Deborah Watkins Bruner, PhD will be inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International's Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame in Cape Town, South Africa in July. The International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame recognizes nurse researchers who have achieved significant and sustained national or international recognition and whose research has improved the nursing profession and the people it serves.
Bruner is an internationally renowned researcher, scholar, and mentor. She has been continuously funded in leading multi-disciplinary teams in patient-reported outcomes (PROs), sexual health, large national clinical trials focused on understanding and improving symptoms, as well as studies seeking to improve minority accrual to clinical trials. Her work has led to numerous honors and awards. Bruner has worked for over two decades with the National Cancer Clinical Trials Network (NCCTN). Bruner is the first and only nurse to lead, as Principal Investigator (PI), a National Cancer Institute (NCI) sponsored clinical trials cooperative group, the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) Research Base. The RTOG was a consortium of over 360 institutions in the U.S. and Canada focused on providing therapy-related symptom amelioration, quality of life (QoL) and comparative effectiveness trials to the cancer community. Bruner's pioneering leadership in the RTOG led to a paradigm shift from a historically medically dominated focus on survival and toxicity, to a patient-centered bio-behavioral focus that includes nurse-sensitive symptom and QoL outcomes. Three clinical trials cooperative groups, the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Prostate (NSABP), the RTOG, and the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) merged in March 2014 to form the NRG Oncology group. In addition to being PI of the NRG cancer control program, Bruner is the only female scientist and only nurse to serve on the Executive Committee guiding this historic merger.