Each year, at the AONN+ annual conference, we pause to take note of the navigators and organizations among us who have made a significant impact in the field of oncology navigation. Although virtual, 2020 was no different, and it was with pride that we announced the 2020 class of AONN+ Award recipients. It is the distinct honor of the JONS Editorial Board and the AONN+ Leadership Council to recognize the navigators and organizations in our community who have made considerable contributions to our chosen specialty. This class of awardees includes a stellar group of navigators and organizations, each with their own unique and inspiring stories. Below, we tell their stories in the hope it provides inspiration to you in your professional life as an oncology nurse navigator or a patient navigator.
Danelle Johnston, MSN, RN, HON-ONN-CG, OCN
Lifetime Achievement Award
In recognition of a member who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of oncology navigation and to the Academy.
A longtime member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+), Danelle has served on the AONN+ Leadership Council and as Co-Chair of its Quality Metrics Task Force. Over the past 3 years, Danelle has led the development of strategic imperatives for AONN+.
Danelle has initiated and grown partnerships with other organizations in oncology arenas and has provided key clinical and professional insight that allowed AONN+ to enhance its message and services. She had the vision to bring structure to the everyday functions of AONN+ by defining policies, procedures, and role descriptions. Her ability to collaborate with senior vice presidents in sales and marketing resulted in high-level reports summarizing AONN+ activities for financial managers, investors, and advisors. With her leadership, AONN+ has demonstrated consistent membership increases as well as midyear and national conference attendance growth.
Danelle has been an active participant in the creation of a national metrics study and the acuity tool kit, an evidence-based foundation for all navigators, and the Cancer Advocacy & Patient Education (CAPE) Lung Cancer Initiative, whose objective is to provide a web-based library of best-practice information that healthcare providers and navigators can offer patients and caregivers.
From her initial committee membership to the countless hours, nights, and weekends dedicated to its development, she drove the AONN+ Foundation for Learning, Inc, to achieve national accreditation. It now offers the only national certification for the Oncology Nurse Navigator–Certified Generalist (ONN-CG) and the Oncology Patient Navigator–Certified Generalist (OPN-CG). Danelle has also led an effective team of AONN+ leaders to create structure and processes to monitor and evaluate contributions of the Leadership Council, committees, and multiple projects that reflect the high quality expected from AONN+.
Central Indiana Local Navigator Network
Outstanding Local Navigator Network Award
Recognition of a network’s exceptional work in the establishment of an open forum for professional development and networking that aligns with the AONN+ mission.
Members of the Central Indiana Local Navigator Network are active with educationally based monthly meetings, which are now offered in person and virtually. By summer 2020, despite COVID-19, they had completed the minimum requirement of 4 meetings! They cover diverse topics and host essential engagement opportunities, including connections with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Cancer Support Community. On their Facebook page and e-blasts, they regularly post helpful resources for navigators to give to their patients. This has been critical during COVID-19.
They have a true focus of “community,” not just hospital versus hospital. The members of the Central Indiana Local Navigator Network strive to maintain relationships among all cancer centers so that when a patient is in need of a second opinion the centers have already networked together, making for better continuity of care. The members are active in various organizations, such as the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, the Little Red Door Cancer Agency, the Cancer Support Community, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society...plus many more.
The Central Indiana Local Navigator Network assisted AONN+ this year in conducting trials of a speakers bureau program and hosted a regional certification testing site in the fall.
Elizabeth Franklin, PhD, MSW
In recognition of exceptional leadership and devoted service in sharing the AONN+ mission with oncology patients, families, and professional communities.
Elizabeth is executive director of the Cancer Policy Institute at the Cancer Support Community (CSC), Washington, DC, which is the largest direct provider of social and emotional support services for cancer patients and their loved ones nationwide. Previously, she was senior director of policy and advocacy at CSC. She led the AONN+ Policy and Advocacy Committee and has been a driving force for AONN+ to be a part of the solution on healthcare issues for the nation. Elizabeth has a talent for listening to the voices of people from all sides of an issue.
Oncology navigators see the effects that policies have on patients firsthand. Elizabeth continues her work in patient advocacy and underscores that it is as important now as it has ever been. Applying her expertise in social work, she has contributed to the Leadership Council by promoting inclusivity and multidisciplinary approaches to navigation. AONN+ has been enriched by her knowledge of the ways in which patients define value in the cancer care system and how those definitions can be incorporated into public policy and clinical practice.
