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Beisecker, Betsy

Analee "Betsy"
Beisecker, PhD
Year Inducted: 
Betsy Beisecker
  • Prior Associate Director of the KU Cancer Center
  • Director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Science Research
  • Recognized nationally and internationally for work in the area of doctor-patient communication
  • Received Saks Fifth Avenue Award for Leadership in Breast Cancer Awareness
  • 1997 Race for the Cure in Kansas City dedicated in her recognition
  • President of the University Women’s Club

Diana B. Carlin, Interim Assistant Provost and Professor of Communication Studies, and Mary Lee Hummert, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, writes, “Betsy Beisecker’s story as a professional, a scholar, an advocate, and a friend to countless breast cancer patients is a classic example of what a KU Women’s Hall of Fame member should be.”  Until her untimely death in 1997 as a result of breast cancer, Betsy touched the lives of those around her in a way that will never be forgotten.  Upon receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas in Sociology and Speech, Betsy continued her education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a Masters and Ph.D in sociology.  She spent three years at the National Institute of Aging in Postdoctoral Traineeship in Gerontology, returning to the University of Kansas in 1991 to be appointed in Preventive Medicine as an Associate Professor with tenure.  At the same time, she was named Associate Director of the KU Cancer Center, and took on the directorship of the Division of Behavioral and Social Science Research.  In October 1997, a month before her death, she was promoted to professor.  Betsy has been recognized nationally and internationally for her work in the area of doctor-patient communication, focusing on communication in the elderly and patients with cancer.  For her outstanding work, she was invited to White House conferences and served on grant review committees for federal agencies such as the National Institute on Aging, the Agency for Health Care Policy & Research, and the U.S. Department of Education.  According to S. Edwards Dismuke, MD, MSPH, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Internal Medicine, “She was a tireless faculty member with significant accomplishments in teaching, research, patient care and service.” 

Her awards and recognition were numerous.  Her honors included: Phi Beta Kappa, Delta Sigma Rho (Speech), Alpha Kappa Delta (Sociology), Faculty Research Award, University of Kansas Medical Center, and the Saks Fifth Avenue Award for Leadership in breast cancer awareness.  In addition, the 1997 Race for the Cure in Kansas City was dedicated to her in recognition of her contributions as an advocate for breast cancer education and research.  Betsy was also very important to KU as alumnae, mentor and friend to university students.  As a member of the University Women’s Club, she served as its president and was responsible for beginning an endowment fund for scholarships.  Penny L. Reese, MA, Director of Education and Research for the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions, states, “Betsy’s days and weekends were filled with her students, past and present.  She served as advocate, counsel and mentor for the MPH students, theses and dissertation students, Robert Woods Johnson fellows, and a host of medical students who now have a clearer vision of the concept of humanity within medicine.  We have all become more than what we thought possible because of Betsy.”

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