Information System database to test the relationship between family income poverty and pediatric oncology patterns of care. This work will lay the foundation for a multi-center trial examining the impact of family material hardship on pediatric oncology outcomes. Her research is funded by grants from the National Palliative Care Research Center, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

    Select Publications

    • Neuner JM, Hamel MB, Phillips RS, Bona K, Aronson MD. Diagnosis and management of adults with pharyngitis. A cost-effectiveness analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2003;139(2):113-22.
    • Dussel V, Bona K, Heath JA, Hilden JM, Weeks JC, Wolfe J. Unmeasured costs of a child’s death: Perceived financial burden, work disruptions, and economic coping strategies used by American and Australian families who lost children to cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2011;(8):1007-13.
    • Bona K, Bates J, Wolfe J. Massachusetts' Pediatric Palliative Care Network: Successful implementation of a novel state-funded pediatric palliative care program. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2011;14(11):1217-23.
    • Bona K, Dussel V, Orellana L, Kang T, Geyer R, Feudtner C, Wolfe J. Economic Impact of Advanced Pediatric Cancer on Families. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, July 2013 epub ahead of print.
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