For many, oncology isn’t just a profession. It’s a devotion and a passion. It becomes an encompassing enterprise through which one strives to make the lives of patients and nurses better. That’s ONS member Marylin J. Dodd, PhD, RN, FAAN. She’s been named a Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) for her groundbreaking work in self-care, along with her studies in symptom management. 

"I was very honored and humbled to receive this wonderful recognition for my work in the profession that I dearly love,” Dodd said. “To be so honored is beyond my wildest dreams." For more than 40 years, Dodd has worked in oncology through education, research, and clinical practice.

Dodd’s model of self-care interventions have been tested and extended to become the PRO-SELF Intervention Program, which provides self-care skills, support to patients and their families, and other relevant information. PRO-SELF is currently in its eight generation of clinical trials. Dodd has devoted much of her career and life to self-care topics and symptom management.

Moreover, Dodd has authored and published a number of books and articles, many related to symptom management and the care of patients with cancer. She’s well known for her book Managing the Side Effects of Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy. It’s considered a handbook for the layperson, breaking down complex issues related to chemotherapy side effects in understandable ways. 

In 1994, Dodd and her colleagues established the University of California San Francisco Center for Symptom Management. With a focus on advancing the education and implementation of symptom management, the Center helps improve patient outcomes by providing nurses and clinicians with the research and knowledge they need.

She is a retired professor emerita at the University of California San Francisco, having worked in the department of physiological nursing. Dodd is the recipient of the Episteme Award administrated by Sigma Theta Tau, along with the ONS/Schering Excellence in Research Award. Her contributions to the research community and her service to nursing have been recognized time and again.

AAN’s board of directors selects only a limited number of candidates each year to be considered for the Living Legends award. The requirements for the designation include being a fellow to the academy for at least 15 years and having demonstrated “extraordinary and sustained contributions to nursing and health care throughout their career.”