Memorial Sloan Kettering child psychologist Stephen Sands

Stephen A. Sands, PsyD

Neuropsychologist & Pediatric Psychologist

My Role at MSK

Areas of Expertise

My Specialties

  • Neuropsychological, Educational, Social-Emotional, Quality of Life, and Behavioral Assessments for Pediatric Oncology, Hematology, and Stem Cell Transplant Patients
  • Accommodations, Services, and Cognitive Interventions to Maximize Transition to Survivorship

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About Me

What I Do at MSK
  • Director, Pediatric Neuropsychology
Get To Know Me

I am a neuropsychologist and child psychologist on the MSK Kids team. I help children, teens, and young adults with cancer, as well as their caregivers. For example, I work with young patients during and after treatment to help them express their thoughts and feelings, communicate more openly with their family and friends, and develop plans for their life after treatment. I also support parents as they grapple with the many transitions and range of emotions related to their child’s diagnosis and treatment.

When patients come to see me after finishing cancer treatment, they are often concerned about going back to school or work. First, I listen to all their concerns and answer any questions. Next, we identify their cognitive (thinking), academic, social and emotional, and behavioral strengths. These tools can help ease their transition. We also discuss difficult areas and find ways to address them. I actively involve patients, parents, and teachers to smooth the transition to life after cancer and to increase areas of academic and personal strength.

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In my research, I am trying to identify children, teens, and young adults who are at an increased risk of reduced neuropsychological functioning due to their medical diagnosis and treatment. We are developing studies to learn which steps can reduce or avoid these problems.

I collaborate closely with many Memorial Sloan Kettering doctors to study and document the late effects of treatments for a wide range of diagnoses. These include pediatric brain tumors, leukemia, neuroblastoma, sarcoma, and others. Specifically, I study the potential impact of proton beam cranial irradiation. This form of radiation therapy to the head and other novel treatments are designed to cure cancer while reducing the risk of side effects later in life. My colleagues in MSK’s survivorship programs and I use this information to improve outcomes for our patients.

It is my goal for children, teens, young adults, and families affected by cancer to have a clear understanding of the possible effects of medical treatments. I also help them learn about their individual strengths and the challenges that often come up. I am honored to provide support, guidance, and empathy for young patients and their families. I am continually inspired by their resilience, strength, courage, and adaptability. 

My Role at MSK

A neuropsychologist is a doctor with special training in evaluating how brain conditions affect behavior and cognition (mental processes).

A pediatric psychologist is a doctor with special training in mental and behavioral health therapies for children and adolescents.

Areas of Expertise

My Specialties

  • Neuropsychological, Educational, Social-Emotional, Quality of Life, and Behavioral Assessments for Pediatric Oncology, Hematology, and Stem Cell Transplant Patients
  • Accommodations, Services, and Cognitive Interventions to Maximize Transition to Survivorship
Education & Honors

Education

  • PsyD, New York University

Residencies

  • St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Medical Center

Awards and Honors

  • Best Clinical Research, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Research Symposium, Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (2004)
  • Pediatric Oncology Service Award, the Valerie Fund (2014)
  • Excellence in Quality of Care Award, Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation (2016)

Fellowships

  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Insurance Information

Understanding your insurance options is an important part of managing your cancer care. We have relationships with many common healthcare providers and plans.

Aetna

In Network Coverage Type
HMO, EPO PPO, POS, Transplant

Aetna Medicare Advantage (MTA retirees only)

In Network Coverage Type
PPO

Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal Employee Program

In Network Coverage Type
HMO, PPO

Blue Cross Blue Shield New York

In Network Coverage Type
PPO, POS, EPO, HMO

Blue Cross Blue Shield states outside of NY/NJ

In Network Coverage Type
HMO, EPO PPO, POS

Blue Cross Health Plus

In Network Coverage Type
HMO

Carrum Health

In Network Coverage Type
Supplemental

Cigna

In Network Coverage Type
PPO, POS, HMO

MSK has a tentative agreement with Cigna to continue coverage in 2024.

Connecticare

In Network Coverage Type
POS, EPO, HMO

Emblem

In Network Coverage Type
PPO, POS, EPO, HMO

Emblem Essential

In Network Coverage Type
HMO

Emblem Medicare Advantage

In Network Coverage Type
PPO, HMO

Empire Blue Cross Medicare Advantage

In Network Coverage Type
PPO, HMO, DSN

Empire Essential

In Network Coverage Type
HMO

Empire Plan / NYSHIP (Blue Cross/UnitedHealthcare split plan)

In Network Coverage Type
PPO

Fidelis

In Network Coverage Type
HMO, EPO

Fidelis Managed Medicaid & HARP

In Network Coverage Type
HMO

Fidelis Medicare Advantage

In Network Coverage Type
HMO

First Health

In Network Coverage Type
PPO

Healthfirst

In Network Coverage Type
EPO, HMO, PPO, POS

Healthfirst Managed Medicaid

In Network Coverage Type
HMO

Healthfirst Medicare Advantage

In Network Coverage Type
HMO, PPO

Healthsmart

In Network Coverage Type
PPO EPO

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield New Jersey (HMO)

In Network Coverage Type
HMO

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield New Jersey (PPO)

In Network Coverage Type
PPO

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield New Jersey Omnia Tier I (EPO)

In Network Coverage Type
EPO

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield New Jersey Omnia Tier II (EPO)

