Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN

Adult Health, Oncology


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School of Nursing
Carrington Hall, CB #7460
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460

Office: 4105 | Online:

Deborah K. Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN is an advanced practice oncology nurse who has 40 years of cancer nursing practice, education, research, and management experience. Dr. Mayer earned a PhD from the University of Utah, her MSN from Yale University, her BSN from Excelsior College, her Nurse Practitioner Certificate from the University of Maryland, and her diploma from Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing.

Dr. Mayer is past president of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), was a member of the National Cancer Institute’s National Cancer Advisory Board (a Presidential appointment) and Board of Scientific Advisors. Dr. Mayer was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She is active in ONS and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and is the Past Chair of the ASCO Survivorship Committee. She served as the Editor for the ONS’ Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing (CJON) from 2007-2015 and has published over 150 articles, book chapters and editorials on cancer related issues. She was awarded the ONS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and, in 2016, was appointed as the only nurse to Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel.

Her program of research focuses on the issues facing cancer survivors and on improving cancer care. She has a clinical practice working with breast cancer survivors.

Date Honor
2016 Triangle Business Journal Healthcare Hero
2015 ONS Lifetime Achievement Award
2013 Awards for Publication Excellence for Editorial and Advocacy Writing
2013 Yale Extraordinary Nurse Alumni
2006 University of Utah Outstanding Doctoral Student Award
1998 Debbra Flomenhoft Humanitarian Award, Oncology Section, American Physical Therapy Association
1998 ONS Excellence in Nursing Informatics Award
1993 Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing
1992 ONS Distinguished Service Award

Mayer DK, Landucci G, Awoyinka L, Atwood AK, Carmack CL, Demark-Wahnefried W, McTavish F, Gustafson DH. SurvivorCHESS to increase physical activity in colon cancer survivors: can we get them moving? J Cancer Surviv. 2017 Oct 9. doi:10.1007/s11764-017-0647-7. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28994035.

Birken SA, Mayer DK. Survivorship Care Planning: Why Is It Taking So Long? Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network : JNCCN. 2017; 15(9):1165-1169. PubMed [journal] PMID: 28874600

Nekhlyudov L, Birken SA, Mayer DK. Living with advanced cancer and the role of the primary care provider: The missing piece in the survivorship discourse. European journal of cancer care. 2017; 26(3). PubMed [journal] PMID: 28497519

Park EM, Check DK, Song MK, Reeder-Hayes KE, Hanson LC, Yopp JM, Rosenstein DL, Mayer DK. Parenting while living with advanced cancer: A qualitative study. Palliative medicine. 2017; 31(3):231-238. NIHMSID: NIHMS840228 PubMed [journal] PMID: 27484674, PMCID: PMC5290215

Mayer DK, Nasso SF, Earp JA. Defining cancer survivors, their needs, and perspectives on survivorship health care in the USA. The Lancet. Oncology. 2017; 18(1):e11-e18. PubMed [journal] PMID: 28049573

Mayer DK, Deal AM, Crane JM, Chen RC, Asher GN, Hanson LC, Wheeler SB, Gerstel A, Green M, Birken S, Rosenstein DL. Using Survivorship Care Plans to Enhance Communication and Cancer Care Coordination: Results of a Pilot Study. Oncology Nursing Forum. 2016; 43(5):636-45. PubMed [journal] PMID: 27541556

Stover A, Irwin DE, Chen RC, Chera BS, Mayer DK, Muss HB, Rosenstein DL, Shea TC, Wood WA, Lyons JC, Reeve BB. Integrating Patient-Reported Outcome Measures into Routine Cancer Care: Cancer Patients’ and Clinicians’ Perceptions of Acceptability and Value. EGEMS (Washington, DC). 2015; 3(1):1169. PubMed [journal] PMID: 26557724, PMCID: PMC4636110

Halpern MT, Viswanathan M, Evans TS, Birken SA, Basch E, Mayer DK. Models of Cancer Survivorship Care: Overview and Summary of Current Evidence. Journal of oncology practice. 2015; 11(1):e19-27. PubMed [journal] PMID: 25205779

Mayer DK, Nekhlyudov L, Snyder CF, Merrill JK, Wollins DS, Shulman LN. American Society of Clinical Oncology clinical expert statement on cancer survivorship care planning. Journal of oncology practice. 2014; 10(6):345-51. PubMed [journal] PMID: 25316025

Mayer DK, Travers D, Wyss A, Leak A, Waller A. Why do patients with cancer visit emergency departments? Results of a 2008 population study in North Carolina. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2011; 29(19):2683-8. PubMed [journal] PMID: 21606431, PMCID: PMC3139372

Mayer DK, Carlson J. Smoking patterns in cancer survivors. Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. 2011; 13(1):34-40. PubMed [journal] PMID: 21097514, PMCID: PMC3001958

Spector DJ, Mayer DK, Knafl K, Pusic A. Women’s recovery experiences after breast cancer reconstruction surgery. Journal of psychosocial oncology. 2011; 29(6):664-76. PubMed [journal] PMID: 22035539

Mayer DK, Ratichek S, Berhe H, Stewart S, McTavish F, Gustafson D, Parsons SK. Development of a health-related website for parents of children receiving

hematopoietic stem cell transplant: HSCT-CHESS. Journal of cancer survivorship : research and practice. 2010; 4(1):67-73. NIHMSID: NIHMS194147 PubMed [journal] PMID: 19967409, PMCID: PMC3049177

Mayer DK, Terrin NC, Kreps GL, Menon U, McCance K, Parsons SK, Mooney KH. Cancer survivors information seeking behaviors: a comparison of survivors who do and do not seek information about cancer. Patient education and counseling. 2007; 65(3):342-50. NIHMSID: NIHMS19301 PubMed [journal] PMID: 17029864, PMCID: PMC5693234

Mayer DK, Terrin NC, Menon U, Kreps GL, McCance K, Parsons SK, Mooney KH. Health behaviors in cancer survivors. Oncology nursing forum. 2007; 4(3):643-51. PubMed [journal] PMID: 17573323

Mayer DK, Terrin NC, Menon U, Kreps GL, McCance K, Parsons SK, Mooney KH. Screening practices in cancer survivors. Journal of cancer survivorship: research and practice. 2007; 1(1):17-26. PubMed [journal] PMID: 18648941

Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography.


My clinical and research interests include improving cancer care, including a focus on the transition of care when treatment ends, survivorship care plan development, implementation and evaluation. Specifically, I have used a health services approach to exploring emergency department and unplanned hospital use, health behaviors of cancer survivors, and eHealth interventions to improve health behaviors and optimizing the delivery of the survivorship care plan as a tool to improve communication and coordination of care among providers and survivors. I am a strong mentor for other health professionals and researchers with similar interests. As a nurse who works “frontline” with cancer survivors and as a cancer survivor myself, I bring a unique perspective to my work and extensive clinical, research and health policy collaborations with cancer survivors, primary care providers, cancer specialists and relevant cancer organizations.