Mary E. Cooley, PhD, RN, FAAN, has been appointed as the Oncology Nursing Society’s (ONS’s) first Scholar-in Residence (SIR) beginning February 1, 2018. Dr. Cooley brings to this new role more than 30 years of experience in oncology nursing. She is a Nurse Scientist in Nursing and Patient Care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) and an Associate Professor in nursing at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
The SIR role will work with Lisa Kennedy Sheldon, PhD, APRN-BC, AOCNP, FAAN, ONS’s Chief Clinical Officer, to create a strategic vision to ensure that ONS’s research resources and processes are developed to meet the needs of people with cancer and the growing need for nurse researchers in cancer care. Dr. Cooley will also collaborate with national organizations to address emerging oncology research needs at the national level.

“In creating this new role, we wanted someone who would continue to elevate ONS’s leadership in research and facilitate the development of nurse scientists in oncology care,” Kennedy Sheldon said. “Mary’s research expertise will be vital as ONS continues to meet not only today’s research priorities but to envision and prepare nurse researchers to meet the future needs of patients needing cancer care.”

Dr. Cooley completed her pre- and post-doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her initial research arose out of her experience as an advanced practice nurse and focused on understanding the patterns of symptom distress after treatment for lung cancer. Since that time, her program of research has evolved and focuses on improving cancer symptom management through clinical decision support and enhancing healthy behaviors through multiple risk reduction interventions, including smoking cessation, increasing physical activity and healthy diet. She has had continuous funding for her research for the past two decades through various sources including the American Cancer Society, Lung Cancer Foundation, National Cancer Institute, and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. She has served as a member of scientific review committees for the National Cancer Institute, National Institute for Nursing Research and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. She was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2012 in recognition of her contributions to advance nursing science and was most recently selected as a Mixed Methods Research Scholar, funded through the National Office for Behavioral and Social Science Research, to fulfill the national need for researchers with expertise in mixed methods.

“I am honored to have been selected as the Scholar-in-Residence for ONS,” Cooley said. “It’s a privilege to be part of an organization that plays such a critical role in the transformation of cancer care. I look forward to partnering with ONS members and staff, as well as experts throughout the country to guide the ONS Research Agenda and ultimately help shape the future of cancer care.”

ONS is a professional association of more than 40,000 members committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and the transformation of cancer care. Since 1975, ONS has provided a professional community for oncology nurses, developed evidence-based education programs and treatment information, and advocated for patient care, all in an effort to improve quality of life and outcomes for patients with cancer and their families. Learn more at