Capitol Hill is a dynamic, fluid atmosphere, especially for oncology nursing advocacy. ONS is constantly working to provide nurses with a voice at a federal level by representing them in political arenas in Washington, DC, and around the country. Find out what ONS does to advocate for its members and oncology nurses across the United States.

ONS Member Speaks at Seattle Cancer Moonshot Roundtable 

Vice President Joe Biden visited the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for his most recent stop on his listening tour gearing up for the National Cancer Moonshot. He spoke with a number of oncology experts and cancer researchers regarding the focus and scope of the nation’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative. Among those invited to the vice president’s roundtable discussion was ONS member Angelique Richard, PhD, RN, chief nurse executive and vice president of clinical operations at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. She spoke to the vice president regarding patient care and ways care disparities can be alleviated by the country’s focus on cancer treatment and research.

“I believe the Moonshot has the ability to alleviate these challenges for patients and families, whether through more effective treatments, better supportive care, or a greater number of cures,” Richard said. “I also feel that the social and economic burdens have the potential of being significantly reduced or eliminated by the Moonshot Initiative.” 

Vice President Biden praised nurses as “amazing angels” for the quality of care and attention they provide to their patients, including his son who passed away from cancer last year. He insists that they deserve more respect and training. “They see the minute-to-minute results and can give doctors great insight,” Biden said. The vice president will continue touring the nation’s leading cancer institutes on his listening tour.

IOM Changes Its Name

The Institute of Medicine (IOM), a division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, has announced that it’s changing its name to the Health and Medicine Division (HMD). With a renewed focus on collaboration and interdisciplinary work, HMD will “build on the heritage of the IOM’s work in medicine while emphasizing its increased focus on a wider range of health matters.” 

According to HMD’s release, the new name came as part of an organizational change that occurred in July 2015. This change included combining the National Academy of Medicine with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences, which now oversees seven program divisions. Despite the new name, the National Academies says that HMD “will maintain the quality and soundness of our past health policy advice to the nation through rigorous study processes and the independent, objective analysis and advice for which the IOM and the Academies have been known.”

Experts Call for Cancer Moonshot to Focus on Screening and Prevention

The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) released a letter urging Vice President Biden to recognize and value the benefits of screening and prevention methods as he undertakes the Cancer Moonshot Initiative. While they applauded the Moonshot’s efforts thus far, the ASPPH wrote, “The most notable cancer successes have been due to the power and efficacy of prevention. The massive reductions in lung, cervical, colorectal, and gastric cancer mortality rates are almost entirely due to a focus on public health and prevention approaches (including screening).”

Although the ASPPH isn’t looking to undercut focuses on research and treatment development, they encouraged the vice president to understand the efficacy of prevention and screening. They called for greater investments in public health services and prevention research. They noted the importance of developing treatments, but said, “Controlling cancer is also a policy and public health challenge. We must operate on both fronts.” The letter was signed by more than 70 deans from health schools and universities around the country.