Jennifer Klemp, PhD, MPH, MA
Evidence into Practice Award
Recognition of an AONN+ member who has conducted evidence-based research that builds upon the body of work in navigation.
Jennifer is associate professor of medicine, Division of Clinical Oncology, director of Cancer Survivorship, and co-program leader for Cancer Prevention and Survivorship at the University of Kansas Cancer Center. Her clinical practice is focused on cancer genetics. She has also completed advanced clinical training in cancer genetics through the Fox Chase Cancer Center and has brought that experience to the AONN+ Genetics and Genomics Committee, which she co-chairs. The focus of the committee is to engage oncology nurses and patient navigators and empower them to play a role in linking patients and personalized medicine, with the ultimate goal of increasing access to genetic information for the purpose of shared decision-making.
Jennifer’s support and contribution to the BRIDGE (Building Relationships in Delivering Genetic/Genomic Education) initiative, through which all navigators will be able to develop a working knowledge of cancer genetics/genomics—complete enough to advocate for appropriate referrals to genetics professionals—is coming to fruition. A genetic education tool kit for navigators was developed in 2020, and a preconference session reflected the scope of this work. A search on the AONN+ website for the BRIDGE Program will reveal an array of options for genetic education.
As a member of the Leadership Council, Jennifer was a voice for the practicing navigator throughout the care continuum, with a special emphasis on survivorship, and she has served as a co-chair on the Survivorship Committee. AONN+ appreciates her views on the many topics that the Leadership Council discusses, especially those related to bringing evidence-based genetic information to navigators.
Organizational Recognition Award
Sarah Cannon has created a patient navigation system that addresses the full continuum of cancer care. Its navigators play a vital role in cancer care, managing what patients undergo on a day-to-day basis. Patients routinely comment what a difference their navigators make as they go through one of the most challenging times of their life. At Sarah Cannon, a process to allow nurse navigators to comprehensively manage a patient’s experience with cancer has been formalized. AONN+ recognizes Sarah Cannon’s navigation colleagues for their hard work and dedication and for their collective contribution in the work of advancing navigation. Their commitment to professional development and lifelong learning is confirmed as they offer engaging Webex education; serve as faculty at AONN+ midyear and annual conferences and Facebook Live events; lead and serve within AONN+ national committees, such as Abstract, Clinical Trials, and Policy and Advocacy; and submit and publish abstracts and articles to invest in the growth of the navigation profession. In addition, Sarah Cannon colleagues serve in leadership positions within the AONN+ Foundation for Learning and have supported steps to achieve national accreditation. We hope this award will serve as a reminder to all of our colleagues within Sarah Cannon of your many achievements in navigation and as a valued partner of AONN+.
Margaret (Peg) Rummel, RN, MHA, OCN, NE-BC, HON-ONN-CG
Oncology Navigator Excellence (ONE) Award
Peg is currently a staff member at the Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. Her area specialties are amyloidosis, multiple myeloma, and oral and head and neck cancers. She has practiced in a wide variety of settings as a staff nurse and manager, including medical surgical units, medical/surgical oncology, and nursing education.
Peg received her BSN from Holy Family University and her MHA from Saint Joseph’s University, both in Philadelphia. She has co-written books such as Case Studies in Oncology Nursing: Text and Review, and co-edited the first comprehensive textbooks for oncology nurse navigators: Oncology Nurse Navigation: Delivering Patient-Centered Care Across the Continuum and Oncology Nurse Navigation: Case Studies. She was an expert reviewer for the 2017 Oncology Nurse Navigator Core Competencies.
Her reports on various topics have been presented at multiple local and national conferences. She was an AONN+ representative at the Biden Cancer Initiative’s inaugural Biden Cancer Summit in 2018 and presented at the anchor event in Washington, DC, Community Summits. As the co-chair of the AONN+ Conference Planning Committee, Peg ensures that the conferences provide relevant and high-value agendas and speakers to enhance the professional growth of attendees. Thanks to her dedication and commitment, the AONN+ annual conference will once again be filled with informative sessions and exciting events.
Peg was a member of the oncology nurse navigation team from Abramson Cancer Center that won the 2018 ONS Team Achievement Award. In the coordination of care for a patient at Peg Rummel’s institution, the whole team is involved, but Peg, the navigator on staff, oversees the process to confirm that all her patients’ barriers are overcome.