Ruth McCorkle, RN, FAAN

Florence Wald Professor of Nursing and Professor of Chronic Diseases; Interim Specialty Director, Adult Health

Departments & Organizations

School of Public Health: Chronic Disease Epidemiology

Yale Cancer Center: Cancer Prevention and Control

Yale School of Nursing: Nursing Website


A pioneer in oncology nursing, Ruth McCorkle has been named the first Florence Schorske Wald Professor at the Yale School of Nursing (YSN). McCorkle is currently professor of Nursing, former director of the Center for Excellence in Chronic Illness Care, and she was chair of the Doctor of Nursing Science Program from 1998-2004. She was also the program leader for Cancer Control at the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center (YCCC) from 1998-2000 and a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Yale School of Medicine. She is currently Director of Psychosocial Oncology at YCCC.

McCorkle received a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Maryland and a master's in medical-surgical nursing from the University of Iowa. Her doctorate, in mass communications, was earned at the University of Iowa's School of Journalism. She has held teaching positions at a variety of institutions across the country, including the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Washington, and the University of Iowa.

McCorkle's interest in cancer and palliative care is longstanding. Over 40 years ago she studied at St. Christopher's Hospice in London, England, and participated in clinical studies to relieve distressing symptoms associated with dying. Since then, she has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health and other prestigious groups for her studies on managing life with cancer.

Elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1990, McCorkle is the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards. Some of her many honors include the Book of the Year Award for Cancer Nursing from the American Journal of Nursing, a Distinguished Merit Award from the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care, and a Distinguished Research Award from the Oncology Nursing Society. She was named the Nurse Scientist of the Year by the Council of Nurse Researchers of the American Nurses Association, one of the most coveted awards in the field of nursing. In 2009, she received the Bernard Fox Research Award for outstanding contribution to the field of Psycho-Oncology. Recently, she received the Jimmie Holland Leadership award and the Trish Green Quality of Life Award. A prolific writer, her work appears in many professional journals in the US and abroad.

Honors & Recognition

  • Distinguished Scholar AwardUniversity of Connecticut, School of Nursing, 2002

  • Florence S. Wald Professorship, 2001

  • Professor Emeritus University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, 1998

  • Book of the Year Award, Cancer Nursing, 2nd. Edition, edited by McCorkle, Grant, Stromborg, & BairdAmerican Journal of Nursing, 1996

  • Distinguished Merit Award, International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care8th International Conference on Cancer Nursing, Vancouver, British Columbia, August 1994

  • Distinguished Research AwardOncology Nursing Society, Cincinnati, OH, May, 1994

  • Nurse Scientist of the YearCouncil of Nurse Researchers, American Nurses Association, Washington, DC, 1993

  • Book of the Year Award, Cancer Nursing, edited by Baird, McCorkle, and Grant, 1991American Journal of Nursing

  • Elected to the Institute of MedicineNational Academy of Sciences, 1990

  • Joan Ashley Fiffick Memorial AwardAkron General Medical Center, 1989

  • Outstanding Research AwardPennsylvania Nurses' Association, November, 1988

  • Excellence in Nursing Education AwardOncology Nursing Society and Ross Laboratories, May, 1988

  • American Cancer SocietyProfessor of Oncology Nursing, Philadelphia Division, 1986-1991; 1992-1995

  • Established the Ruth McCorkle lectureship to be given at the annual symposium, Seattle, Washington, 1986Puget Sound Local Chapter, Oncology Nursing Society

  • Elected Fellow of the American Academy of NursingAmerican Nurses' Association, 1979

  • Distinguished Lecturer AwardUniversity of Southern Florida, 2004

  • Elected MemberThe Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, 2004

  • Distinguished Nursing Research Award, Eastern Nursing Research Society, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, 2006

  • Distinguished Lecturer, Rubenstein Lecture, Boston College, 2007

  • Distinguished Research Award, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, New Orleans, 2007

  • Research Visiting Scholar, Thomas Jefferson University, 2008

  • Bernard Fox Memorial Research Award, International Psycho-Oncology Society, Vienna, Austria, 2009

  • Jimmie Holland Leadership Award, American Psychosocial Oncology Society, Los Angeles, CA, 2011

  • Trish Green Quality of Life Award, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA, 2011

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