Regina Cunningham, PhD, RN, NEABC, FAAN, has been appointed chief executive officer (CEO) of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) in Philadelphia. Cunningham is the first nurse, oncology-specific or otherwise, to hold the position since the institution’s inception in 1874. She begins her tenure as CEO for HUP in April 2017.

As a major contributor to past ONS projects, Cunningham’s work was integral as part of the team that developed the Putting Evidence Into Practice resources for mucositis and anorexia. She also offered her expertise and unique perspective to shape past ONS research agendas, was a member of the Congress Planning Team in 2002, was the recipient of the Pearl Moore Making a Difference Award, and has participated in countless other research and educational projects for ONS.

“Dr. Cunningham has been a leader in oncology nursing for many years, bridging practice and academic settings, and advancing the care of patients,” Brenda Nevidjon, RN, MSN, FAAN, ONS CEO, said. “Her appointment as CEO of HUP elevates her influence beyond oncology, and it shows all oncology nurses that achieving the CEO position is possible.”

Cunningham steps into the new role after an impressive career as an oncology nurse scientist, educator, clinician, and executive. Cunningham brings her unique perspective and skillset as an oncology nurse leader to the position at HUP. She previously worked as the senior director of oncology and nursing research at Mount Sinai Medical System in New York City and as associate chief nursing officer of cancer services at Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. Following that role, Cunningham transitioned to the chief administrative officer of the cancer service line at ACC. She’s also served as an adjunct professor for the University of Pennsylvania school of nursing since 2012.

Cunningham’s work as nurse researcher has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including the Clinical Journal of Oncology, where she published articles ranging from chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting to peripheral IV catheter insertion. She is continuing her research through the National Institutes of Health, focusing on a multisite study that examines the implementation and support of clinical trials.

Oncology nurses throughout the country are stepping into more and more leadership roles, demonstrating the valuable, insightful perspectives they bring to the table. ONS is committed to helping members further their careers and undertake new leadership roles. If you’re interested in brushing up on your leadership skills, check out ONS’s Leadership Core Competencies.