Bakitas Appointed as Marie L. O'Koren Endowed Chair

The UAB School of Nursing is pleased to welcome Marie A. Bakitas, DNSc, APRN, NP-C, AOCN, ACHPN, FAAN as the Marie L. O’Koren Endowed Chair and Professor at the UAB School of Nursing. Dr. Bakitas will also hold a secondary faculty appointment in the UAB School of Medicine. 


Dr. Bakitas received her ADN/RN and BSN from the University of Bridgeport, MS from Boston University, Post-Master’s certification as an adult nurse practitioner from the University of New Hampshire, and DNSc from Yale University.  She also completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Yale University from 2006-2008.  She is nationally certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner, Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse (ACHPN) and Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse (AOCN).  Most recently, she served as an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Section of Palliative Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and in The Dartmouth Institute of Health Policy and Clinical Practice.  While in her position at Geisel, she also served as a Visiting Scholar at Boston College School of Nursing and as a Clinical Professor at Yale University School of Nursing.

Dr. Bakitas is an eminent and internationally recognized scholar whose content expertise focuses on the principles/concepts of hematology/oncology, bone marrow/stem cell transplantation, pain and symptom management, palliative care, and novel qualitative and mixed methods research.  Through her sustained scholarship, she has focused on conducting innovative pain and symptom management and palliative care interventions to improve the quality of life and care for people with serious, life-limiting illness and their families through improved management of distressing physical symptoms.  Dr. Bakitas has participated in 27 funded research grants and served as the principal investigator on 12. Currently, she has R01 funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) for an in-progress palliative care randomized clinical intervention trial and has additional funding for two companion grants.  The goal of her current project is to determine the effectiveness of a phone-based palliative care intervention for rural cancer patients and caregivers.

Dr. Bakitas is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, recognizing her ground-breaking research.  She has received prestigious awards from the Oncology Nursing Society, the Council on the Advancement of Nursing Science, and The Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), among many others.  Dr. Bakitas has served on more than ten national committees and advisory boards including two Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) and National Cancer Policy Forums and as an ad hoc member of NIH study review panels.  She currently serves on the National Advisory Board for the Mary Margaret Walther Program in Palliative Care Research and Education and the American Cancer Society Doctoral Scholarship. She has disseminated her work through the publication of 47 original papers, 3 books, and 17 clinical guidelines and monographs.  One of her published textbooks received the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award.  Her expertise in publishing has resulted in her appointment as an editor or associate editor of the journals of Oncology Nursing Forum, Quality of Life: A Nursing Challenge and the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing.  She currently serves as a journal referee for Cancer, Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of Palliative Medicine, and the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

Dr. Bakitas is an exemplary teacher and mentor who demonstrates a sustained commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration in teaching didactic and clinical content.  In collaboration with physician, social work, and pastoral care colleagues, she teaches case-based didactics on principals of pain and symptom management, neuropathic pain, shared decision-making/advanced care planning and palliative care research methods.  She has mentored countless students in nursing, medicine and other health care disciplines in the clinical care of oncology and palliative patients.  She has published papers with many of these students, and she has worked with two of her mentees to develop successful proposals enabling them to receive National Palliative Research Center Junior Career Development Awards.  Dr. Bakitas has been an invited key note speaker at international conferences and has taught distance and live courses for Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and in the nursing programs at Colby-Sawyer College, St. Anselm’s College, and the University of New Hampshire.  She has also developed curriculum and taught at Boston College and Yale University School of Nursing in their graduate and doctoral programs.