photo cred Fabe Gin

Christabel K. Cheung, PhD, MSW, is a scholar, writer, and cancer gangster. Beginning Fall 2019, Dr. Cheung will take on a new role as tenure-track assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work in Baltimore, MD. She currently serves as an assistant professor at the University of Hawai’i, Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, where she is also chair of the Health Specialization and chair of the Behavioral Mental Health Specialization. Additionally, Dr. Cheung is an Associate Member of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Special Member of the Minority Underserved National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP),  Member of NCORP’s Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Working Group, and AYA Research Advocate for the NCI-funded SWOG Cancer Network aimed at designing and conducting multidisciplinary cancer clinical trials.

Dr. Cheung’s research interests are focused on cancer survivorship, adolescent and young adult (AYA) oncology, financial social work, military social work, disparities, and social determinants in health care delivery and access. In pursuit of these interests, she has led research projects as principal investigator and co-principal investigator, and contributed to numerous cancer care optimization, patient education, and advocacy initiatives aimed at improving health and behavioral health outcomes. She has particular interests in the financial toxicity of cancer in the age-defined AYA patient care population. Committed to academic mentorship, she trains emerging behavioral scientists through immersive learning experiences at

Dr. Cheung’s prior experience includes serving as lecturer/field consultant on the teaching faculty at the University of California Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare. As a social work practitioner, she last served as executive director of San Francisco Village, a nonprofit organization within the national village movement for aging in place. As a recognized patient advocate and two-time cancer survivor (Hodgkin’s lymphoma), Dr. Cheung builds community with other racial minority patients through public speaking, personal writing, and her cancer blog

She holds a Bachelor of Journalism from University of Missouri-Columbia, a Master of Social Welfare from University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in Social Welfare from University of California, Los Angeles.

Select Publications

  • Cheung, C.K. (2018). “Young cancer patients as future leaders in the global knowledge economy.” Cancer Therapy and Oncology International Journal. 10(4).
  • Cheung, C.K. & Zebrack, B.J. (2017). “What do adolescents and young adults want from cancer resources? Insights from a Delphi panel of AYA patients.” Journal of Supportive Care in Cancer. 25(1), 119-126.
  • Cheung, C. K. (2017). Occupied with cancer: Trajectories of employment/education and psychological distress among socioculturally diverse adolescent and young adult cancer patients (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from Proquest Dissertations Publishing. (Accession No. 10288120).
  • Cheung, C. K. & Zebrack, B.J. (In preparation). “Occupational trajectories and psychological distress among adolescent and young adult cancer patients.”
  • Cheung, C.K., Ponce, N., Dukakis, M.S. (In preparation). “The cost of universal health care in the context of the affordable care act: Lessons learned from the Hawaii model.”
  • Cheung, C.K. (In preparation). Jade Gangster: Chronically Illin’ with Cancer.