Dr. Shannon La Cava is director of the Simms Mann UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology. (Photo by Joshua Sudock/UCLA Health)

Shannon La Cava, PsyD

Director, Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology

Shannon La Cava, PsyD, comes to UCLA Health from the Cancer Support Community of Los Angeles where she has served as Chief Clinical Officer and Clinical Program Director.  Shannon has also participated in a variety of organizations including, but not limited to: the American Psychological Association where she has served as the Committee Chair on Health Equity, she has also acted as a Health Expert Consultant for the Entertainment Industry, and a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Center for Autism and Related Disorders.

In addition to her appreciation for the Los Angeles area, Shannon brings a wealth of experience in program development, organizing multidisciplinary and representative teams, execution of electronic platforms (EHR and website development), and a desire to ensure that the “secret sauce” that is Simms Mann care is supported and enhanced.

As a clinician, researcher, public speaker, and thought leader, Dr. Shannon La Cava specializes in delivering and studying supportive services for children, adolescents, adults, and families experiencing a cancer diagnosis or caring for a loved one with cancer. Trained in diagnostic evaluation, neuropsychological assessment, and evidence-based therapeutic intervention, Dr. La Cava believes in a family systems approach to quality care.
With over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry, Dr. La Cava incorporates clinical experience with theoretical understanding to offer support, relief, and change to her clients. In her early research efforts, Dr. La Cava received a Passed with Distinction honor for her Dissertation, “A Phenomenological Study of the Family, Social, and Intrapersonal Experiences of School-Aged Siblings of Pediatric Cancer Patients.” Her continued research interests focus on multi-disciplinary engagement to support the psychosocial needs of pediatric, young adult, and adult patients and caregivers. She has engaged as a Co-Investigator in research collaborations with the American Institute for Cancer Research, Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, Providence Saint John’s Health Center, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, California State University Long Beach, and UCLA.

Most recently, Dr. La Cava was the Chief Clinical Officer and Director of Programs & Research at Cancer Support Community Los Angeles. Her primary responsibilities included supervising a clinical team of 20+ licensed clinicians, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows across the disciplines of clinical psychology, social work, chaplaincy, and marriage and family therapy; stewarding hospital and community-based organization relationships and partnerships; cultivating a Professional Advisory Board to inform patient and caregiver support programs and resources; and championing a Diversity & Inclusivity Committee to ensure access to care for all. In addition to her local responsibilities, Dr. La Cava led a SoCal initiative to offer partnered services across four Cancer Support Community (CSC) affiliates located throughout Southern California and was elected by her peers to serve a four-year term as Program Representative to the CSC Headquarters’ Board of Directors and Network Council. Additionally, Dr. La Cava received the 2020 Telehealth Award from Cancer Support Community for paving the way for the international network’s telehealth services and resources.

Motivated by her goals of professional development and interest in population health and community outreach, Dr. La Cava engages in various professional associations and community advisory boards. She is an active member of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) and American Psychological Association (APA). After joining the APA Inaugural Health Equity Committee for a three-year term in 2021, she was elected Committee Chair in 2022. Additionally, she collaborates on various Community Advisory Boards across Los Angeles.

Dr. La Cava’s clinical work is informed by her participation in competitive training opportunities in clinical intervention and innovation. Trainings included Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy (MCP) at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; the National Institute of Health (NIH)-funded QuickStart Training Program on Community-Based Participatory Research through the California Breast Cancer Research Program; Training Cancer Care Providers to Implement Sensitive Practice Guidelines When Treating Adult Survivors of Sexual Violence through Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and Emotionally-Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT) with Dr. Susan Johnson and Dr. Leanne Campbell.

Dr. La Cava’s speaking engagements include professional symposiums at the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) and Association of Oncology Social Workers (AOSW) annual conferences and invited presentations at Dr. Susan Love Foundation Army of Women 10th Anniversary Celebration, Susan G. Komen LA to NYC Virtual Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference, Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Virtual Townhall, Riverside Community Health Foundation SoCal Women’s Cancer Conference, Aim at Melanoma symposium, and Cancer Support Community Los Angeles Health Equity Summits. Additionally, Dr. La Cava’s work has been highlighted in publications by Web MD, Medscape, and Cancer Wellness Magazine.

Dr. La Cava obtained her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She earned her Master’s Degree in Psychology from Pepperdine University and her Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Arizona State University.