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Heather C. Kruse, PhD

Heather Kruse portrait
Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Professional Background

Dr. Heather Kruse is an Assistant Professor within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and a licensed psychologist in the states of Kansas and Missouri. Dr. Kruse attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City for her undergraduate and graduate work, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2006 (summa cum laude), a Master of Arts in Psychology in 2009, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (Health Psychology Emphasis) in 2013. She completed an APA accredited internship at the Center for Behavioral Medicine and Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Missouri, from 2012-2013. This training focused on serious and persistent mental illness, empirically supported treatments for trauma and PTSD, and forensic evaluation. She then completed a clinical psychology residency at the Center for Behavioral Medicine in 2014.

Dr. Kruse joined the faculty at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2015. She is located at the NCI-Designated Cancer Center, where she treats cancer patients and their family members or caregivers. She is especially passionate about patient advocacy, quality of life issues, and preventing caregiver burnout. When she is not performing clinical duties, she divides her time between supervising psychology trainees and teaching.

She is also a leader on the hospital-wide Suicide Prevention Task Force, and is involved in training providers within the ambulatory settings on how to screen for suicidal ideation and intervene in crisis situations. For this work, she received the 2017 Jan Peterson Recognition Award at the KU Cancer Center.

Dr. Kruse is a member of Psi Chi, the Kansas Psychological Association (KPA), the American Psychological Association (APA), and the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS).

Education and Training
  • AA, Associate in Arts, Maple Woods Community College
  • BA, Psychology, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
  • MA, Psychology, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
  • PhD, Clinical Psychology, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
  • Internship, Clinical Psychology, Center for Behavioral Medicine & Truman Medical Centers, Kansas City, MO
  • Residency, Clinical Psychology, Center for Behavioral Medicine, Kansas City, MO
Licensure, Accreditations & Certifications
  • Health Service Provider, Missouri Division of Professional Registration, State Committee of Psychologists
  • Licensed Psychologist, Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board
  • Licensed Psychologist, Missouri Division of Professional Registration, State Committee of Psychologists
Professional Affiliations
  • American Psychological Association, Society for Health Psychology, Member, 2020 - Present
  • American Psychological Association, Society of Clinical Psychology, Member, 2019 - Present
  • American Psychosocial Oncology Society, Program Review Committee, Member, 2016 - Present
  • American Psychosocial Oncology Society, Member, 2015 - Present
  • Greater Kansas City Psychological Association, GKCPA, Student Representative, 2011 - 2013
  • American Psychological Association, Member, 2007 - Present
  • Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology, Member, 2006 - Present



Dr. Heather Kruse has a research background in Health Psychology, and has collaborated on projects which examined perceived risk of cardiovascular disease, medication adherence, distress in cancer patients, and how to train healthcare providers to screen and intervene with suicidal patients.

She has co-authored presentations for local, national, and international scientific conferences including (but not limited to): The American Psychological Association, The Society for Behavioral Medicine, The American Psychosocial Oncology Society, and The European Society of Cardiology Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions.

She is also the co-author on three peer-reviewed scientific papers. She has served as a peer reviewer for the Journal of Health Psychology.

  • Hamilton, Jessica, Kruse, Heather, Holcomb, Lauren, Freche, Ronald. 2018. Distress and Psychosocial Needs Demographic predictors of clinical distress after a diagnosis of cancer. CLINICAL JOURNAL OF ONCOLOGY NURSING, 22 (4), 390-397
  • Garavalia, Linda, Ho, P.., Michael, Garavalia, Brian, Foody, JoAnne., M., Kruse, Heather, Spertus, John., A., Decker, Carole. 2011. Clinician-patient discord: Exploring differences in perspectives for discontinuing clopidogrel. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CARDIOVASCULAR NURSING, 10 (1), 50-55
  • Cho, Rachel, Kruse, Heather, Jacaway, Jessica, Pinkston, Megan, Garavalia, Linda. 2008. Health messaging: A content analysis of gender and ethnicity in heart health-related magazine advertisements. Journal of Psychological Inquiry, 12 (2), 11-17