Illinois 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leaders Award Winner Highlight: Annie Lally

Meet Annie Lally, a Program Manager for Lung Cancer Screening at Rush University. Annie is an empowering leader in the fight against Lung Cancer. She has been nominated for the class of 2023 Illinois Nurses Foundation 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leaders Award. Designed to highlight young nurses that are making a lasting difference in the healthcare industry, this award celebrates those who shape the future of nursing.

Annie Lally: Empowering Change in Lung Cancer Screening and Prevention

In healthcare, there are individuals whose passion, dedication, and innovation go above and beyond, leading to significant advancements in patient care and community well-being. One such individual is Annie Lally, an emerging nurse leader whose exceptional work in lung cancer screening and prevention has earned her national recognition. 

A Leading Force in Lung Cancer Screening and Prevention

Lung cancer remains one of the most deadly cancers worldwide. However, with a focus on screening, early detection, and treatment, the number of lives claimed by this devastating disease is declining. Annie Lally is a leader in a multidisciplinary team dedicated to lung cancer screening and prevention. She has been instrumental in driving this positive change. Under her guidance, the program has received the prestigious honor of being recognized as a Center of Excellence by the GO2 Foundation.

Recognizing smoking as the greatest predisposing factor for lung cancer, Annie has been actively involved in the RUSH Prevention Center’s Courage to Quit Smoking Cessation program. The program’s virtual option was reintroduced after being paused during the pandemic, catering to a broader audience and increasing its impact in helping patients quit smoking.

Overcoming Challenges and Breaking Stigmas

Lung cancer faces a significant challenge due to its stigma, leading to low screening rates among eligible patients. Annie and her team of health professionals have tackled this issue head-on. By collaborating with stakeholders across the healthcare system and within the community, they have managed to more than triple the number of screenings, from 993 in 2021 to an impressive 3173 in 2023.

An Innovative Partnership with the Chicago Fire Department

One notable achievement of Annie and her team is a collaboration with the Chicago Fire Department. This initiative addresses that lung cancer can be linked to environmental and occupational exposures, making it vital to extend screening eligibility to these individuals. They successfully negotiated an agreement with the union to cover the costs of lung screenings for current and retired members, benefiting 1354 members to date.

Streamlining Workflows and Enhancing Patient Experience

Annie’s leadership skills are evident in her ability to establish unique workflows and enhance patient experiences. She worked closely with various departments to develop and manage a seamless process. Additionally, partnering with the Epic and IS teams streamlined the navigator workflow and facilitated easier physician ordering, making lung cancer screening more accessible and efficient.

Supporting Groundbreaking Research

Annie’s dedication to the cause extends beyond her immediate sphere of influence. She actively supports patient enrollment in the CASTL (Cessation and Screening to Save Lives) study, led by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which involves 18 nationwide programs. The study aims to design the most effective smoking cessation package for screening programs, which can have a far-reaching impact on lung cancer prevention.

Annie has also been involved in the Chinese-American Outreach Project, focusing on increasing lung cancer screening rates among the Chinese-American population. By utilizing a Chinese SDM tool and reaching out to primary care physicians, Annie aims to break down barriers and improve screening rates within this community.

A True Leader in Action

Annie Lally’s commitment to patient care and community well-being is not confined to her professional domain. In an incident on the NW side of Chicago in the fall of 2022, she demonstrated true leadership by managing a scene where aggressive individuals attacked pedestrians. Annie provided vital context to first responders and hospital personnel, ensuring proper care and justice were served.

Annie Lally: Empowering Communities and Saving Lives in the Fight Against Lung Cancer

Annie Lally’s journey as an emerging nurse leader in lung cancer screening and prevention exemplifies the power of innovation, collaboration, and dedication in bringing about positive change in healthcare. Her remarkable achievements have saved lives and empowered communities in the fight against lung cancer. As the co-chair of the Lung Screening Network and a member of the Oncology Nursing Society, Annie continues to inspire and lead the way toward a future with greater hope and healthier communities. The entire team enthusiastically supports her well-deserved recognition and honors her for her outstanding contributions.

Congratulations to Annie Lally and Rush University for this prestigious honor! The Illinois Nurses Foundation 40 Under 40 Award for Emerging Nurse Leaders is proven to open career doors for its recipients. INF is proud to celebrate nurses like Annie who have made a lasting impact in the healthcare industry. 

For more information on the INF 40 Under 40 Award Ceremony, click this link.

Illinois Nurses Foundation: Support Education, Advocation, and Recognition for Nurses

The Illinois Nurses Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports nurses through various programs, empowering them, promoting excellence, and advancing the nursing profession while also recognizing and celebrating the remarkable achievements of young nurses through the INF 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leaders Award, highlighting their talent and potential for the field’s growth and evolution. Donate to INF today, and you can help empower nurses and improve healthcare!