Last updated: November 2020
Rebecca Palpant Shimkets is a two-time thyroid cancer survivor and the daughter of two cancer survivors. Fourteen of her immediate family members have experienced cancer. She was 29 years old at the time of her first diagnosis and experienced a recurrence just four years later. Rebecca has a 20-year career in mental health focusing initially on the assessment and treatment of mental illnesses. She is writing a book on mental health and post-treatment survivorship and you can learn more at www.survivingthebook.com. Rebecca also writes the bi-weekly Learning to Live Log at www.survivingthebook.com/blog.
The past decade and a half were spent overseeing a mental health journalism fellowship program for former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Today, Rebecca applies her expertise to reducing the stigma around seeking mental health care for cancer survivors and supporting research and policy to ensure evidence-based mental health services are available for survivors upon departure from treatment. Rebecca speaks publicly about her two-time cancer survivorship experiences and life with clinical depression and panic disorder after each illness. Married for the first time at age 40, Rebecca is building a life in northern Georgia with her husband and learning motherhood on the fly by raising two stepsons and being an aunt and great aunt to 26. Her husband is a geneticist and CEO of a biotechnology company that undertakes antibody discovery – some of which is applied to cancer treatment research.
Her writing is informed by her personal survivorship experience and mental health expertise. She is established as an expert on media depictions of mental illnesses and anti-stigma reduction and public awareness efforts around mental health. She was appointed to two National Academies committees on the topic and spearheaded a special theme issues of the American Journal of Public Health that focused on the latest research to support mental health anti-stigma reduction interventions. She has served on numerous boards, advisory groups, and committees on both mental health and cancer survivorship. Publications by Rebecca have appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the CDC’s Preventing Chronic Disease, Everyday Health, USA Today, Global Health Magazine, and Psychiatric Services.
Click here to read all of Rebecca's articles on Blood-Cancer.com.