Photo by Christopher Huang.

Mei R. Fu, an internationally respected nurse scientist whose research is focused on cancer-related symptoms and management of chronic illnesses, has been named to the Barry Family/Goldman Sachs Endowed Chair in Nursing in the Connell School of Nursing. 

Fu is the inaugural holder of the chair, which was established through a gift from Boston College Trustee Steven M. Barry ’85 and family. She is the school’s second endowed professor, following Lelia Holden Carroll Endowed Professor in Nursing Judith Vessey.

“The Connell School of Nursing continues to be a place where talented individuals can effect change in health care,” said CSON Dean and Professor Susan Gennaro. “It’s in this spirit that we’re excited to welcome distinguished nurse researcher Mei R. Fu, PhD, RN, FAAN, as the Barry Family/Goldman Sachs Endowed Professor in Nursing. We’re grateful to now have two endowed professorships at the Connell School of Nursing, and it’s because of this generous support that we’re able to attract world-class faculty like Dr. Fu, furthering our mission of educating compassionate nurse leaders who use their knowledge in service of others.”

“BC’s vision, and especially the Connell School of Nursing’s—to relieve human suffering and to care for others—is really consistent with my own personal values,” said Fu. “I really like the collegial spirit and I see a lot of opportunities to collaborate with other colleagues at BC. 

“As an endowed professor, I will not only be able to expand my research horizons, but also mentor students and junior faculty. Throughout my career, a lot of senior faculty helped me and I want to be able to give back to the profession.”

Fu’s research centers on lymphedema, a swelling of the extremities caused by abnormal lymph fluid accumulation—a chronic and painful condition that can result from cancer treatment, commonly found in women after breast cancer surgery and radiation. Lymphedema has no medical treatment or cure.

“Because the lymphatic system is the first line of defense in our immune system, lymphedema can leave patients compromised and susceptible to infections and secondary cancers. So, not only is lymphedema a quality-of-life issue, it can endanger patients’ long-term health.”

Fu’s research incorporates qualitative and quantitative research methods, genomic and biomarker approaches, and cutting-edge technology as well as innovative behavioral interventions. She has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Oncology Nursing Society, Avon Foundation, and Pfizer, among other organizations.

She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the New York Academy of Medicine, as well as a senior fellow of geriatrics at the Hartford Institute of Geriatrics.

After obtaining bachelor’s and master’s degrees in China, Fu earned a bachelor of science in nursing, a master of science, and doctorate in nursing science, all from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has taught at Rutgers University’s College of Nursing and New York University’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing, where she currently holds a courtesy appointment as a professor.

Fu has published more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. She is a recipient of a Best Article Award from the Oncology Nursing Society, an Outstanding Journal Article Award from the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association, and a Young Investigator Award from the International Lymphology Association. 

A member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame, Fu was named 2003 Eminent Scientist of the Year by the International Research Promotion Council. She has been honored by the Chinese American Nurses Association for outstanding academic achievement and by the University of Missouri-Columbia for her lifetime contribution to nursing and health care.

 

—Kathleen Sullivan | University Communications | September 2019