After more than 40 years as an oncology educator, researcher, and nurse, ONS member Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN, has been named the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB’s) 2016 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. This is the highest honor given at the university, and Meneses is only the second nurse from UAB’s school of nursing to ever receive the honor.
“The Distinguished Faculty Lecture Award is a tremendous honor. It’s a very humbling experience to join the ranks among other recipients who have made research and clinical contributions to improve patient care outcomes and quality of life,” Meneses said. “Although I am named the recipient, I give all the credit our patients and families, my colleagues and students who I have had the honor to work with for many years. I think too, being recognized for our work in cancer survivorship is especially meaningful and heartfelt. I thank all of my wonderful colleagues and friends for their enduring support, insights, and friendship.”
Meneses, UAB professor and associate dean for research, has focused her research on cancer survivorship disparities and improving the quality of life for patients with cancer. She and her colleagues created the Breast Cancer Education Intervention (BCEi), a randomized clinical trial featuring nurse-led and patient-directed quality-of-life interventions. BCEi, which also provides psychological and support interventions for the transition from patient to survivor, became a nationally recognized model for survivorship education and support.
In 2015, the ONS Foundation Board of Trustees awarded Meneses the Mara Morgensen Flaherty Memorial Lectureship. She was invited to ONS’s 40th annual Congress in Orlando, FL, to present a lecture related to the psychosocial aspects of cancer treatment, diagnosis, care, and survivorship. Her lecture discussed the contributions that oncology nurses have made in addressing the needs of cancer survivors, the gaps that still exist, and the ways that nurses can continue to advance survivorship for their patients in the future. Meneses also served on the ONS Foundation board from 1999–2002 and continues to review research grant proposals.
As a nurse, educator, and scientist, Meneses’ contributions are a single illustration of the impact that nurses have on progressing care for patients with cancer.