Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD

Director, Integrative Medicine Program
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Associate Professor
University of Washington School of Medicine
Associate Professor, Cancer Prevention Program; Associate Professor, Clinical Research Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Clinical expertise
Integrative medicine
“I aim to help you make informed decisions about which integrative therapies to use, with the goal of supporting your mind, body and well-being.”
— Dr. Greenlee
Why do you feel passionate about blending integrative medicine with oncology?

Cancer has been up close and personal for me since I was a teenager, when my stepfather was diagnosed with a glioblastoma. His medical treatment was excellent, but much more could have been done to improve his quality of life and help my family navigate the process more smoothly. That experience, in part, was what inspired me to study both naturopathic medicine and epidemiology — I wanted to go beyond just treating disease to focusing on preventing cancer and promoting the health and well-being of patients and their families. What I love about my work is the opportunity to help patients with cancer make sound decisions about using integrative medicine while also conducting research into promising, new therapies.

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How do you help patients?

I have a broad understanding of how integrative therapies can be used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment to ease side effects and bolster overall health and well-being. These therapies include practices such as acupuncture and meditation, as well as lifestyle behaviors such as diet and physical activity. I help you make decisions so that you can invest your time and resources into evidence-based activities and practices. Together, we create a plan that evolves over time because what you need during active treatment isn’t necessarily what you need during survivorship. Every step of the way you can expect me to listen, guide you through your options and work in concert with you and your team of medical providers.

Provider background

Specialties and clinical expertise: Oncology

Integrative medicine

Trained as a naturopathic physician and an epidemiologist, I am the medical director of the Integrative Medicine Program at SCCA. I help patients with all cancer types work toward their health and wellness goals, during treatment and beyond.

Research is a vital part of my work. I’ve led multiple clinical trials studying topics like diet, physical activity, weight management, acupuncture and dietary supplements for cancer survivors. The goal of our research is to understand what cancer survivors can do, in addition to conventional treatment, to manage symptoms and side effects and improve prognosis. In 2017, I co-authored a study that showed acupuncture was effective at relieving joint pain caused by a popular class of breast cancer drugs known as aromatase inhibitors. Past president of the Society for Integrative Oncology, I also co-led the creation of the clinical guidelines for using integrative therapies with patients who have breast cancer. These guidelines were recently endorsed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Undergraduate Degree
University of Washington
Medical Degree
Bastyr University
Fellowship
Bastyr Center for Natural Health, Research; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Research; Columbia University, Cancer Prevention & Control
Board Certification
Naturopathic Physician, 2001
Other
PhD, Columbia University; Master of Public Health, University of Washington School of Medicine
Languages
English

Research

Clinical trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by SCCA doctors. Many of these trials at SCCA have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your doctor can decide if a study is right for you.

Study ID:
NCT04200482
Lifestyle Program (Scalable Nutrition and Physical Activity) for the Improvement of Nutrition and Physical Activity in Stage 0-III Breast Cancer Survivors
Complete title
Testing a Scalable Nutrition and Physical Activity Program for Breast Cancer Survivors: A Dose-Finding Pilot Study

Publications

Many of our SCCA physicians conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other physicians and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this SCCA provider has written.

Your care team

At SCCA, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a team coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.
Kathleen Sanders, ARNP, MSN, MPH
Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner
Integrative medicine
Registered nurse (RN)
Your nurse manages your care alongside your physician and assists with care procedures and treatments.
Team coordinator (TC)
Your team coordinator works closely with you and your physician and serves as your scheduler.

Insurance

SCCA accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.