These continue to be challenging times, and ONS has a robust health policy and advocacy program, based in Washington, DC, to address public health issues that are relevant to oncology nurses and the patients for whom they care.
Although ONS has had to evolve into a stronger virtual advocate, our leadership, members, and staff have engaged decision-makers online, and we remain that trusted resource in the legislative and federal regulatory environments. Our elected officials know and respect ONS, seeking out oncology nurses to review and endorse important health policy topics. We have a seat at the table and speak truth to power about our agenda.
This year, ONS presented its President’s Award to two leaders with whom the Society has cultivated a strong relationship. You may have heard from them in the past for their bipartisan support in promoting the 21st Century Cures Act, and more recently it’s second iteration, known as Cures 2.0.
This legislation promoted federal investment in agencies like the NIH to find breakthroughs for cancer and other diseases. Rare are these leaders who see past party and seek to find real solutions, especially in healthcare.
Congresswoman Diana DeGette, from Colorado, is in her thirteenth term, is responsible for overseeing some of the nation’s most important federal agencies–including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In her role as chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, DeGette has become a leading figure in overseeing our nation's health agencies as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the EPA is properly enforcing the nation’s environmental laws, and lowering the cost of insulin for the millions of Americans who rely on it every day. She was also instrumental in expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health insurance to low-income children. She has worked in concert with U.S. Representative Fred Upton on many of these initiatives.
Congressman Fred Upton represents Southwest Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District. For six years, he was chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. He has long been an advocate for a greater emphasis on biomedical research to improve the public health. In 2014, along with Congresswoman DeGette, he launched the 21st Century Cures initiative. This bipartisan effort aims to bring researchers, industry, and patients together to speed up the discovery, development, and delivery of life-saving cures. Marking the culmination of a three-year journey, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law in 2016. Representative Upton has led the effort to ensure seniors keep access to their physicians and low-income children keep their insurance coverage. Later, the president signed into law H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, strengthens Medicare, funds community health centers, and extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).