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College of Nursing

  • sue heiney

A Legacy Of Cancer Impact

The College of Nursing thanks Sue Heiney for her career's work with cancer research and her dedication to the college. Her passion and spirit will be missed. We wish Sue well in her next chapter as she retires. 


"Live each day to the fullest. Get the most from each hour, each day, and each age of your life. Then you can look forward with confidence and back without regrets," is the mantra of beloved faculty member Sue Heiney. As a Cancer Research Professor and former Co-director of the College of Nursing Cancer Research Center, Heiney has experienced firsthand just how important it is to value each day.  

Heiney knew she would have a long relationship with cancer patients when she treated a cancer patient in her BSN program in 1981. "I felt a special connection with my first cancer patient. When I graduated, I almost immediately started on my masters and did my thesis on intimacy in families of children with cancer," says Heiney. From that first encounter with cancer, Heiney has developed and implemented numerous programs that have and are still impacting patients and their families worldwide. 

Her CLIMB program is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Since its founding, the program has been incorporated into 57 cancer centers in the US and five different countries. CLIMB focuses on teaching psychosocial professionals how to implement a support program for children whose parents have cancer. This research-based program has helped thousands of children cope with having a parent with cancer.  

"The programs that I developed have lived on well beyond me. I'm proud of the work and the impact my research has had. My hope has always been to benefit the patient and their family." - Sue Heiney

Heiney began her career at the College of Nursing 11 years ago as the Cancer Survivorship Center's first Co-director. Heiney and her Co-director, Swan Adams, spent a decade building a center with top researchers and leading programs and grants. Heiney's accolades while with the college have included: 

  • NIH Grant: $3,641,898, Role of Circadian Factors in Inflammation and Colorectal Adenoma Risk
  • CDC/HHS Grant,  $1,499,97, South Carolina Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network: Partner-Engaged and Evidence-Based Multilevel Implementation
  • The Children's Treehouse Foundation has created the Sue P. Heiney (nursing) Award for Program Excellence to honor her invaluable contribution to the CLIMB® Program.
  • Dozens of national publications and presentations

As an educator, Heiney brings passion to the classroom and a spirit of mentorship to her students. "I had fantastic mentors while earning my degrees. I've always wanted to give back what had so generously been given to me," says Heiney. She has taught various classes in the BSN and graduate program. "My most memorable moment as an educator was having a student say they learned life skills, not just the content I was teaching," says Heiney. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.