Dr. Deanna J. Attai is an Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles. After completing her undergraduate education at Vassar College, she graduated with honors from the Georgetown University School of Medicine, and then completed her General Surgery Residency at Georgetown University Hospital. Dr. Attai is a Past-President of the American Society of Breast Surgeons and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. She is certified by the American Society of Breast Surgeons for the performance of breast ultrasound.
Dr. Attai was an early adopter of social media for professional and patient education and has served as the social media editor for the Journal of Oncology Practice and the Annals of Surgical Oncolog, as well as a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Social Media Working Group. She is also a founding member and former co-chair of the Collaborative for Outcomes in Social Media in Oncology research group. She has been an invited speaker at national meetings hosted by the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Breast Surgeons, the American Medical Association, and the Association of Academic Surgeons discussing the use of social media for patient education and support, professional education and oncology research.
Her research focuses on the use of social media to facilitate patient partnerships to address various aspects of the patient experience. Recent publications have evaluated endocrine therapy for breast cancer treatment, the male breast cancer experience, patient preferences for survivorship care, and the experience of women who "go flat" after mastectomy.
Dr. Attai served as co-moderator for the weekly Breast Cancer Social Media (#BCSM) Twitter chats from 2011 - 2022. #BCSM was the first cancer patient community on Twitter, and has received national media attention with profiles in USA Today, CURE Magazine, Forbes Online, and Medscape. She is frequently sought out by local and national media for her thoughts on breast disease, diagnosis and treatment. Interviews and commentary have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Forbes Online, National Public Radio, CBS News, and Vogue Magazine.
A native of New York, Dr. Attai grew up in a medical family. Her free time is spent in her organic vegetable garden and with her two rescue kittens.
Medical Board Certification
Areas of Focus
- Social media in oncology
- Breast cancer decision making
- Shimkhada R, Attai D, Scheitler AJ, Babey S, Glenn B, Ponce N. Using a Twitter Chat to Rapidly Identify Barriers and Policy Solutions for Metastatic Breast Cancer Care: Qualitative Study. JMIR Public Health Surveill 2021;7(1):e23178. doi: 10.2196/23178.
- Baker JL, Attai DJ. Patients who Go Flat After Mastectomy Deserve an Aesthetic Flat Closure. Ann Surg Oncol. 2021. doi: 10.1245/s10434-020-09489-0.
- Baker JL, Dizon DS, Wenziger CM, Streja E, Thompson CK, Lee MK, DiNome ML, Attai DJ. "Going Flat" After Mastectomy: Patient-Reported Outcomes by Online Survey. Ann Surg Oncol. 2021. doi: 10.1245/s10434-020-09448-9.
- Berry LL, Attai DJ, Scammon DL, Awdish RLA. When the Aims and Ends of Healthcare Misalign. J Serv Res. 2020. doi:10.1177/1094670520975150.
- Attai DJ. Incorporating Clinical Trial Evidence into Clinical Practice. JCO Oncol Pract. 2020;16(11):740-741.
- Katz MS, Staley AC, Attai DJ. A History of #BCSM and Insights for Patient-Centered Online Interaction and Engagement. J Patient Cent Res Rev. 2020;7(4):304-312.
- Attai, DJ. Action Items for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. J Patient Cent Res Rev. 2020;7(4):291-294.
- Papautsky EL, Lustberg M, Krok-Schoen JL, Lee C, Park KU, Attai DJ, Patterson ES. A Human Factors Perspective to Characterize Treatment and Surgery During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care. 2020;9(1):1-5. doi:10.1177/2327857920091067.
In the News
- After mastectomy some women don't want to replace their breasts - Washington Post | June 2022
- More Breast Cancer Survivors Opting to 'Go Flat' After Mastectomy - U.S. News | January 2021
- How Breast Cancer Patients Really Feel About Endocrine Therapy - CancerTherapyAdvisor.com | September 2020
- Super Doctors® Southern California 2022, 2023
- Past-President, American Society of Breast Surgeons