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Dr. Catherine Bender Named PhD Program Director

Pittsburgh, January 16, 2013 - The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing announced that Catherine M. Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN, will assume the position of Director, PhD Program effective February 1st. Dr. Bender earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at the University of Akron and her Master of Nursing and Doctor of Philosophy degrees at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.

She has been on faculty at the School of Nursing, since 1986 teaching at all levels. She was awarded tenure in 2006 and named a full professor in 2011. In 2012, Bender was named #8 in“75 Nursing Professors You Would Be Lucky to Have Teach Your Classes” by CNA Thrive.

Dr. Bender has published numerous articles and held leadership positions in a number of national professional and scientific societies, including the American Cancer Society and the Oncology Nursing Society. Her research focuses on cognitive function associated with cancer and cancer therapy and adherence to cancer therapy. She has been continuously funded since 1993 from sources that include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Cancer Society, Department of Defense, Oncology Nursing Society Foundation, and Schering, Inc. Dr. Bender’s funded research includes two RO1 research project grants and a T32 training grant from the NIH.

Her research contributions to improve health care have multiplied through her mentorship of graduate nursing scholars. Dr. Bender has chaired 20 Master’s thesis committees and been a member on 26 more. In addition, she has chaired four PhD dissertation committees and been a member of seven more. She has also served on the Capstone Project Committees of several Doctor of Nursing Practice candidates, and mentored a number of other post-doctoral Fellows and Junior Faculty.

Dr. Bender will continue to pursue her research in oncology nursing and to direct the school’s T32 in oncology. The goal of this National Institute of Nursing Research-funded training program (T32 NR011972) is to prepare nurse scientists to lead independent research programs in cancer survivorship.

Judith A. Erlen, (BSN’66) MSN, PhD, who held the position of director, PhD Program since 1999, is stepping down to focus more time on her research. Dr. Erlen has been a member of the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh since 1983 and was awarded tenure in 1999. She currently serves as professor and chair of the Department of Health and Community Systems with secondary appointments in the Center for Bioethics and Health Law at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Dr. Erlen also serves as director of the School’s T32 in technology, “Technology: Research in Critical and Chronic Illness” (T32 NR008857).