Women in Science, Dentistry, and Medicine Professional Achievement “WISDM” Award

“Tell me what you want to be known for and how I can help.”

These are words very familiar to those who have worked with Dr. Cathy J. Bradley, Tenured Professor and Chair, Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, Interim Chair, Department of Social and Behavioral Health, and Associate Director of Cancer Prevention and Control, Massey Cancer Center. Dr. Bradley came to VCU in 2005 and in 2009 became the first Chair of the newly formed Department of Healthcare Policy and Research (HCPR).

Her effectiveness is demonstrated by her strong record of continuous research funding over nearly twenty years from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, NCI, the National Institute on Minority Health Disciplines, and other sources for research on topics including primary care utilization, cancer prevention and treatment outcomes, and a NCI R25 postdoctoral research training program. Since becoming co-leader of the Massey Cancer CPC Program in 2007, Dr. Bradley has developed the program to include 30 interdisciplinary faculty researchers. Dr. Bradley has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications and 150 peer-reviewed abstracts. Her many recognitions include the Cabell Professorship in Cancer Research and the 2009 Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award from the VCU School of Allied Health Professions.

Dr. Bradley is a master of the balance between supporting and challenging junior faculty. “She rejects the view that junior faculty must start small, closely follow the lead of more senior researchers, and slowly work their way up. She encourages (us) to think broadly and strategically about how to maximize the impact of our contributions to our field,” states Dr. Lindsay Sabik, Assistant Professor, HP&R. Departmental colleague Dr. April Kimmel agrees, “She has given me the freedom to make mistakes and grow on my own timeline, balancing this freedom with well-timed pushes to stretch myself. She does so with great ease, grace, strength, and fairness, which inspire confidence along with a drive to strive for more.”

Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is a mentee of Dr. Bradley in two programs, the CCTR KL2 research training program and the Clinical Faculty Scholars Program of the Center for Health Disparities: “The fact that she is able to provide such outstanding mentorship despite us being in different fields and me being a clinician and she is not, attests even further to her abilities. I will continue to count on her as a mentor for years to come.”

“Dr. Bradley has remained a steadfast advocate for my success and the success of many other junior faculty working at VCU,” declares Tiffany Green, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, HP&R. “As a woman of color, I am all too aware of the challenges faced by women from underrepresented groups in the academy. These challenges can include a relatively large service burden and a lack of research networks. I am incredibly fortunate to have a chair and mentor that works tirelessly to ensure that none of these issues form a barrier to my success.”

“I feel that she is my wise sister from whom I seek advice before I make important steps in my academic career,” says doctoral student Wafa W. Tarazi. She joins many others attesting to Dr. Bradley’s role in helping them to develop a research career path, be productive scholars, secure funding, improve patient care, and successfully navigate the world of academic medicine. For her leadership, scholarship, mentorship, and overall professional excellence, we are honored to present Dr. Cathy Bradley with the 2014 WISDM Professional Achievement award.