NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Retired NCI Nurse, Communicator Bright is Mourned

Mary Anne Bright
Mary Anne Bright

Photo:  Mary Anne Bright

Mary Anne Bright, who served for decades in many roles at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), died on Apr. 16 at age 67. 

Bright grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated from Duquesne University in 1976 with a bachelor of science degree in nursing. She completed graduate work at UCLA, earning her master of nursing degree in oncology nursing in 1986. 

That same year, Bright started her NIH career as an oncology clinical nurse specialist at the Clinical Center. In 1989, she moved to NCI’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL), where she saw an opportunity to use her clinical background to help even more people with cancer and their families by meeting their information needs. 

Beginning in the public inquiries office, Bright then moved to NCI’s Cancer Information Service, ultimately becoming its director, a role she held until her retirement in 2018 following 32 years in the federal government. 

“Personally, I first knew Mary Anne over 20 years ago,” noted OCPL Director Peter Garrett, “and I was immediately impressed by her kindness and ability to marshal people. She understood how to bring people together, get things done and always approached her work with integrity, caring, kindness and empathy. She was a true leader in NCI communications, and I know Mary Anne was also a trusted friend and mentor to very many of her colleagues over the years.”

Throughout her time at NIH, Bright contributed to and led many high-level priorities and programs. She was detailed to the Office of Vice President Dan Quayle in 1992. 

From 2000 to 2005, she served as acting deputy director of the NCI Office of Communications under Nelvis Castro. In 2010, Bright served as associate director of the Office of Public Information and Resource Management in the NCI Office of Communications and Education.

It was Bright’s work with NCI’s Cancer Information Service, however, and the direct connection with cancer patients, that she was proudest of. She was instrumental in establishing the International Cancer Information Service Group in 1996 and served as a member of its governing board for 28 years. She was also the NCI lead of the Federal Implementation Team for Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson’s Tobacco Cessation Quitline Initiative (1-800-QUIT-NOW) in 2004. 

In 2006, Bright received a DHHS Group Award, an NCI Director’s Award and the NCI Director’s Gold Star for her efforts in supporting tobacco cessation. 

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