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VCU Massey Cancer Center


Bernard Fuemmeler named Massey’s associate director for cancer prevention and control

Fuemmeler is an expert in identifying the biological and behavioral contributors to cancer risk.

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Bernard Fuemmeler, Ph.D., M.P.H., appointed associate director for cancer prevention and control at Massey

VCU Massey Cancer Center welcomes Bernard Fuemmeler, Ph.D., M.P.H., as the associate director for cancer prevention and control. A clinical health psychologist and epidemiologist, he joined the VCU School of Medicine as a professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Policy in June 2016.

As the associate director for cancer prevention and control (CPC) at Massey, Fuemmeler will serve on the cancer center’s Executive Committee and will develop and lead the strategic direction of CPC-related research at Massey. He will collaborate with health services and behavioral scientists as well as laboratory and clinical investigators of the cancer center’s various scientific programs to forge links that bridge the cancer center’s CPC, clinical and basic science.  He will also focus on opportunities to increase the number of Massey’s CPC researchers, expand its areas of research interest and grow its funding base.

CPC research is research that studies the behavioral, environmental, organizational and policy factors that affect cancer risk, diagnosis, treatment and survival. CPC research at Massey is focused on the entire cancer continuum, from prevention to survivorship. Current Massey CPC research, for example, is focused on tobacco control and regulation, cancer health outcomes, decision making, screening and health disparities.

“We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Fuemmeler to Massey to direct our CPC research efforts,” said Gordon D. Ginder, M.D., director of VCU Massey Cancer Center. “He has the expertise, experience and creativity needed to help Massey foster collaborations that advance CPC science and ultimately improve lives.”

“I feel honored and fortunate to assume this leadership role and join Massey and the vibrant VCU community,” Fuemmeler said.

Fuemmeler studies the biological, behavioral and social determinants that contribute to the development of behavioral risks for cancer, such as obesity, smoking and physical inactivity. He has also led work aimed at improving the health of adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors. Much of his intervention-based research employs the use of digital technology (e.g., mobile phones apps, text messaging), to facilitate health promotion interventions, such as obesity prevention among AYA survivors or HPV vaccination among pre-adolescents.

“A primary goal of my research is to help identify what may be driving some of the key lifestyle risk factors for cancer with the intention of translating this knowledge to improve population health and reduce cancer risk,” Fuemmeler said.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), among others, have funded Fuemmeler’s research. His study findings have been published in nearly 60 peer-reviewed scientific journals, including the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Epigenetics, JAMA Psychiatry and the Journal of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology.

Fuemmeler currently serves as a standing member on an NIH study section on psychosocial risk and disease prevention and has been an ad hoc member on several other NIH study sections. 

Prior to joining VCU, Fuemmeler held various professorial roles at Duke University for more than 10 years. His most recent position was associate professor of Community and Family Medicine with secondary faculty appointments in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences as well as Psychology and Neuroscience. He was also a member of the Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Institute and an affiliate of Duke’s Global Health Institute.

Fuemmeler received a bachelor’s degree in psychology/philosophy from the University of New Mexico, both an M.S. in psychology and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Oklahoma State University and an M.P.H. in quantitative methods from Harvard University. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at NCI in the flagship cancer prevention fellowship training program.

Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Fuemmeler moved to Durham, North Carolina, in 2005, where he met his wife. They have two young children. 

Written by: Jenny Owen

Posted on: June 1, 2016

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