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Society of Gynecologic Nurse Oncologists


Greetings all,

As the newly elected President of SGNO, I’d like to introduce myself.  Before I delve into my background and my vision for SGNO, I want to address the cancellation of the SGNO 2020 Symposium in Nashville due to the COVID19 crisis.  Many of us had plans to attend the SGNO meeting in Nashville this past March.  A pandemic came upon us, and all was tipped over. SGNO is truly sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment that was caused by our executive decision to cancel the symposium on such short notice.  SGNO leadership continues to work on issues related to the cancellation, and we are truly sorry.

I would like to take a few moments to tell you about myself and my vision for SGNO as we move forward. I graduated from the School of Nursing at Georgia State University in 1992. I have had a rich and colorful nursing career.  I have been fortunate to work in pediatric and adult critical care, community health, and pediatric and adult oncology.  I currently manage an outpatient Gynecologic Oncology practice at Maine Medical Center in Portland. This is the only GYN Oncology practice in the entire state of Maine. This responsibility is not lost on me.  We are very fortunate to have three Nurse Practitioners and five Gynecologic Oncologists on our team. I am proud to live in the great state of Maine and I could not imagine living elsewhere. I am a mother of two truly amazing teenagers named Sean and Adele.  I am blessed to also share my life with my significant other Bob. My hobbies include hiking, boating, skiing, yoga, and gardening – pretty much anything that involves being active in the outdoors.

There is no parallel for what we are experiencing with the COVID19 pandemic. We all have needed to work in ways we have never imagined before.  There isn’t a soul on this planet who hasn’t been impacted by the pandemic. I continue to be in awe at the level of adaptability and resiliency of the healthcare workforce. Nurses have traditionally had the reputation of moving mountains and making it all happen with little resource.  I feel this reputation continues to be well earned.  I am proud to be a nurse.

I am also proud to be an active member of SGNO. My experience attending SGNO symposiums has been enriching and inspirational.  Frankly, the meeting atmosphere feels like a homecoming of sorts – almost like a warm and comforting blanket. I have looked forward to attending the symposium each year. I was quite sad that the decision had to be made to cancel the 2020 SGNO symposium which was to take place in Nashville. An enormous amount of effort went into planning each and every detail of the symposium that never happened. I would like to extend a special thank you to Dana DeMoss, Sarah Eder, and Carol Prone for their above and beyond commitment and efforts for the Nashville meeting.  I remember commenting to colleagues stating the caliber of the SGNO Nashville planned itinerary had exceeded all limits of expectations. I am so sorry none of us could experience it.

Having said that, the SGNO 2021 symposium will take place in St. Louis. Gina Pace is the Program Chair for the meeting in St. Louis.  I had the great pleasure of meeting Gina in St. Louis this past September when I traveled there to participate in the site visit.  I found St. Louis to be beautiful and friendly beyond measure. I feel how much St. Louis wishes to host an inspirational symposium for GYN Oncology nurses. The symposium will take place March 17 – 20, 2021 at Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta. . The venue is a classic, and even includes a movie theater. The space for our meeting rooms was hand-picked and has a spectacular view of the city.

I have no idea what our healthcare landscape will look post pandemic. What I know for sure is the fact that nurses are strong, creative, and resilient. Nurses are at the forefront of creating our new world, and that gives me great comfort.

A most special thank you to the entire SGNO Board of Directors.  We needed to make a difficult and heartbreaking decision about the 2020 symposium in a very short period of time.  I am humbled at the level of thought and care of each and every board member.

SGNO is near and dear to my heart. I have been inspired and supported in the best possible ways by my fellow SGNO colleagues. I am humbled to take the baton and serve as your President for the next two years.

Please stay safe and be well…and meet me in St. Louis!



Cyndi O’Brien RN, BSN, OCN