By Hunter Carter
University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing alumna Jennifer Bail, PhD, RN, has received a Southern Nursing Research Society Early Science Investigator Award for her research on survivorship and quality of life among breast cancer survivors.
“It was so exciting just being nominated for this award let alone winning it,” said Bail. “Receiving this award is the culmination of my preparation and foundational work done while at the School of Nursing and UAB and the mentorship I received from the outstanding professors I had during my pre-and postdoctoral studies.”
The Early Science Investigator Award recognizes nurse scientists who have shown potential to develop a sustained program of research to enhance nursing science and practice in less than five years from the completion of their doctoral degree.
Bail, who earned her PhD in Nursing from the School in 2017, has focused on breast cancer survivorship and the cognitive changes that breast cancer survivors experience after cancer and treatment, raising awareness, connecting survivors to support, and testing the effect of brain training to help lessen cognitive changes among breast cancer survivors.
“What I learned most through my predoctoral work was that each breast cancer survivors goes through breast cancer differently and handles life after breast cancer differently,” said Bail. “We had breast cancer survivors who had an extremely hard time, mentally and physically, attending to brain training while, at the same time, other women did extremely well. Providing breast cancer survivors with support for healthy living strategies, such as physical activity, healthy eating habits, good sleep, and stress management, in addition to brain training may serve as a better approach in addressing cognitive changes among breast cancer survivors.”
After earning her PhD in Nursing, Bail accepted a postdoctoral fellowship on the National Cancer Institute-funded R01 Harvest for Health in Older Cancer Survivors trial at UAB and then was competitively selected for UAB’s Cancer Prevention and Control Training program.
Currently, Bail is an assistant professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville College of Nursing, where she teaches in their PhD program and mentors BSN to PhD students. She says that she hopes to make an impact on her students much like her mentors have impacted her life and career.
Bail credits the strong mentorship she received from notable UAB School of Nursing professors for the success she has received and has a strong desire to pay it forward to grow the next generation of nurse scientists“During my pre-and post-doctoral studies, I had the honor of receiving the excellent mentorship of [the late] Dr. Karen Meneses, Dr. Wendy Demark-Wahnefried and Dr. Marie Bakitas, who all pushed me to never settle and get the most out of my research,” said Bail.