Deborah Watkins Bruner
Deborah Watkins Bruner, RN, PhD, FAAN

Building on a long career as a pioneer in oncology nursing research and cancer clinical trials, ONS member Deborah Watkins Bruner, RN, PhD, FAAN, has been named the senior vice president of research at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, a newly created position that serves on the Emory president’s leadership team. Effective October 1, 2018, Bruner’s leadership, expertise, and research experience will guide Emory’s interprofessional research efforts and promote education and training for future researchers, including nurse scientists.

“I am honored by the new appointment,” Bruner said. “This provides the commitment to innovation and creative inquiry that maintains and attracts the best and brightest faculty, post-doctoral candidates, and students.”

Long recognized for her contributions to oncology nursing research, Bruner’s areas of focus include sexuality after cancer therapy, patient-reported outcomes, and symptom management for patients receiving radiation therapy. As a key contributor to ONS projects and research initiatives, Bruner’s perspective and expertise have shaped the trajectory of oncology nursing both inside and outside of the Society and earned her ONS’s 2018 Rose Mary Carroll-Johnson Distinguished Award for Consistent Contribution to Nursing Literature at the 43rd Annual ONS Congress in Washington, DC.

“Deborah Watkins Bruner has been a crucial contributor to ONS’s ongoing support of oncology nursing research initiatives,” ONS Chief Executive Officer Brenda Nevidjon, RN, MSN, FAAN, said. “Time and again, she’s demonstrated her commitment to excellence in oncology nursing science and moving the needle for patient-centered cancer care. Her appointment as senior vice president for research at Emory is a truly singular achievement and speaks volumes to her impact on the larger research community.”

Spanning more than 25 years in her career, Bruner’s research achievements are vast. In 2015, she was appointed to President Obama’s National Cancer Advisory Board, offering guidance and an expert nursing perspective to the nation’s fight against cancer. Furthermore, she is the first and only nurse to lead a National Cancer Institute-sponsored clinical trials cooperative group as the principal investigator for the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group Community Clinical Oncology Program and the NRG Oncology–National Clinical Oncology Research Program. NRG is a consortium of over 1,800 sites and thousands of clinical and translational investigators.

Additionally, the National Academies of Medicine named Bruner to its 2016 Class of Leading Health Scientists, recognizing her commitment to service in oncology nursing research and years of professional achievement.

Bruner’s research has been continuously funded since 1998, receiving more than $180 million in funding from sponsors including the Department of Defense, National Institute of Nursing Research, and National Cancer Institute. Her research funding has led to her ranking among the top 5% of all National Institutes of Health-funded investigators worldwide since at least 2012, according to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research statistics.