ONS Leadership

ONS is governed by our President Nancy Houlihan, MA, RN, AOCN®; an elected Board of Directors; and Chief Executive Officer Brenda Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN. These dedicated representatives set our strategic direction so that we can best influence oncology nursing and the care of patients with cancer. Each leader has a long history of involvement with ONS, and together, they combine decades of experience in nursing practice, research, administration, and nonprofit leadership.

Nancy Houlihan, MA, RN, AOCN®

Nancy Houlihan, MA, RN, AOCN®

Nancy Houlihan, MA, RN, AOCN®, is president of the Oncology Nursing Society. She worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York, NY for 11 years in various roles, and is a member of the New York City ONS Chapter. Houlihan has been an oncology nurse for her entire career.

She achieved her bachelor of nursing science from Hunter College City University and her master of arts in nursing as a graduate of Teachers College, Columbia University, both in New York, NY. At MSKCC, Houlihan has worked in several clinical and administrative positions, including Director of Nursing, Evidence-based practice, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Clinical Program Manager for the Cancer Survivorship Program, and Nurse Leader for the Breast and Imaging Center. She was also a member of MSKCC’s Executive Nursing Council.

Houlihan has been an active ONS member for more than 20 years. She served as a member and officer with her local New York City ONS Chapter, was a member of the Society’s 2009 Cancer Survivorship Task Force, was chair of ONS’s Nominating Committee in 2011, served on the Congress Planning Team from 2013–2014, and was the Board representative for the Society’s Leadership Development Initiative Think Tank in 2019.

Houlihan was elected by the ONS Board of Directors to serve as the ONS President from 2020-2022.

Brenda Nevidjon, RN, MSN, FAAN

Chief Executive Officer
Brenda Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN

Brenda Marion Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS).  Prior to joining the ONS staff, she had an extraordinary nursing career of leadership in service and education.  Through diverse clinical and administrative experiences in Canada, Switzerland, and the United States, she has devoted her energy to bridging practice settings and academic environments to advance patient care, creating innovative work environments, promoting scholarship in practitioners, and developing leaders.  After two decades in oncology clinical and administrative settings, she transitioned to health care executive practice, culminating with her being the first nurse and the first woman to be chief operating officer of Duke University Hospital. Immediately prior to her position at ONS, she was a professor at Duke University School of Nursing.   

Nevidjon has helped develop professional nursing organizations at the local, national, and international levels.  She is past president of ONS and the Oncology Nursing Foundation.  Other board service has included the Association of Community Cancer Centers, the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care, and the National Cancer Policy Forum. Her bachelors is from Duke University School of Nursing, masters from University of North Carolina School of Nursing, and doctoral study at the Fielding Graduate Institute and Duke.  In addition to being a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, she completed the Johnson & Johnson - Wharton Fellows Program in Management for Nurse Executives and the Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Executive Program. Among her awards are the Duke University School of Nursing Distinguished Alumni Award, the ONS Trish Greene Quality of Life Memorial Lectureship, and the American Nursing Association’s Honorary Recognition Award for sustained contribution to the nursing profession.

2021 ONS Board Members

Board of Directors

The ONS Board of Directors is a dedicated group of professionals who serve three-year terms and meet monthly to guide the strategic direction of the Society. Together, they represent decades of experience in oncology nursing clinical care, education, research, and leadership.

To contact members of the Board, please email onsboard@ons.org.

Nancy Houlihan, MA, RN, AOCN®
President (2020-2022)
Director-at-Large (2019-2022)
New York, NY

Darcy Burbage, DNP, RN, AOCN®, CBCN
Secretary (2021-2023)
Director-at-Large (2020-2023)
Newark, DE

Valerie Burger, MA, MS, RN, OCN®, CPN
Treasurer (2021-2023)
Director-at-Large (2021-2024)
Bellmore, NY

Kristin Ferguson, DNP, RN, OCN®
Director-at-Large (2019-2022)
Washington, DC 

Martha (Marty) Polovich, PhD, RN
Director-at-Large (2019-2022)
Jonesboro, GA

Jeannine M. Brant, PhD, APRN, AOCN®, FAAN
Director-at-Large (2020-2023)
Billings, MT

Danya Garner, MSN, RN, OCN®, CCRN-K®, NPD-BC
Director-at-Large (2021-2024)
Houston, TX

Patricia Geddie, PhD, APRN, AOCNS®, FCNS
Director-at-Large (2021-2024)
Winter Park, FL

Teresa Knoop, MSN, RN, AOCN®
Director-at-Large (2020-2023)
Brentwood, TN

Laura Fennimore, DNP, RN, NEA-BC
Immediate Past President (2020-2022)
Pittsburgh, PA

Leadership Development Committee

The Leadership Development Committee consists of seven members, appointed by the ONS Board of Directors, who oversee all of ONS's leadership development initiatives. The committee's objectives are to:

  • Identify potential and emerging leaders within the ONS membership 
  • Support and mentor members interested in national leadership 
  • Provide leadership and governance resources 
  • Recruit and slate candidates for the ONS Board of Directors 
  • Oversee the ONS election process according to the operating procedures

Additionally, the committee is an advocate of voting among our membership and continuously looks for innovative ways to increase voting during our national elections. Get more information about the ONS Election and the candidate materials.

Committee Members 

Donald “Chip” Bailey, PhD, RN, FAAN
Committee Chair (2021-2022)
Durham, NC 

Michele Gaguski, MSN, RN, AOCN®, CHPN, NE-BC, APN
Committee Member (2019-2022)
Somers Point, NJ

Susan Newton, MS, APRN
Committee Member (2019-2022)
Dayton, OH 

Barbara Holmes Gobel, MS, RN, AOCN, FAAN 
Committee Member (2020-2023)
Western Springs, IL 

Marlon Garzo Saria, PhD, RN, FAAN 
Committee Member (2020-2023)
Santa Monica, CA 

Angela Adjetey Appiah, RN, MA, MSN MPH, COA, FAACM
Committee Member (2021 - 2024)
Tappan, NY

Annette Galassi, RN, MA, OCN
Committee Member (2021 - 2024)
Rockville, MD