Her name is well-known in the cancer field, especially in navigation, survivorship, patient-centered care, preservation of quality of life, end-of-life planning and care, improving the cancer patient’s experience and clinical outcomes. She clinically specializes in breast cancer care. Her public speaking, literary work, and notable roles she has held over the past 40+ years are well-known to many.
A 2-time breast cancer survivor, originally diagnosed in her 30s, Lillie has worked tirelessly to improve the care of breast cancer patients around the world. She has worked at Johns Hopkins since 1983. Lillie takes great pride in the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+), which as of April 2021 has more than 8900 members. She has served as a consultant for breast cancer for national ABC News and Good Morning America, and has been also consulted regularly by the Today Show and CNN. Lillie currently serves on 28 medical advisory boards.
In 2008, the President of Johns Hopkins University and their Board of Trustees appointed Lillie to a Distinguished Service Faculty Chair. This is the first and only time in the history of the institution that a hospital nurse has been appointed to a distinguished service designation. She continued to climb the academic ladder, and in 2016 was promoted to full professor and is the only nurse at Johns Hopkins to have a primary faculty appointment in the School of Medicine and the only nurse in the country to have reached the highest academic faculty ranking and be appointed to a faculty chair as a University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
In 2009, she co-founded the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators, a national professional organization for those working in the navigation space with oncology patients.
In 2012, she and a colleague created an employee benefit called Work Stride: Managing Cancer at Work. Though originally developed for Johns Hopkins employees, its success resulted in it being offered nationally to other businesses and corporations across the country. She continues her work as a medical advisor within Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions to enhance the program and continue to support its growth.
In 2021, she co-founded the Association of Chronic & Complex Care Nurse Navigators, a national professional organization for those working in the navigation space with chronic illness and complex care patients.
She has received 61 awards—54 national awards and 7 state awards including being inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, Women in Business Healthcare Trailblazer Award, Johnson & Johnson’s Most Amazing Nurse in America award, National Komen for the Cure’s Professor of Survivorship award, and several national lifetime achievement awards. Her research area of focus is preservation of quality of life for patients with metastatic breast cancer.
Currently, a documentary is being made about her life and her life’s work. Filming will be completed in 2022. She tells people she never forgets where she came from—she will always be “a farmer’s daughter.”
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