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Vote for the AONN+ Oncology Navigation Excellence Award

Here are the finalists for the AONN+ Oncology Navigation Excellence Award! If you are not familiar with the nominees, click on their names to read their stories before voting.

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Daniel Ramos, MA

Daniel Ramos, MA

Daniel was hired as a full-time Bilingual Patient Navigator at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Chelsea HealthCare Center in late April 2016. Nominating Daniel for this award was a relatively easy decision. The dependability, consistency, and quality of his work have made him a truly valuable asset to the Cancer Navigation team and to our entire department. So much so that within the first year of employment, his work had so much impact on the lives of the vulnerable patients he helped that he received the Partners in Excellence Award for Operational Efficiency. The fact that he joined the organization with a vast acumen of experience in this field was a great benefit. While the organization was in the middle of a Lung Cancer Screening Study last summer to prove the effectiveness of patient navigators in getting patients screened, the navigator who was previously hired to do this work had to leave MGH for personal reasons. At that point, Daniel had only been with MGH for less than 4 months, but given his track record during that short period of time, Daniel was more than capable to take on this new responsibility. The study’s screening completion rate rose under him. At the end, the results of the study were very satisfactory. Given the success that the colorectal and breast cancer navigation programs have had over the years at our health center, MGH received funds last year from a nonprofit to expand our navigation services to other types of cancer. Once again, Daniel was an obvious choice to be trusted to be the main navigator in charge of this new program. He has accomplished stellar results thus far not only with patients, but with all systems involved. As a dedicated and knowledgeable employee and an all-around great person, Daniel deserves to win the ONE Award.

Nominated By: Ana Cabral, MSW, Manager, Community Health Workers, Cancer & Specialty Navigation and Medical Legal Partnerships

Kristi Griffith, MSN, RN, CHPN, ONN-CG

Kristi Griffith, MSN, RN, CHPN, ONN-CG
Oncology Nurse Navigator, Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center

Kristi Griffith is AMAZING! She has a servant heart and leads by example. Kristi has been a Nurse Navigator in Oncology for about 3 years. Her expertise in Hospice and Palliative Care has added depth and breadth to the skill set of the navigation team. Kristi’s moral compass combined with her clinical expertise provides a unique platform to help others. She effectively facilitates difficult conversations with patients and family members when in crisis. Kristi shepherds and guides patients through real and perceived barriers to overcome fear and anxiety. Her patients sing her praises and will often stop by just to say hello and receive a hug of encouragement. She goes above and beyond to ensure patients’ needs are being met. Kristi’s work as a volunteer exemplifies her kind spirit and giving heart. She dedicates her time serving in various capacities at local communities and at several national organizations. Kristi is generous with her time and is very much loved and appreciated by her team. It is a privilege beyond words to work with such a devoted and incredibly tenacious colleague who we have learned so much from! We are so glad she chose to work with US!

Nominated By: Stacey L. Webb

Jo Maria Watson Weathers, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN

Jo Maria Watson Weathers, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN
Oncology Multidisciplinary Center Supervisor for Navigation, Greenville Hospital System

Jo Weathers was the first breast nurse navigator (NN) in the state of South Carolina. She served as a model for incoming new NNs in our multidisciplinary clinics. Jo assisted patients and families through these complicated and rather long visits, often coordinating pathology, scans, and medical transcripts to arrive with the patients. She was frequently consulted by other area breast navigators on patients with complex issues or program matters. Most importantly, Jo always had time to talk to patients and answer their questions even if she had to call them after hours or on the weekend. She was one of the initial NNs participating in breast tumor boards. She continued her commitment as a NN transferring to the Center for Integrative Oncology and Survivorship at Greenville Health System Cancer Institute in 2015. Our Lifetime Clinics (LTCs) required a solid knowledge of cancer, treatment, surveillance, and long-term toxicities, as well as system and community resources. The LTC is an oncology home for cancer survivors with curable illnesses. Jo was the main catalyst to grow our LTCs. Patients referred to the LTCs required navigation in a much different manner because they returned annually yet they needed annual surveillance scanning and education to optimize health. Today, we have more than 1000 survivors in these clinics. Jo was one of the founders of our Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) chapter in 2014. The future of our local AONN+ chapter became quite rocky when the other lead NN was diagnosed and died quickly of breast cancer. Jo remained steadfast and served as the lead from 2014 to 2018. Today, our AONN+ meetings are highly attended and a value to our navigators in all area health settings.

Nominated By: Gina Franco

Ashley Marks, RN, BSN, ONC, CHPN, CBCN

Ashley Marks, RN, BSN, ONC, CHPN, CBCN
GYN Oncology Nurse Navigator, Woman’s Hospital

Ashley Marks has vast knowledge of gynecologic cancer, treatment options, side-effect management, and demonstrates strong organization, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills. She communicates well with physicians, patients, their caregivers, and the healthcare team. Ashley excels at assisting patients to anticipate, identify, and overcome barriers and facilitating referrals as appropriate. She provides education, support, and advocacy, and utilizes resources to facilitate informed decision-making and timely access to quality health and psychosocial care through all phases of the cancer care continuum. She advocates for the patient and is unafraid to speak up when needed to be sure their needs/goals are always a priority. Ashley is active on the committees related to the care of patients with cancer. When she becomes aware of a new diagnosis, she contacts the patient, attends tumor conferences, treatment-planning visits, provides education and support, clarifies information, and assesses for barriers. She follows the patient through their journey whether curative, palliative, or end of life. Many patients have expressed that they would not have made it without Ashley. She is the vital link among the office practices, the outpatient infusion clinic, and the inpatient unit, not only for the patients but for the nurses as well, providing them with vital information regarding the patient, her treatment, and any barriers or special needs. Ashley is truly a role model for nurse navigators, and I am proud that she supports and navigates our GYN patients.

Nominated By: Mary Ann B. Smith

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