Sheri Robb, PhD, MT-BC

Sheri Robb, PhD, MT-BC

Science of Nursing Care
Research in Palliative and End-of-Life Communication and Training (RESPECT) Center
Director, Indiana CTSI KL2 Young Investigators Program
Coordinator, Nursing Undergraduate Honors Program

Contact Information

Phone: 317-274-3152
Nursing E433, Indianapolis


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Behavioral Oncology, Indiana University
PhD, The University of Kansas
MEd, Auburn University
BM, The Florida State University


Dr. Robb's program of research focuses on the development and testing of music therapy and music-based interventions to manage distress, improve positive health outcomes, and prevent secondary psychosocial morbidity in children/adolescents with cancer and their parents. Her Contextual Support Model of Music Therapy has guided development of two music therapy interventions that are being tested for children/adolescents with cancer. Dr. Robb is a board-certified music therapist with degrees in music therapy and early childhood special education. In 2009, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral oncology and cancer control at Indiana University and in 2011 a career development award through Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI); both programs are funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Robb collaborates on research that has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Nursing Research, National Cancer Institute, Children's Oncology Group, Indiana CTSI, and the IU RESPECT center. She is internationally recognized for her work in pediatric music therapy and has served as expert speaker for workshops hosted by the National Cancer Institute and National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health (2014), and National Endowment for the Arts (2015).  In 2017, the NIH and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts launched the Sound Health: Music and the Mind initiative, which is working to accelerate our understanding about the use of music for health benefit through interdisciplinary collaboration. As part of this initiative, Dr. Robb served as an invited plenary speaker for the NIH panel sessions, and curated the Kennedy Center session on music therapy.

In response to calls for more transparent and accurate reporting of behavioral interventions in published research, Dr. Robb led development and publication of Reporting Guidelines for Music-based Interventions intended to support Consolidated Standards for Reporting Trials (CONSORT) and Transparent Reporting of Evaluations with Non-randomized Designs (TREND) statements. The reporting guidelines are listed in the EQUATOR Network and have been adopted by several journals to improve music intervention reporting.

Dr. Robb recently completed her term of service as Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Music Therapy (2010-2018), and currently serves as, an advisory member of the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy editorial board, and an NIH reviewer.  Sheri is a Full Member of the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, Coordinator for the IU School of Nursing Undergraduate Honors Program, and Director for the Indiana CTSI KL2 Young Investigators Program.

For more information on music therapyplease visit the American Music Therapy Association website. For more information on the IU Research in Palliative and End-of-Life Communication and Training (RESPECT) Center please visit

To view events from the NIH-Kennedy Center Sound Health: Music and the Mind initiative, please visit  for Day 1 NIH Panel Sessions (Sheri’s plenary talk begins at minute mark 1:04), and for the Kennedy Center Sound Health session, “Breakthroughs with Music Therapy: Recovery, Resilience, & Quality of Life”

External Funding

R01 NR015789. (2016-Open). Mechanisms of Active Music Engagement to Improve Health Outcomes of Children with Cancer and Parents. PI.

Indiana University School of Nursing, Center for Enhancing Quality of Life in Chronic Illness. (2015-Open). Active Music Engagement for Young Children Undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant for Cancer and Parents. PI.

Indiana University School of Nursing, Center for Enhancing Quality of Life in Chronic Illness. (2015-2017).Testing the Family Management Efficacy (FAME) Intervention for African American Families of Adolescents with Disruptive Behavior Disorders. Co-I.

Children's Oncology Group. ANUR1131. (2011-2016). Palliative Cancer Care: Music video for AYA-parent communication and resilience. Co-Chair.

R01 CA162181. (2011-2016). Palliative Cancer Care: Music video for AYA-parent communication and resilience. MPI.

Research in Palliative and End-of-Life Communication and Training (RESPECT) Center. (2012-2014). Stories and music for parents and young children with cancer: A clinical feasibility study. PI.

Indiana CTSI. KL2RR025760. (2010-2012). Parent implemented active music engagement (AME) for young children with cancer: A clinical feasibility study.

Children's Oncology Group. ANUR1131. (2005-2011). Music video and adolescent resilience during transplant. Co-Chair.

R01 NR008583. (2005-2011). Music video and adolescent resilience during transplant. Co-investigator. Co-I.

