Assistant Professor  |  Adjunct Lecturer

Yvonne Leung

Consultation/Liaison Psychiatry - Psychosocial Oncology; Psychosocial Intervention; Artificial Intelligence


De Souza Institute
700 Bay Street, Suite 1903, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 1Z6
Appointment Status

Professional Memberships

  • Member, Canadian Psychosocial Oncology Association; Member, Applied Research in Cancer Control Network

Dr. Yvonne Leung is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and a Research Scientist at the University Health Network-de Souza Institute, a national knowledge transfer centre for healthcare professionals in oncology or palliative care, where she conducts her scholarly work in the fields of psychosocial oncology and oncology education. Dr. Leung’s current studies involve evaluation of standardized educational programs or quality improvement initiative designed to improve health care provider’s skill and knowledge to support patient outcomes. She also conducts studies of online psychosocial interventions for cancer patients and their family members to improve quality of life and psychological functioning.

Dr. Leung received her PhD from the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences at York University, specializing in Health Psychology. She completed two post-doctoral fellowships funded by Canadian Institute of Health Research and Ontario Cancer Institute at the Department of Supportive Care, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre where she conducted research on suicidality in cancer patients and examined the effects of Expressive Writing on psychological adjustment of family caregivers. Dr. Leung has expertise in quality improvement in oncology care, conducting analyses of province-wide patient experience surveys and created composite quality improvement indicators for the Patient Experience and Person-Centred Care Program at Cancer Care Ontario (CCO).

Dr. Leung’s is currently leading a project to develop an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based system to support safety and patient outcomes for a national online cancer support group service. The system, based on Deep Learning and Natural Language Processing algorithms, will be designed to act as a “co-group facilitator” to assist therapists during the sessions to keep track of group participants’ progress while gaining insights into treatment processes. The AI system will be used to conduct sentiment analysis using group discussion text, and generate analytics including the context of the posts and emotion trajectory. These information will be used to train new online therapists and to facilitate client-treatment matching in supporting a stepped-care model. This project will transform the way psychosocial intervention is delivered and evaluated, while enhancing safety and uptake of online supportive services, which especially supports those living in non-urban settings, and other access barriers.


Research Synopsis


Improving access to healthcare via online psychosocial service delivery

The use of technology in strengthening the quality of psychosocial interventions

Quality improvement in continued education for healthcare professionals in psychosocial oncology


Recent Publications


1. Li M, Sanders C, Lee CH, Macedo A, Molloy S, Laframboise S., Leung Y.W. Symptom Screening for Constipation in Oncology: Getting to the Bottom of the Matter. Supportive Care in Cancer. (In press).

2. Esplen MJ, Hunter J, Wong J, Leszcz M, Leung YW, Toner B, Messner S, Stuckless N, Bulter C. A randomized controlled trial of a Supportive Expressive Group intervention for Women with a Family History of breast Cancer. Psycho-Oncology (In press).

3. Doherty M, Leung Y, Su J, Naik H, Patel D, Eng L, Kong QQ, Mohsin F, Brown MC, Espin-Garcia O, Vennettilli A, Renouf D, Faluyi O, Knox J, Mackay H, Wong R, Cella D, Darling G, Howell D, Mittmann N, Liu G. Health Utility scores from EQ-5D and health-related quality of life in patients with esophageal cancer: a real-world cross-sectional study. Diseases of the Esophagus (e-pub ahead of print).

4. Hay AE, Leung YW, Pater JL, Brown CM, Bell E, Howell D, Kassam Z, Willing S, Tian C, Lui G. (2017). Linkage of clinical trial and administrative data: a survey of cancer patients’ preferences. Current Oncology, 24, 161-167.

5. Labbé C., Leung Y.W., Silva Lemes J.G., Stewart E., Brown C., Perez Cosio A., Doherty M., O’Kane G., Patel D., Cheng N., Liang M., Gill G., Rett A., Naik H., Eng L., Mittmann N., Leighl N.B., Bradbury P.A., Shepherd F.A., Xu W., Liu G., Howell D. (2016). Real-World EQ5D Health Utility Scores for Metastatic Lung Cancer Patients by Molecular Alteration and Response to Therapy. Clinical Lung Cancer,18, 388-95.

6. Leung Y.W., Brown C., Perez Cosio A., Dobriyal A., Malik N., Pat V., Irwin M., Tomasini P., Liu G., Howell D. (2016). Feasibility and Diagnostic Accuracy of the Patient Reported Outcome Information System (PROMIS) Item Banks for Routine Surveillance of Sleep and Fatigue Problems in Ambulatory Cancer Care. Cancer, 122, 2906-17.

7. Li M, Macedo A, Crawford S, Bagha S, Leung YW, Zimmermann C, Fitzgerald B, Wyatt M, Stuart-McEwan T, Rodin G.. Easier Said Than Done: Implementing Screening for Distress in a Comprehensive Cancer Center. (2016). Journal of Oncology Practice,12, e513-26.



Research Scientist, de Souza Institute, University Health Network



Honours and Awards



2014 University of Toronto-Department of Psychiatry, Fred Lowy Award in Psychosomatic Medicine, Resident or Fellow: Greatest Contribution to Research in Psychosomatic Medicine by a Resident or Fellow

2013-2014 Ontario Cancer Institute Knudson Post-Doctoral Fellowship

2011-2013 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Post-doctoral Fellowship

2009-2012 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships-Doctoral Award




2018-2019: Co-Investigator. Re-storing Sensual And Sexual Self (ReSASS): An Online Support Group for Cancer. Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) Community Investment Program, $75,000. PI: Esplen, M.J.; Co-Inv: Wong J, Leung Y.W., Gancarz M.

2016-2019: Co-investigator. Implementation of Distress Assessment and Response Tool (DART) screening program in Kuwait Cancer Control Center (KCCC). Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences. $426,000. PI: Awadhi MA. Co-Inv: Karim, HA, Hamadah A, Alkhadari S, Leung Y, Li M, & Rodin G.

2014-2015: Principal Investigator. Cancer Caregiving and Living Meaningfully through Expressive Writing and Reading (CALMER). University of Guelph-Humber Research Fund: $11,276. PI: Leung Y.W., Co-PI: Rodin G., Co-Inv: Peterkin A., Uy P.

2012-2013: Principal Investigator. Adjustment to Advanced Cancer of Loved Ones. University Health Network Department of Psychiatry Research Competition: $15,000. PI: Leung Y.W., Co-PI: Rodin G.