2011 Lane Adams Quality of Life Award Recipients
Richard L. Deming, MD
Medical Director, Mercy Cancer Center, Des Moines, Iowa
Dr. Richard Deming’s days start early and end late. This rigorous schedule is not one imposed by the facility; instead, it comes from Dr. Deming’s personal commitment to making sure that he’s available to every patient who may need him.
Dr. Deming keeps his commitment to assisting cancer patients even outside of working hours as a volunteer, serving on numerous leadership boards, including the Midwest Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society and as chair of the Iowa State Leadership Council.
And just this May, Dr. Deming led a group of cancer survivors to Mount Everest in Nepal as part of an event called “Above & Beyond: Cancer Survivors Trek to Everest,” in order to demonstrate the adversity that cancer survivors face – and how they can conquer it. This is not a man who simply talks the talk about longtime wellness and quality of life after cancer, he walks the walk.
Karen Haughey, RN, OCN
Clinical Nurse, Alliance Hematology Oncology, Westminster, Maryland
Karen Haughey has always shown an unflagging commitment to the people in her care, often checking in on them during evenings and weekends, spending time on the phone with patients or caregivers who are struggling, and sitting with families for hours providing counseling and support as their loved ones take their final breaths. When one of her patients was rushed to the hospital on a family vacation, the patient’s young children called her long distance for support; when they were frightened and unsure her voice was the one they most wanted to hear.
Recognizing the impact that having a supportive community can have on quality of life, too, she also helped found the Baltimore Cancer Support Group, a highly successful program that helps address the needs of patients, and has worked to create additional groups for families, teens, and those in bereavement. When she sees a need that is not being met, Karen rarely backs down. When she sees a patient who needs assistance, she never walks away. Instead, she goes out of her way to help, always working to extending the “warm hand of service.”
Kim Jensen, LCSW, OSW-C
Oncology Social Worker, Northwest Community Hospital, Arlington Heights, Illinois
In her role as an oncology social worker to say that Kim Jensen is a multi-tasker is most certainly an understatement. While her primary responsibility is providing crisis counseling to patients and families she also serves as a liaison to staff in the hospital’s Ambulatory Infusion Clinic, Radiation Oncology Unit, and the Breast Center.
When she discovered that patients and staff needed an easy way to find out more about all the resources and help available, she thought to create an easy-to-use binder and calendar as references – simple solutions that made a big difference. When she found that patients with MDS, a rare syndrome that particularly impacts the elderly, seemed underserved by the regular support groups in place, she started up a group for the disease. Today, it is the only hospital MDS support group in the state, and some of its many devoted members travel many miles to attend.
After taking part in a study that evaluated the use of wellness coaching on the quality of life, Kim took it upon herself to become a certified wellness coach, and she now offers her services free of charge to every cancer survivor who might feel lost after treatment ends.
John R. McClelland Jr. (deceased)
Oncology Outreach Volunteer, Former Vice President of Trust Operations
Pennsylvania Trust Company, Wayne, Pennsylvania
Inspired by the excellence in medical and nursing care and the compassion of John’s medical team, he asked the hospital administration if he could put his business skills and his understanding of life as a cancer patient to good use as a volunteer. He soon was appointed to the cancer committee as an oncology community research volunteer, and eventually became the first patient to volunteer and join the Bryn Mawr Hospital Bio-Ethics Committee. He became an advocate for new service programs that emphasized complementary therapies and palliative care, even helping to create new offerings where there was a need. He also became a staunch advocate for cancer funding, and twice took part in the national broadcast for Stand Up to Cancer, a television event designed to help raise funds for cancer organizations.
He was also an advocate for cancer patients, encouraging people with cancer to get involved with their care and with the cancer cause. He not only helped patients get access to the right resources, but he also worked to empower them to speak up and to make decisions for themselves in partnership with the treatment team. He encouraged them to support others facing cancer, too. “John’s passion was and is contagious,” says a colleague, who says she may not have been inspired to share her story and help others if it were not for him.
Sadly, the illness that inspired John’s remarkable service to the cancer community has come to rob us of his presence. John McClelland lost his life to colon cancer on March 24 of this year. However, he has left behind an indelible legacy that will continue to improve the quality of life for patients and their families and will help change the face of cancer care for the better for years to come.
Maria del Carmen Pacheco Nazario, MA Ed, LCPC, CM
Counselor, Loaiza Cordero del Rosario High School, Yauco, Puerto Rico
According to Maria del Carmen Pacheco Nazario, her two passions in life are service and learning. As a volunteer, Carmen has served in numerous roles at the American Cancer Society, from working as chairperson of a unit operating board to helping to organize, motivate, and lead a committee of volunteers as a volunteer manager for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. She’s given her time as a media advocate, educating people about important cancer education programs such as I Can Cope, and has even helped spread the word about cancer research as a recruiter for the Sister Study and as a coordinator for promotion and planning for the Society’s Cancer Prevention Study-3 events.
Her volunteer spirit has indeed made a difference, but her greatest impact has come from her one-on-one connections with people facing cancer and her determination to bring quality of life issues to the forefront. As breast cancer survivor of 18 years, she shares her experience and strives to bring comfort to women facing breast cancer through the Society’s Reach to Recovery program.
Ellen F. Parks, RN, OCN, CNIV
Nurse Clinician, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
Nurse clinician Ellen Parks is known for her commitment to improving patients’ quality of life in a way that goes well beyond her clinical duties. She has become a resident expert in the American Cancer Society’s programs and services, often referring patients to them, and she works diligently to take care of any needs that aren’t already being met. For example, after a patient asked her to stop his chemotherapy so that he could catch the last bus from the treatment center, Parks vowed a situation like that would never happen again. She took it upon herself to bring this challenge to hospital leadership, and her efforts soon ignited responses from others in the community. The end result was 40 new volunteer drivers for the Society’s Road to Recovery program, who now offer patients free rides to and from treatment when they need it.