Selected Publications

Robb, S.L., Hanson-Abromeit, D, May, L, Hernandez-Ruiz, E., Allison, M, Beloat, A, Daugherty, S, Kurtz, R, Ott, A, Oyedele, O, Polasik, S, Rager, A, Rifkin, J, Wolf, E (2018). Reporting Quality of Music Intervention Research in Healthcare: A Systematic Review. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 38, 24-41. Doi: 10.1016/j.ctim PMID:29857877 

Available at:  

Robb, S.L., Haase, J.E., Perkins, S.M., Haut, P.R., Henley, A.K., Knafl, K.A., Tong, Y. (2017). Pilot Randomized Trial of Active Music Engagement Intervention Parent Delivery for Young Children With Cancer. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 42(2), 208-219. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsw050 PMID: 27289068

Robb, SL, Burns, DS, Stegenga, KA, Haut, PR, Monahan, PO, Meza, J, Stump, TE, Cherven, BO, Docherty, SL, Hendricks-Ferguson, VL, Kintner, EK, Haight, AE, Wall, DA, Haase, JE (2014). Randomized Clinical Trial of Therapeutic Music Video Intervention for Resilience Outcomes in Adolescents/Young Adults Undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant: A Report from the Children's Oncology Group. Cancer, 120(6), 909-17. PMCID: PMC3947727

Robb, SL, Hanson-Abromeit, D. (2013). A Review of Supportive Care Interventions for Young Children with Cancer and Parents. Cancer Nursing, 37(4): E1-26. PMID: 24936752

Haase, JE, Kintner, E, Robb, SL, Burns, DS, Stump, TE, Monahan, PO, Stegenga, K (2016). The Resilience in Illness Model (RIM) Part 2: Confirmatory Evaluation in Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer. Cancer Nursing. On-line ahead of print. doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000450 PMID: 27984241

Haase, JE, Kintner, EK, Monahan, PO, Robb, SL (2013). The Resilience in Illness Model (RIM) Part 1:  Exploratory Evaluation in Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer. Cancer Nursing. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b13e31828941bb;PMCID: PMC3758400

Docherty, S, Robb, SL, Phillips-Salimi, CR, Cherven, B, Stegenga, K, Hendricks-Ferguson, V, Roll, L, Donovan-Stickler, M, Haase, JE (2012). Parental perspectives on a behavioral health music intervention for adolescent/young adult resilience during cancer treatment: Report from the Children’s Oncology Group. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(2), 170-178. PMCID: PMC 3552240

Robb, S.L., Burns, D.S., Docherty, S., Haase, J.E.. (2011). Ensuring treatment fidelity in a multi-site behavioral intervention study: Implementing NIH Behavior Change Consortium Recommendations in the SMART Trial. Psycho-Oncology,20(1), 1193-1201. PMCID: PMC3198011

Robb, S.L., Burns, D.S., Carpenter, J. (2011).  Reporting guidelines for music-based interventions. Journal of Health Psychology,16(2), 342-352. PMCID: PMC3141224.

Musick, B.S., Robb, S.L., Burns, D.S., Stegenga, K.S., Yan, M., McCorkle, K., Haase, J.E. (2010). The development and use of a web-based data management system for a randomized clinical trial of adolescents and young adults.CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 29(6), 337-343. PMCID: PMC3101295

Burns, D., Robb, S.L., Phillips-Salimi, C., Haase, J.  (2010). Parental perspectives of Adolescent/Young Adult Stem Cell Transplant and a Music Video Intervention. Cancer Nursing, 33(4), E20 – 27. PMID: 20467305

Burns, D., Robb, S.L., Haase, J.E. (2009). Exploring the feasibility of a therapeutic music video intervention in adolescents and young adults during stem cell transplant. Cancer Nursing, 32 (5), E8 – E16. PMID: 19661790

Robb, S.L. & Carpenter, J.S. (2009). A review of music-based intervention reporting in pediatrics. Journal of Health Psychology, 14, 490-501.

Robb, S.L., Clair, A.A., Watanabe, M., Monahan, P.O., Azzouz, F., Stouffer, J.W., Ebberts, A., Darsie, E., Whitmer, C., Walker, J., Nelson, K., Hanson-Abromeit, D., Lane, D., Hannan, A.  (2008). Non-randomized controlled trial of the active music engagement (AME) intervention on children with cancer.  Psycho-Oncology, 17, 699-708.