By Michelle Santizo, RN, ONS Member and graduate resident RN at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital

Last month it was my pleasure, as an ONS Capitol Gang member and an active member of the National Capitol Chapter, to represent oncology nurses at the annual Once Voice Against Cancer (OVAC) Hill Day. It was an incredible adventure. The first day was filled with training and networking with other cancer advocates. We then marched up to Capitol Hill to meet with our U.S. senators and representatives. 

More than 100 people from across the country attended. My group met with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rob Portman (R-OH), both of whom have been mentioned as potential vice presidential running mates for their respective parties. OVAC’s goal is to educate elected officials and their staff on the importance of continued federal funding for cancer research, education, workforce providers, and public health campaigns. We spoke about Health Resource and Service Administration funding for Title VIII, National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute funding increases, and of course the president’s new cancer moonshot initiative

Although it is an election year and politics are often strained, we did not hear much about it. All the offices recognized that our mission was to talk about what we do—especially as oncology nurses—in the care of patients with cancer. It is an amazing opportunity for me to be able to speak directly to decision makers about the role of the nurse in health care and in cancer treatment. 

As an active member of ONS in Washington, DC, I have been able to attend several congressional briefings, lectures, and lobby days. I am humbled, but thrilled, to be engaged as an ONS advocate. I will continue to be a voice for oncology nurses everywhere and encourage you to do the same!