Image Courtesy of Emory University

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM), formerly the Institute of Medicine, has elected ONS member Deborah W. Bruner, RN, PhD, FAAN, to its 2016 class of leading health scientists and international members. Bruner, professor in the department of radiation oncology at Emory University and associate director of faculty membership, training, and education at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, has long been recognized for her work in clinical trials and her research of sexuality after cancer therapy. 

Her election to the 2016 class of leading health scientists and international members constitutes one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Bruner is being recognized for her commitment to service in oncology and her years of outstanding professional achievement. Through her storied career as a cancer researcher, scholar, and mentor, Bruner has worked to progress the treatment and symptom management of patients with cancer. 

“I am greatly honored by the nomination and humbled to join the ranks of so many I admire and respect,” Bruner said. “The work of NAM has had a major influence on policy that has guided my work, and I look forward to learning from this esteemed group and contributing where possible.”

In 2015, Bruner was nominated by President Obama to serve on the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB). The NCAB is one of only two cancer committees to which appointees are selected by the president. Its goal is to advise the secretary of Health and Human Services, the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the president on issues facing the nation’s fight against cancer. 

Leading the Way for Nurse Scientists

Bruner is also the first and only nurse to lead a NCI sponsored clinical trials cooperative group. As principal investigator for the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP), Bruner and her colleagues focused on providing cutting-edge radiation treatment and radiation-related symptom management trials to patients in the CCOP community. The goal of the CCOP is to provide evidence-based interventions for patients and survivors undergoing treatment of radiation therapy.

Bruner’s work for the NCI and CCOP has spanned more than 20 years, focusing on four major radiation research themes, including protectants for mucositis and epithelial injury, neurocognition, palliation and quality of life, and late effects and survivorship. By leveraging the RTOG's resources, Bruner and her colleagues also aim to provide access to clinical and translational protocols to CCOP members.

As the fight against cancer moves in the future, Bruner will continue her work in symptom management and patient-centered care. Her election to NAM is a celebration of the tremendous work she’s accomplished as an oncology nurse and cancer researcher.