News Release: School of Nursing , Winship Cancer Institute

Jun. 20,  2011

Leading Cancer Researcher Joins Emory University

News Article ImageDeborah Watkins Bruner, PhD, RN, FAAN

ATLANTA – Deborah Watkins Bruner, PhD, RN, FAAN, an internationally recognized authority on cancer care and quality of life, has been appointed to the faculty at Emory University. Bruner will hold a dual appointment as a professor of nursing at Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and as associate director of cancer outcomes at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. She will begin her duties in September 2011.  

Bruner comes to Emory from the University of Pennsylvania, where she has served as the Independence Professor in Nursing Education since 2006. She is best known for her pioneering leadership within the National Cancer Institute (NCI) supported Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG). She is the first and only nurse to lead one of NCI’s national clinical community oncology programs (CCOP) research bases and is RTOG’s Vice Chair for Outcomes.  Bruner is a member of the NCI Clinical Trials Advisory Committee (CTAC) which helps set the national cancer clinical trials research agenda and co-chairs NCI’s Symptoms Management Steering Committee.

“Dr. Bruner is one of the nation’s preeminent researchers in oncology nursing,” says Linda McCauley, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAAOHN, dean of Emory’s School of Nursing. “Emory University is fortunate to have this outstanding scholar working to continue our tradition of world-class research and to foster collaborations between the School of Nursing and the Winship Cancer Institute.”  

Bruner has devoted her research to improving outcomes for cancer patients. Her areas of focus are quality of life and symptom management across cancer sites, as well as decision-making preferences and utilities for cancer therapies. She also is internationally recognized for her research in sexuality after cancer therapy.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Bruner will be joining our team at Emory,” says Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, executive director of the Winship Cancer Institute and group chairman of the RTOG.  “Dr. Bruner is a true thought leader in the field of oncology.  Her work with RTOG has resulted in lasting improvements in our national clinical trials system.  Dr. Bruner’s appointment at Emory will greatly enhance Winship’s growing research collaborations with the School of Nursing.”  
Currently, Bruner is leading three National Institutes of Health studies and one NCI clinical trial. Her research has been published in a number of journals including the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics.  

Bruner received her bachelor’s degree in nursing in from West Chester University. She earned her master’s degrees in nursing oncology and administration from Widener University and a doctoral degree in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania.  She completed a research fellowship in cancer prevention and control at Fox Chase Cancer Center.     


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

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