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Connie Henke Yarbro Oncology Nursing History Center Commemorates the Legacy of Oncology Nurses

(May 1, 2024) PITTSBURGH, PA - ONS founding member Connie Henke Yarbro, MS, RN, FAAN, has long been committed to sharing the stories and impact of cancer nurses. In support of that commitment, she and her late husband, Dr. John Yarbro, made a leading gift for the creation of a first-of-its-kind oncology nursing history center.

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) and Oncology Nursing Foundation announced the naming of the Connie Henke Yarbro Oncology Nursing History Center in honor of the Yarbros’ legacy at the 49th Annual ONS Congress® in Washington, DC, last week. 

The decision to support the Oncology Nursing History Center comes from my deep belief in the importance of our history,” Yarbro said. “It is not just about remembering the past; it is about promoting our future. By understanding where we have been, we empower where we are going.”

Yarbro’s influence on oncology nursing and cancer care reaches local, national, and international levels, and her generosity in mentoring oncology nurses has left an indelible mark on the profession. Oncology nurses like her have long been on the forefront of health care, driving innovation, providing compassionate care, and advocating for patients throughout their cancer journey. The Connie Henke Yarbro Oncology Nursing History Center honors those oncology nursing pioneers, recognizing their pivotal role in shaping the profession and transforming cancer care.

“The outstanding historical role of oncology nurses in the development of the profession and their impact on cancer care is a cause for celebration,” Angie Stengel, executive director of the Oncology Nursing Foundation, said. “We believe it is time to honor the pioneers who pushed the frontiers of cancer science and care, highlight the role they continue to play in advancing the specialty and reflect on our history as we plan for the future.”

An innovative, interactive, and engaging space, the Connie Henke Yarbro Oncology Nursing History Center showcases the rich legacy of oncology nursing. Through its comprehensive collection, visitors can explore the remarkable advancements made by oncology nurses that have shaped the entire field of cancer care. Exhibits will have a physical presence at the ONS National Office in Pittsburgh, PA, and virtually on a website that will provide access to the Center’s entire collection. Both highlight the profound influence of oncology nurses across health care and their integral role in driving advancements as new therapies and care practices emerge from their groundbreaking research.

“By acknowledging the full history of oncology nursing at the Center, visitors will understand how far the profession has come and be inspired by all that the future holds,” ONS Chief Executive Officer Brenda Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN, said.  

 Stay tuned for more information on the Connie Henke Yarbro Oncology Nursing History Center or get involved by making a gift today.

ONS is a professional association that represents 100,000 nurses and is the professional home to more than 35,000 members. ONS is committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and the transformation of cancer care. Since 1975, ONS has provided a professional community for oncology nurses, developed evidence-based education programs and treatment information, and advocated for patient care, all to improve quality of life and outcomes for patients with cancer and their families. Learn more at 

The Oncology Nursing Society created the Oncology Nursing Foundation in 1981 to accept charitable contributions to advance important activities on behalf of oncology nursing. The mission of the Oncology Nursing Foundation is to support oncology nursing excellence. Thanks to the generosity of individuals and institutions over the years, the Oncology Nursing Foundation has awarded more than $32 million in funding since its inception for oncology nursing education, research, and leadership development, giving nurses the opportunity to pursue excellence in delivering care to patients with cancer. 

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Media Contact: 
Lori Reda