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Headshot of Ashley Leak Bryant
UNC Lineberger’s Ashley Leak Bryant, PhD, RN, OCN, FAAN.

UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center has appointed Ashley Leak Bryant, PhD, RN, OCN, FAAN, as assistant director of Cancer Research Training Education Coordination (CRTEC). Bryant joins Bernard Weissman, PhD, and Jen Jen Yeh, MD, co-associate directors of CRTEC.

The goal of CRTEC is to develop the next generation of cancer researchers and professionals by supporting interdisciplinary education and training in the context of cancer care and research to encourage students and trainees to join the cancer care and research community and to develop the next generation of successful cancer researchers and professionals.

Bryant, an associate professor and the Anne Belcher Interprofessional Faculty Scholar at the UNC School of Nursing, is nationally recognized for her research expertise on caring for older adults, palliative and supportive care, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), interprofessional collaboration, and workforce development. She also has been actively engaged with building oncology nursing capacity and training with Lixin Song, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Jen Hotchkiss, MSN, RN, OCN, at UNC Project Malawi, a major site of UNC global oncology research.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Ashley Leak Bryant add her expertise in oncology care and research in this new role helping to build the cancer center’s mission to train the future generations of cancer researchers and care providers,” said UNC Lineberger Director Shelley Earp, MD. “She is a skilled oncology provider and educator who can speak to trainees at all levels with a wealth of clinical and research experience. Her work includes an understanding of and design of  interventions alleviating the cancer burden in underrepresented individuals.”

Bryant’s research focuses on improving symptoms, functional status, and quality of life for both older adults with hematologic cancers and their caregivers using interprofessional teams. Currently she is the principal investigator for a National Institute of Nursing Research-funded feasibility and acceptability study investigating multidisciplinary palliative and supportive care intervention led by nurses for newly diagnosed adults with AML.

Bryant is drawn to the work of CRTEC as a result of her longstanding commitment to cancer mentorship and interdisciplinary training. Together with Deborah K. Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN, Bryant co-founded the UNC Lineberger, Sylvia Lauterborn, and Warren Piver Oncology Nursing Fellowship. This fellowship training program provides an immersive introduction to oncology for undergraduate nursing students, and Bryant has served as its program coordinator for six years. Her track record of having participants in the Lauterborn/Piver program go on to nursing oncology positions is extraordinary. She mentors early-career faculty, pre- and post-doctoral scholars, PhD students, DNP students, masters students, and undergraduate honors students across multiple disciplines and institutions. Her early career development and workforce development research has been published in interdisciplinary journals.

Bryant has authored more than 65 peer-reviewed publications in leading journals such as Supportive Care in Cancer, Journal of Oncology Practice and Oncology Nursing Forum. She earned her doctoral degree in nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She completed a Cancer Care Quality Training Program post-doctoral fellowship at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is a native North Carolinian passionate about improving cancer outcomes in North Carolina.