• Melanoma Nursing Initiative Launches to Support Early Recognition and Management of Side Effects From Immunotherapy and Targeted Therapies

    Richmond, CA December 15, 2017—The AIM at Melanoma Foundation, in collaboration with Terranova Medica, LLC, announces the launch of The Melanoma Nursing Initiative (MNI), a comprehensive resource created for oncology nurses and advance practice providers to assist them in providing optimal outcomes for patients with melanoma. With content on checkpoint immunotherapies, targeted therapies, and intralesional therapies, the initiative features the Care Step Pathways (CSPs)—uniquely designed tools to aid nurses in the recognition, grading, and management of side effects associated with melanoma therapies.

    The initiative’s website,, serves as a 1-stop shop for all MNI materials. It houses the MNI consensus statements (featuring the CSPs) as published in a recent 7-article supplement to the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing (CJON). The site also contains comprehensive nurse toolkits on newer melanoma therapies for use in the in-practice setting as well as customized companion patient resources, with key information on dosing, administration, side effects, and educational and financial resources. The side-effect search functionality enables healthcare providers to search for side-effect management strategies via text-based searches supporting both telephone triage and in-office assessments.  News feeds also help the learner keep up with the recent advances in melanoma management. Finally, the Q/A portal provides an expert-led discussion board for real-time exchange among professionals regarding day-to-day issues encountered in the clinic. The content is available for both online viewing and download/print across a range of devices.

    The initiative was developed to meet several goals—the most pressing being the need to improve the early recognition and management of the side effects associated with newer melanoma therapies, particularly in the community setting. According to Valerie Guild, MBA, President and Cofounder of the AIM at Melanoma Foundation, “Today, we are seeing a large shift in the management of melanoma—more than 80% of patients are being treated in the community setting, by clinical teams who manage a variety of tumors and may see relatively few melanoma cases. Added to that is the challenge of identifying and treating the side effects of the newer melanoma therapies, many of which are unique, immune-mediated, and very different from those seen with chemotherapy. As a result, there is a huge unmet educational need for clear, concise, and easy-to-access education for these busy community-based professionals.”

    To meet this challenge, the MNI Board, under the leadership of melanoma expert Krista Rubin, MS, FNP-BC, Nurse Practitioner, Center for Melanoma, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, developed up-to-date and practical educational materials. The Nursing Board, which first met in October 2016 in Chicago, is composed of a distinguished group of oncology nurses who are experts in targeted/immunologic melanoma therapies. Also lending their expertise to the initiative are expert melanoma physicians, community-based nurses, nursing education experts, and patient advocates/patients who reviewed the content. According to physician affiliate John M. Kirkwood, MD, Director of the Melanoma Center at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, “I am pleased to be a part of this initiative, which ties in well with our continued effort to support the collaborative care nursing model, which we spearheaded at Pittsburgh many years ago. We see advanced practice providers—such as my esteemed colleagues on this initiative—as the front lines of the oncology practice. Our nursing and physician assistant colleagues do an excellent job tackling these challenging side effects—which are the second most important issue to nurses and patients, behind survival.”

    Chairperson Krista Rubin recently commented on the impressive momentum behind this group and its innovative approach to this challenge. “The emergence of immunotherapy (specifically the checkpoint inhibitors) as a mainstay treatment for advanced melanoma highlights the importance of nursing involvement in the care of patients on these therapies. Never before has the field witnessed such a rapidly evolving and dramatic paradigm shift in the availability of effective therapies for so many patients. While oncology nurses are thought of as experts in these areas, the toxicity associated with checkpoint inhibitors and the associated management strategies vastly differ from traditional chemotherapy.  The MNI faculty have a wealth of experience using these regimens and are in the best position to provide the expert guidance on their optimal use. That is the idea of the initiative—to empower our nursing colleagues in the community with the necessary information and tools to provide the best care possible for patients receiving immunotherapy.”      

    In the near future, a continuing education initiative will launch contextualize the educational resources through case-based applications. Other enhancements to the site are also planned, as are collaborations for broader distribution to community and advanced practice provider groups. To date, the initiative has received funding through unrestricted educational grants and patient advocacy grants from Amgen, Array, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Incyte, Merck, and Novartis.

    About AIM at Melanoma

    AIM at Melanoma is the largest international melanoma foundation globally engaged and locally invested in advancing the battle against melanoma through innovative research, legislative reform, education, and patient and caregiver support. In terms of innovation in melanoma research, AIM employs groundbreaking international research initiatives and unparalleled tools and resources in the battle for the cure. In terms of global engagement and advocacy, AIM makes a difference globally through education and advocacy efforts such as the International Melanoma Working Group (IMWG), an expert think tank involving a worldwide group of melanoma experts. Finally, in terms of education and support, AIM provides answers, information, and support for everyone touched by melanoma.

    About Terranova Medica:

    Terranova Medica, LLC, is a medical education company whose mission is to deliver high-quality educational initiatives to meet the needs of the healthcare professional, with a special emphasis on interactive e-learning in infectious diseases and oncology. Terranova’s principal, Lisa Tushla, PhD, conducted melanoma basic science research with Tom Kieber-Emmons at the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked with Dr. John Kirkwood on melanoma educational initiatives for over 23 years and was also involved with the development of the Melanoma Care Coalition at PharmAdura (now Paradigm Medical Communications), for which she received an Alliance for Continuing Education award for outstanding collaboration. With a broader experience in oncology, Terranova has been collaborating with AIM at Melanoma on various initiatives since 2009, including seminal publication support for manuscripts published in Cancer, Journal of Surgical Oncology, and Melanoma Research


    Media Contacts:

    For AIM at Melanoma: Valerie Guild, 415-305-0060,

    For Terranova Medica: Tom Davis, 877-276-4523,