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2010 Most Influential Women Honoree: Marilyn Bauer

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Marilyn Bauer enjoys challenges and says she’s most comfortable in roles where she’s learning, working hard and being held accountable. That attitude is one that serves her well both professionally and in the community.

For the past five years, she has served as the director of Cancer Research Center for the Ozarks, a community clinical oncology program that is a joint endeavor of CoxHealth and St. John’s Health System.

Among her accomplishments, Bauer lists writing and receiving a $4.2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. That money will supply the center’s major funding through May 2014.

She is accountable for clinical trials at eight research bases, serving as a liaison between investigators, hospital departments, staff members and the National Cancer Institute.

She’s also proud of a staff restructuring that reduced personnel by 40 percent, helping to reduce the center’s cost burden on the institutions that support it.

“While grant dollars go a long way, they do not completely support CRO,” she says. “We are very fortunate to have the support of Springfield’s two major health systems.”
Though her work is focused on helping patients fight cancer, she says she’s learned from them through meaningful conversations about life.

“I have grown to believe individuals who are facing death have so much more to give us than we can give them,” she says.

Under Bauer’s watchful eye, CRO is expanding its reach via a list of four affiliates: Freeman Hospital and St. John’s in Joplin, Skaggs Regional Medical Center in Branson and Central Care Cancer Center in Bolivar.

She and the center staff also organize biannual meetings where research staff and physicians can hear about oncology issues from national speakers.

Armed with a nursing degree from the University of as Arkansas, a master’s in education from Drury University and a master’s in health care administration from Southwest Baptist University, Bauer’s professional background includes working as a charge and staff nurse, an instructor at St. John’s School of Nursing and as coordinator of the oncology program for St. John’s Cancer Center.

“When I hear, ‘You are the reason I made it through school,’ or ‘Thanks for helping me when my patient went bad in the middle of the night and I was terrified,’ I truly feel grateful for having the opportunity to influence individuals in the rewarding profession of nursing,” she says.

Bauer says she’s always encouraged staff to seek education or experience to grow professionally, promoting employees when appropriate. Making sure the right person is in the right spot is key to leadership, she says, and she’s learned to be flexible.

“I love to win. I know to be a winner, you need to know when to admit mistakes, when to change strategy and when to seek advice,” she says.

In the community, Bauer is a member of the Southeast Optimist Club. She also serves on the disaster relief committee at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church and the fundraising committee for Southwest Special Cares Home, which works to build homes for individuals with special needs.[[In-content Ad]]

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