Awardees Honored at the AONN+ Annual Conference
The highly anticipated AONN+ Award Ceremony thrilled the audience and surprised a few of the recipients at the 2022 AONN+ Annual Conference! And the awards went to….
Frank dela Rama, RN, MS, AOCNS, AGN-BC
Putting Evidence into Practice Research Award
This award recognizes the contributions of an AONN+ member who has conducted and promoted evidence- based research that has augmented the field of oncology navigation.
Frank dela Rama is the prostate cancer nurse navigator at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF). He began his career there in oncology as a registered nurse in radiation oncology in 2000. In the midst of expanding the radiation oncology nursing service at PAMF, he established the role of oncology nurse navigator, primarily working with prostate cancer patients, to make their journey from diagnosis through treatment as smooth as possible.
Frank is on the editorial board of several oncology nursing publications, including our own Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship. We thank Frank for his contributions to the genetics and genomics community of AONN+, including BRIDGE and most recently the Precision Medicine Toolkit, which will be released very soon!
Jess Quiring, AS-CIM, CN-BA, OPN-CG
2022 AONN+ Ambassador Award
This award recognizes exceptional leadership and devoted service sharing the AONN+ mission to oncology patients, families, and professional communities.
Jess was a patient navigator for the American Cancer Society before becoming an outreach manager at New Mexico Oncology Hematology Consultants. She is a voice for oncology patient navigators and has effectively advanced the mission of navigation in her community.
Middle Tennessee Local Navigator Network
2022 AONN+ Outstanding Local Navigator Network Award
This award recognizes exceptional work of an AONN+ Local Navigator Network in establishing an open forum for professional development and networking that aligns with the AONN+ national mission.
The mission of the AONN+ Middle Tennessee Local Navigator Network is to provide networking and educational opportunities for local oncology nurse navigators and other oncology patient navigators in the Middle Tennessee area, promoting and developing best practices in patient navigation, improving access to cancer care, and improving quality of life for cancer survivors throughout their disease trajectory.
Ulman Foundation and Prisma Health
Recognition Awards 2022
This award acknowledges employers who embrace the critical role of oncology navigators and foster their growth. This year, we recognize 2 organizations.
The Ulman Foundation, celebrating its 25th year in 2022, has provided direct patient care to adolescents and young adults (AYA) through patient navigation for over 15 years. They are currently evolving their community navigation model to reach AYA patients not being treated in large, academic teaching hospitals where they have an AYA patient navigator. Megan Solinger accepted this award on behalf of the Ulman Foundation.
Prisma Health Cancer Institute and Center for Integrative Oncology and Survivorship (CIOS) is a regional cancer center that provides care to patients from prevention through the Lifetime Clinic. Every Prisma Cancer Institute office has at least 1 nurse navigator. Their multidisciplinary clinic has disease site–specific nurse navigators, and CIOS has 6 nurse navigators at their Center for Cancer Prevention and Wellness. While the navigator duties differ for each position, all navigators are committed to patient care and providing a seamless experience for patients. Jason Morrow accepted this award on behalf of Prisma Health.
Gerardo Villicana, BA
The ONE Award
The AONN+ Oncology Navigation Excellence Award, or ONE Award, recognizes an oncology navigator for his or her outstanding contributions to oncology navigation, patient care, or education.
Gerardo Villicana has made outstanding contributions to oncology patient navigation and education through his work at Pacific Cancer Care (PCC) and on the Addressing Latinx CANcer Care Equity (ALCANCE) research project at Stanford University.
Alongside oncologists, he has created precision medicine patient education materials in both English and Spanish and has engaged more than 55 patients in health education sessions and follow-up. Using motivational interviewing to build patient confidence, he covers complex topics, including goals of care, precision medicine concepts, and advanced care planning.
Gerardo has become a mentor and trainer for newer community health navigators at PCC.
His passion and kindness inspire other staff and set a tone for compassionate care. His contributions are clear in the words of one of our patients: “If I have a question, I can ask Jerry with confidence that he will provide an answer.…My understanding of my condition and treatment has changed a lot, because now I understand it clearly. In the past, I focused so much on my illness, and now I feel more liberated. Now, if I have a question, I ask and receive an explanation that leaves me clearer and more relaxed.”
Lindsey Smith, BSN, OCN, RN;
Ashley Gandy, RN, OCN, BHCN;
and Roselyn White, MSW, BS
Oncology Navigator Excellence Award Finalists
AONN+ recognizes the ONE Award finalists and applauds their contributions to navigation.
Lindsey Smith, BSN, OCN, RN, of Baptist Cancer Center, is the epitome of everything a great navigator should be. As a Living Beyond Breast Cancer educator, Lindsey hosted an educational series on life after cancer that impacted over 500 patients and family members. She advocates for her patients by teaching multiple free classes on topics such as sexual health, financial advocacy, and support groups.
Ashley Gandy, RN, OCN, BHCN, of Sarah Cannon, is unwavering in her commitment to breast cancer patients. Working in a small community hospital, Ashley identified a need for postsurgical garments for breast cancer patients and, with the support of her facility’s CEO, established a partnership with a local boutique that would provide garments to insured patients with a script. Further, she convinced her facility to supply this necessity for all regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.
Roselyn White, MSW, BS, of Susan G. Komen, has worked as a patient/client advocate, case worker, investigator, and service coordinator over the past 20 years. As a 7-year breast cancer survivor, she is passionate about helping all women with breast cancer. Recently, a patient shared these words about Roselyn: “When I needed assistance the most, yet lacked the humility to ask, a fellow pink sister directed me to Ms Roselyn. She is the epitome of professional kindness and experiential wisdom, being a survivor herself. Our talk changed my life for the better.”
Hero of Hope Patient Award
In partnership with CONQUER: the patient voice magazine, the Hero of Hope Patient Award annually recognizes an individual whose life is touched by cancer for his or her outstanding contributions to the cancer community.
Nicole is a beautiful example of a cancer fighter and thriver, and she has used her experience to help others. She participates in community outreach efforts in collaboration with the AONN+ navigation team on outreach efforts and has worked with Request Physical Therapy to provide postsurgical lymphedema garments for patients experiencing a financial hardship.
Tricia Strusowski, RN, MS
The Lillie D. Shockney Lifetime
This award recognizes an AONN+ member who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of oncology navigation and to the Academy. This awardee exemplifies the mission and vision of AONN+.
Tricia Strusowski, RN, MS, is an independent contractor with over 37 years of experience in the oncology field. Tricia has worked in a variety of roles, including that of oncology nurse, nurse manager, and case manager. She has also been a clinical director overseeing multiple departments, including chemotherapy infusion, rehabilitation, multidisciplinary disease site centers, thoracic surgery, palliative care, oncology medical home program, wellness programs, bone marrow ccoordination, and accreditation programs.
Tricia serves on several advisory boards and has implemented 15 multidisciplinary cancer programs, including breast, lung, head/neck, pancreatic, and various other tumor site–specific teams.
Tricia puts this rich work history to practice as a consultant working on the strategic development and implementation of oncology clinical programs within private practices, hospitals, and health systems across the country. She has presented and published nationally. Tricia chairs the AONN+ Navigation Metrics Committee, co-chairs the AONN+ Navigation Acuity project, is a past co-chair of the ACS National Navigation Roundtable Evidence-Based Promising Practices Committee, and participated in the Biden Cancer Initiative for Patient Navigation. AONN+ is truly grateful for Tricia’s leadership and expertise.