38247-Vater, Laura

Laura B. Vater, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine

Indiana Cancer Pavilion
535 Barnhill Dr., Suite 473

Indianapolis, IN 46202-5289
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Dr. Laura B. Vater is a gastrointestinal oncologist at the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center. She cares for patients with colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, and bile duct cancer, among others.

A native Hoosier, Dr. Vater decided to pursue a career in oncology after a close family friend was diagnosed with metastatic colorectal cancer in her forties. Her goal as physician is to help patients feel supported and cared for as they navigate the challenges of a cancer diagnosis.

Dr. Vater earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Doctor of Medicine from Indiana University School of Medicine. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Oncology at Indiana University. 

In 2017, Dr. Vater developed a tool to help patients and clinicians prioritize their health (The SMILE ScaleTM). This tool is being used in clinics and classrooms across the world. She is also interested in narrative medicine as tool to enhance clinician empathy and help caregivers and clinicians cope with their work.

She was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society in 2018 and is a member of the IU School of Medicine Honor Roll. In 2022, she was awarded the American Medical Women’s Association Charlotte Edwards Maguire, MD Outstanding Resident Mentor Award.

When she is not caring for patients, Laura enjoys reading, writing, hiking, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and dog.

Key Publications

  1. Vater LB, Lefebvre B, Turk A, Clasen SC. Fluoropyrimidine Cardiotoxicity: Incidence, Outcomes, and Safety of Rechallenge. Curr Oncol Rep. 2022 Jul;24(7):943-950. doi: 10.1007/s11912-022-01256-6. Epub 2022 Mar 26. PMID: 35347593.
  2. Cripe LD, Vater LB, Lilly JA, Larimer A, Hoffmann ML, Frankel RM. Goals of care communication and higher-value care for patients with advanced-stage cancer: A systematic review of the evidence. Patient Educ Couns. 2021 Aug 27: S0738-3991(21)00560-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2021.08.016. PMID: 34489147.
  3. Vater LB, Donohue JM, Arnold R, White DB, Chu E, Schenker Y. What are cancer centers advertising to the public? A content analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2014;160(12): 813-20.
  4. Vater LB, Donohue JM, Park SY, Schenker Y. Trends in cancer center spending on advertising in the United States, 2005 to JAMA Internal Medicine. 2016;176(8): 1214-16.
  5. Lipitz-Snyderman A, Vater LB, Curry M, Li D, Rubin D, Radzyner M, Duck E, Bach P, Schenker Y. Cancer hospital advertising and outcomes: Trust the messenger? Lancet Oncology. 2019; 20(6):760-762.
  6. Vater LB, Rebesco G, Schenker Y, Torke A, Gramelspacher G. Palliative care content on cancer center Supportive Care in Cancer. 2018;26(3):1005-11.

Titles & Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
  • Education
    2017 MD Indiana University
    2013 MPH University of Pittsburgh
    2010 BS University of Notre Dame
  • Research
    Gastrointestinal cancers, narrative medicine, clinician well-being, health communication
  • Professional Organizations
    Gold Humanism Honor Society
  • Clinical Interests
    Gastrointestinal oncology 

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