She has also made her mark as an enthusiastic American Cancer Society volunteer for many years, and has given her time as a member of the State board, as chair of the Cancer Information and Resource committee, as chair of the Field Development committee, as a Relay For Life chair, and as an ambassador and advocacy representative at Celebration on the Hill. Partnering with institutions both large and small, knowing what patients need, helping to fill those gaps by improving programs, developing programs, influencing polices, or raising money, Ellen puts her heart into everything she does.”
Joseph G. Pressey, MD
Director, Developmental Therapeutics, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
Hearing the words “your child has cancer” is perhaps one of the most frightening things a parent can endure. Having a doctor who offers both comforting support and expert care can do a lot to make that news less frightening. Dr. Joseph Pressey is one such doctor.
Despite his expertise, he is never satisfied to pigeonhole patients into a treatment program. Instead, he is quick to take time to research protocols and contact other institutions to gather and share information on the cancers he sees. He is frequently seen staying late and talking with families, especially new families who may have questions or fears that need to be addressed. He has earned praise from the psycho-social support staff with whom he works for addressing his patients’ emotional, social, and mental well-being as well as their physical treatment needs. Dr. Pressey’s overriding concern and outstanding devotion to the kids in his care do more than just improve quality of life; they help make an unbearable situation bearable for his young patients and their families.
Janine D. Primomo, RN, MSN
Nurse Manager, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital, San Antonio, Texas
Janine has volunteered at the American Cancer Society’s Camp Discovery program for more than two decades. She started as a volunteer nurse, and has risen through the ranks to medical co-director for the camp as a whole. Each summer, she oversees the “Band-Aid Box,” the on-site health care facility that handles campers’ treatments in addition to addressing the regular issues of bug bites, scrapes, bruises, sunburn, and headaches that campers and counselors face all summer. The time and energy she gives to her local camp have helped countless kids gain confidence and experience the support of others who know firsthand what it’s like to live with childhood cancer.
Janine is certainly no stranger to providing this same kind of life-changing help to kids in her professional life. Her compassion, skill at delivering quality care, and commitment to quality of life issues shine as she leads a team of nurses at this facility. Through her work she has, in the words of a colleague, “consistently provided the leadership that has allowed our program to provide the type of comprehensive care that is the envy of many other programs.” She is looked upon as an inspiration and role model to her team, encouraging the people around her to give their best and further their education so they might have the greatest impact on the patients they see.
Richard Siefke, MSW
Social Worker, Sutter Solano Medical Center, Vallejo, California.
A coworker describes Rick this way: “[He] is one of the most compassionate and caring individuals I have ever encountered, and will help any patient in need, regardless of whether they are being treated in the facility where he is employed.” His main concern is only to connect people with critical resources, regardless of how they seek him out, and his open-hearted policy of service is well known. One of the things that makes Rick exceptional is that he works especially hard to serve the caregiver as well as patient, making sure to communicate the all-important message that “you can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself first.”
Rick is also known for his extremely close partnership with the American Cancer Society, both as a volunteer and as a champion of the Society’s services. He has also coordinated and publicized Look Good…Feel Better programs, facilitated I Can Cope classes, promoted Daffodil Days, and given his time as a dedicated Relay For Life volunteer. When patients he has influenced look for ways to give back, the first place he sends them is American Cancer Society, which allows him – and them – to impact even more people touched by cancer.
Christina M. Tafe, MSN, ACNP-BC, CCRN, ACHPN
Nurse Practitioner, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, D.C.
As a clinical palliative care nurse practitioner at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., Christina Tafe works tirelessly to manage the multiple, complex symptoms of chronically ill patients with cancer. Her unrelenting drive to serve as the patient’s advocate at all times has distinguished her as a role model for those who work with her, and patients and coworkers alike have repeatedly acknowledged her skills at delivering extraordinary care. She has even worked to develop an innovative pain feedback system that has, in the words of a patient, helped “to give hope and newfound function and happiness to cancer patients as they face all the ramifications of chronic pain.”
Christina has also spent much time coordinating an exceptional interdisciplinary teaching program at Georgetown University. Through this program, she teaches others how to best serve people’s palliative care needs in both hospital and in-patient hospice settings. This program delivers knowledge well beyond the realm of nursing; Christina works to include social workers and chaplains as part of the course so that students can learn from their valuable perspectives as well.
Shelby A. Terstriep, MD
Medical Director, Embraced Survivorship Program
Sanford Health Roger Maris Cancer Center, Fargo, North Dakota
From the start, Dr. Terstriep’s devotion to survivorship was already evident; she applied for a grant to help fund her idea for a survivorship support project even before she began her first day of work. Working hand in hand with people directly impacted by cancer, Dr. Terstriep nursed her fledging idea into a full-fledged support program known as Embrace. Today, Embrace serves a substantial audience of survivors through a lecture series, an e-newsletter, and a yearly survivorship picnic that brings together the survivor community face to face.
Working to bring hope for new, more advanced treatments, she is quick to alert people to clinical trials and has orchestrated innovative visits between patients and a multidisciplinary group of professionals such as nutritionists, oncologists, psychologists, and social workers to help ensure patients and families have the full range of their needs met. Says a colleague, “Dr. Shelby Terstriep is an inspiration to all who work with her, not only for the passion she exudes for her work, but for the example she sets for all of us.