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Barbara L. Summers, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Professor and Chair, Department of Nursing, Division of Ofc/VP, Chief Nursing Officer, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Dual/Joint/Adjunct Appointment

Professor, Integrative Nursing Care, Nursing, The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston, Houston, TX

Bio Statement

Barbara L. Young Summers, PhD, R.N., NEA-BC, FAAN

Barbara Summers is Professor and Chair of the Department of Nursing, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer and Head, Division of Nursing at the University of Texas, M D Anderson Cancer Center, one of the world’s leading cancer centers. Dr. Summers practice hallmark has been a persistent and unwavering focus on building nursing excellence. She has led the creation of new frameworks and models to develop nurse leaders, and build an organizational culture that promotes health care safety and professional nursing empowerment.

At MD Anderson, Dr. Summers has accountability for the nursing care outcomes of over 2,900 registered nurses. She leads and directs nursing practice across a spectrum of local and regional satellites and international partner institutions. She has contributed to the advancement of health care quality and safety knowledge and promoted accountable, patient-centered care through multiple innovations. These innovations include programs in nursing leadership development; building non-punitive, “Just Culture” practice environments; and highlighting the pivotal link between nursing practice and quality. She pioneered development of an institution-based end-to-end model for nursing workforce planning and development beginning with recruiting adolescents to a nursing career through a leadership succession plan that insures continuity of a culture of excellence. She has also led the organization through two successful cycles for Magnet excellence redesignation.

Dr. Summers received her Ph.D. in Nursing, Health Care Administration, from George Mason University where she also received her BSN and MSN. She held leadership positions in a variety of healthcare settings including the NIH Clinical Center, and INOVA Fairfax Hospital. Her honors and awards include selection as an American Academy of Nursing Fellow (2009), Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow (2002), a recipient of the NIH Director’s Award; the National Patient Safety Foundation Excellence in Management Award; the Oncology Nursing Society Linda Arenth Excellence in Cancer Nursing Management Award (2010) and the George Mason University Distinguished Alumna Award (2010).


Research Interests

 Interdisciplinary research focused in the areas of:

  • Control of treatment and disease-related symptoms
  • Patient engagement in decision-making and partnering in treatment
  • Nursing practice environments, workforce development and impact on clinical quality outcomes

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

1995 George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, PHD, Health Care Administration
1981 George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, MSN, Advanced Clinical Practice
1978 George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, BSN, Nursing

Last updated: 11/5/2014