Advocacy Working Group - Biographies
Patrick Crombez, Belgium, EONS Board Member (co-chair)
Patrick is Head Nurse of the Department of Hematology and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation at Jules Bordet Institute, Brussels, Belgium. He is Coordinator of the Nursing Cell of Evidence-based Practice and co-founder and organizer of the Biannual Meeting of Nurses in Oncology at J. Bordet Institute. He is senior lecturer in Nursing in Hematological Oncology and speaker at National and International Conferences and Congresses. He is president of the Belgian Oncology Nursing Society and co-president of the nursing committee of the Belgian Hematology Society. He is an active member of national and international organizations and has been an Executive Board Member of EONS since 2013.
Aoife McNamara, Ireland (co-chair)
Aoife Mc Namara is a registered general nurse with a bachelor of science degree in nursing and a graduate diploma in cancer care. She also holds an MSc in psycho-oncology. She works as Information Development Manager at the Irish Cancer Society. Aoife is a member of the National Executive Committee for the Irish Association for Nurses in Oncology, Co-ordinator of the Irish Lung Cancer Nurses Group and represents Ireland on the Global Lung Cancer Coalition. Special interests include psycho-oncology, lung cancer and cancer information development.
Graça Braz, Portugal
Graça achieved her nursing diploma in 1989, becoming a specialist nurse on “Health in the Community” in 1997. She has two Post graduations, one on ’Health Education” and another on ’Hospital Management and Administration”. She has been working on the Portuguese Oncology Institute - Oporto for 23 years, currently being the Chief-Nurse of the Outpatient Clinic. She is a member of the Portuguese Association of Nursing Oncology.
Sidsel Dragsbæk Holm, Denmark
Sidsel graduated as a Nurse in 2006 and has since been working as a Clinical Nurse in the Department of Oncology at Odense University Hospital, Denmark. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Nursing Science at the Institute of Public Health at Aarhus University. As part of her work she is involved in improving the quality of nursing care, with emphasis on palliative care and end-of-life care. Additional professional interests are patient education and interdisciplinary cooperation.
Halldóra Hálfdánardóttir, Iceland
Halldóra Hálfdánardóttir has been head nurse of the inpatient Oncology Department at Landspítali in Reykjavík, Iceland, since 2012. She has worked there since 2001, first as a registered nurse and then as an assistant head nurse. She was a board member of the Icelandic Oncology nursing society from 2010 to 2016. She was an international contact member of the board and attended four EONS advisory councils in this capacity. She received her Bsc degree in nursing from the University of Iceland in 2000. She also has a diploma in oncology nursing (gained 2006) and an MSc in nursing management (gained 2010), also from the University of Iceland.
Merel van Klinken, the Netherlands
Merel van Klinken graduated as a nurse in 2006. She has been working as a registered oncology nurse since 2009 and is currently also working as a palliative care nurse in a specialised oncology hospital. She holds an MSc in nursing sciences and is looking to improving the quality of palliative care in her own hospital setting. She’s also part of the team that analyses deaths that occur in admitted patients. As well as teaching oncology nurses, she teaches other disciplines in the hospital about palliative care. Merel is a member of the Netherlands Nursing Society and is an editorial member of the nursing magazine, Oncologica.
Johan De Munter, Belgium
Johan De Munter graduated as a nurse in 2001, then worked for five years as a registered nurse on a oncology haematology ward in a general hospital. He has two postgraduate qualifications, one as a nurse specialist in pain and one in oncology. In 2006 he started work as an oncology/haematology nurse consultant and in 2010 he transferred to University Hospital Ghent to work in the oncology department. He is still working there as a nurse consultant in the haematology/stem cell transplant unit. Professional interests include patient education, supportive care needs, survivorship and AYA care. He is president of the chemotherapy working group in the Flemish society for radiotherapy and oncology nurses. He is vice-president of the Belgian Haematology Society nurses committee.
Helen Pearson, UK
Helen is a Clinical Nurse Specialist for Solid Tumours for Children and Young People at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, UK. She qualified in 2006 initially with an Advanced Diploma in Paediatric Nursing, completing the top-up to BN (hons) in 2007. Academically, since then Helen has had various publications, completed an MSc Advanced Practice in Cancer Care and gained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Children’s Advance Nurse Practitioner. She is currently in the early stages of her PhD researching parental decision making when a child has relapse Neuroblastoma. Clinically, Helen is involved with audits, teaching and is in the process of setting up nurse-led clinics. Helen has worked in oncology for nearly 10 years in both the Public and Private sectors and is a member of Children’s Cancer Leukaemia Group and European Society of Paediatric Oncology.
Theologia Tsitsi, Cyprus
Theologia started her nursing career in 1993. She has a Bsc and Msc in Nursing Science from UK universities, an MA in Healthcare Management from the Cyprus Open University and a PhD in Oncology Nursing from the Cyprus University of Technology. She is a member of Special Teaching Staff in the Nursing Department of the CUT, on secondment from the Cyprus Ministry of Health. Her PhD was on the effectiveness of relaxation techniques in reducing anxiety in parents of children being treated for cancer. Her research interests continue to be focused on the psychological wellbeing of parents whose children have cancer.
Helena has been an oncology nurse since 1995, and has regional responsibility for head & neck cancer in a new nursing role in Sweden, Regional Cancer Center, Stockholm-Gotland. She is also starting as a nurse leader in research and development, in the cancer clinic at Karolinska University Hospital. Helena has a MSc in palliative care, and is in the process of starting a PhD at Karolinska Institute. She is a board member of Swedish Nursing Society, with a special interest in advocacy. Personal interests are symptom management, integration and organisation of cancer care, as well as developing advanced nursing roles in cancer care.
Emma Woodford, UK - Observer
Emma is EONS’ Chief Executive Officer. She is an experienced senior advocate and programme manager with more than 20 years’ experience in the charity/NGO sector. Early in her career, Emma worked on community development projects in Vietnam and Thailand and then moved to Brussels where she became a health advocate at the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL). There she worked with cancer nurses, prevention managers and oncologists on a number of projects, including facilitating the MEPS Against Cancer group in the European Parliament. After ECL, she went on to be Interim Secretary General of the European Public Health Alliance. She later worked as an EU Senior Advisor for the International Diabetes Federation for Europe.