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Pioneering with Intention

Given has not only advanced the science behind the nursing profession, she has consistently gone above and beyond for students and faculty.

Pioneering with Intention

University Distinguished Professor Barbara Given has been the type of leader who leads by example.

For close to five decades, Given has pioneered oncology nursing at the College of Nursing, exploring everything from family home care to symptom management. She currently leads the college’s efforts to improve oral chemotherapy, and has helped thousands of patients and their families with her community-based care research.

With an intense focus on care, Given and her husband—long-time Department of Family Medicine Professor Bill Given—came to East Lansing in 1966, and forged a path together. They found the ideal place for their ambitions at MSU.

With too many awards and accolades to list, Given has also received 33 consecutive years of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding.

Yes, that’s right. 33 years. To say Given is a big deal is an understatement.

As the director of the college’s PhD program, Given’s professorship has allowed her to mentor a multitude of students to accomplish their personal aspirations and career goals.

“You gain rewards from watching people achieve more than you could,” Given said. “I’ve done a lot of listening, and really, all I have done is help lay the foundation so that others believe they can do it.”

Given has not only advanced the science behind the nursing profession, she has consistently gone above and beyond for students and faculty. As a University Distinguished Professor, Given’s schedule allowed for her to spend a period of time disseminating research and working with MSU students and junior faculty—which has helped meet a critical need for preparedness within the college.

Given has also heard from the families of cancer treatment patients she has impacted through her research.

“There was a woman who got on a microphone at a conference,” Given recalls. “She shared how much she liked participating in a study because she could do it over the phone. Another person called me and said that their mother had passed, but they wanted me to know how much our symptom management toolkit meant in her care.

“Both said they hoped we would continue the work,” she added. “And we most definitely have.”

Research like Given’s can only endure through the addition of endowed professorships, which provide faculty with the means to make discoveries—and continue going the extra mile for others.

Author: Sarah Wardell