Sarah Ann Roder receives MD Anderson’s highest nursing honor

Brown Foundation Award recognizes dedication of gynecologic oncology nurse 

Sarah Ann Roder, a clinical nurse in the Gynecologic Oncology Outpatient Center at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is the recipient of the 2017 Brown Foundation Award for Excellence in Oncology Nursing. The award, founded by The Brown Foundation Inc. in 1982, is the institution’s highest nursing honor among the approximately 3,000 nurses at MD Anderson.

A selection committee of MD Anderson clinical faculty, patient care administrators and nursing staff reviewed peer and patient nominations before narrowing the selection to three finalists.

Roder received a cash prize of $15,000 from The Brown Foundation, represented by Isabel Stude Lummis, president, as well as a glass plaque and a commemorative pin at a ceremony led by Marshall E. Hicks, M.D., president ad interim of MD Anderson, and Carol Porter, senior vice president and chief nursing officer. The selection committee, coworkers and friends surprised her last month with the news and a bouquet of flowers and balloons.

“I am very honored to win this award, and totally surprised,” said Roder. “I don’t do my work for the recognition, but knowing that the people I work with value my work is an affirmation that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Roder, who lost her younger brother after his four-year fight with kidney cancer, feels she not only can sympathize with patients and their loved ones, but also can empathize with them.

“I work every day to honor my brother’s memory and his life by treating patients as if they are family.”

Roder has been a nurse for 10 years and has spent all of that time at MD Anderson. Prior to joining MD Anderson, she attended Wagner College in Staten Island, New York, for pre-nursing undergraduate studies, and went on to earn a bachelor’s in nursing from Texas Tech University.

“After helping my brother through his journey, I know I’m at the right place,” she said. “The ultimate honor would be to see cancer cured during my lifetime. Every day we are one day closer.”  

At today’s presentation ceremony, Hicks congratulated Roder and thanked her for the dedication and commitment she brings to nursing.

“I know you will continue to inspire and enrich the lives of your patients and their loved ones, as well as our colleagues at MD Anderson,” said Porter. “Your exceptional nursing skills help us strive to accomplish our goal of ending pain and suffering caused by this devastating disease.”