In Network Coverage Type
EPO

Horizon Medicare Advantage

In Network Coverage Type
PPO, HMO

Husky CT Medicaid

In Network Coverage Type
State Government

Magnacare

In Network Coverage Type
PPO, POS, EPO

Straight NJ Medicaid

In Network Coverage Type
State Government

Straight NY Medicaid

In Network Coverage Type
State Government

Medicare Part A&B (traditional Medicare)

In Network Coverage Type
Federal Government

Multiplan/Beech Street/PHCS

In Network Coverage Type
Supplemental

MVP

In Network Coverage Type
PPO/OAP

Non-Participating Plans with Out of Network Benefits

In Network Coverage Type
PPO, POS, EPO, HMO

NYC Medicare Advantage Plus for City Employees

In Network Coverage Type
TBD

Oscar

In Network Coverage Type
HMO/EPO

Oxford

In Network Coverage Type
PPO, EPO

World Trade Center Health Program (WTC)

In Network Coverage Type
State Government

Qualcare

In Network Coverage Type
PPO, POS, HMO

Tricare

In Network Coverage Type
PPO, HMO

UMR

In Network Coverage Type
PPO, POS

United Healthcare

In Network Coverage Type
PPO, POS, HMO

Don't see your carrier or plan? We can help you understand your coverage.

If you don't have health insurance or are worried that your care may not be fully covered, our financial assistance programs may be able to help.

If you have questions about insurance, call us at 646-497-9176.

Make an Appointment

Current Patients

Request an appointment by logging on to MyMSK or calling your doctor’s office. If you aren’t registered for MyMSK, call 646-227-2593 for your Enrollment ID.

Contact and Location

Dr. Sands sees patients at two locations.

Office Phone
Location
New York, NY
160 East 53rd Street New York NY 10022
1275 York Avenue New York NY 10065

Looking to see a doctor at a different location? See all MSK locations.

Colleagues

Doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering work as teams, with specialists from all different areas. This allows us to consider all your needs together, and to give you the best possible care.

See all Pediatrics doctors

See all Psychiatry Service doctors

Clinical Trials

Smiling doctors in the lab
Find a Clinical Trial for You

Memorial Sloan Kettering's doctors and scientists are constantly developing new treatments for cancer. MSK is typically running hundreds of clinical trials at a given time.

You may be able to participate in a clinical trial even if you are new to MSK. Search our online directory to find trial information and see more about who can participate.

Search clinical trials

Research and Publications

Sands SA. Helping Survivors of Medulloblastoma Learn From What We Learn. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2013 Oct 1;31(28):3480-2.

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Oberg, JA, Dave AN, Bruce JN and Sands SA. Neurocognitive functioning and quality of life in patients with recurrent malignant gliomas treated on a phase Ib trial evaluating topotecan by convection-enhanced delivery. Neuro-Oncology Practice 2014 Sep;1(3):94-100. 

Bhatia M, Kolva E, Cimini L, Jin Z, Satwani P, Savone M, George D, Garvin J, Paz ML, Briamonte C, Cruz-Arrieta E, and Sands SA. Health-Related Quality of Life after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Sickle Cell Disease. Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation 2015 Apr;21(4):666-672.

Olson K and Sands SA. Cognitive training programs for childhood cancer patients and survivors: A critical review and future directions. Child Neuropsychology 2016;22(5):509-36. 

Sands SA. Proton Beam Radiation Therapy: The Future May Prove Brighter for Pediatric Brain Tumor Patients. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2016 Apr;34(10):1024-1026.  

Sands SA, Mee L, Bartell A, Manne S, Devine KA, Savone M and Kashy DA.  Group-Based Trajectory Modeling of Distress and Well-Being Among Caregivers of Children Undergoing Hematopoetic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT). Journal of Pediatric Psychology 2016 Aug. 

Sands SA, Harel BT, Savone M, Kelly K, Vijayanathan V, Welch JG, Vrooman LM, Silverman LB and Cole P. Feasibility of Baseline Neurocognitive Assessment using Cogstate During the First Month of Therapy for Childhood Leukemia. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2016 Oct. 

Sands SA, Ladas EJ, Kelly KM, Dave A, Weiner M, Lin M, Hughes Ndao D, Vahdat LT and Glade-Bender J. Glutamine for the Treatment of Vincristine-Induced Neuropathy in Children and Adolescents with Cancer. Supportive Care in Cancer 2017.

Publications on PubMed

Visit PubMed for a full listing of Dr. Sands’s journal articles. Pubmed is an online index of research papers and other articles from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

See all on PubMed

Disclosures

Doctors and faculty members often work with pharmaceutical, device, biotechnology, and life sciences companies, and other organizations outside of MSK, to find safe and effective cancer treatments, to improve patient care, and to educate the health care community.

MSK requires doctors and faculty members to report (“disclose”) the relationships and financial interests they have with external entities. As a commitment to transparency with our community, we make that information available to the public.

Stephen A. Sands discloses the following relationships and financial interests:

No disclosures meeting criteria for time period


If you’re a patient at MSK and would like more information about your doctor’s external relationships, please talk with your doctor.

The information published here is for a specific annual disclosure period. There may be differences between information on this and other public sites as a result of different reporting periods and/or the various ways relationships and financial interests are categorized by organizations that publish such data.


This page and data include information for a specific MSK annual disclosure period (January 1, 2022 through disclosure submission in spring 2023). This data reflects interests that may or may not still exist. This data is updated annually.

Learn more about MSK’s COI policies here. For questions regarding MSK’s COI-related policies and procedures, email MSK’s Compliance Office at [email protected].


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