Nursing Leadership


Carla Schaefer headshot
  • Carla Schaefer, DNP, RN, OCN, CENP 
  • Associate Chief Nursing Officer of Solid Tumors

Carla Schaefer, DNP, RN, OCN, CENP is the Associate Chief Nursing Officer of Solid Tumors for Rutgers Cancer Institute. Utilizing more than 20 years of oncology nursing experience, Dr. Schaefer leads team members in process improvement projects, mentors their professional development, and implements innovative approaches to nursing and patient education through evidence-based practice. Her undergraduate BSN was earned at Carlow University, and both her masters in Nursing Leadership and her doctorate in Nursing Practice were earned at Rutgers School of Nursing. Dr. Schaefer successfully completed her doctoral project entitled Improving Medication Adherence and Symptom Management in Patients with Cancer. The purpose of the project was to Measure the extent to which individualized education based on health literacy levels and preferred methods of learning can affect medication adherence to improve patient outcomes. As a member of the Oncology Nursing Society, she has served in the role of Chemotherapy/Biotherapy trainer and currently serves as faculty for the Oncology Certified Nurse Review Course and the New Treatment Patient Orientation. She also has presented nationally and internationally with focuses on leadership, patient education, and health literacy at the World Cancer Congress, Oncology Nursing Congress, the Nursing Management Congress, Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators Annual Conference, and Future for Nursing: Campaign for Nursing. Dr. Schaefer is a 2015 Cure Magazine Extraordinary Healer Nominee and the recipient of Rutgers Cancer Institute’s 2013 Award of Hope Pillar of Excellence and 2008 Oncology Nursing Excellence Award. She has contributed to community health through cervical cancer screening and prevention education, and she advances health literacy for patients at Rutgers Cancer Institute through implementation of key interventions.

Sharon Dillard headshot

Sharon Dillard, MS, RN
Associate Chief Nursing Officer; Pediatric Hematology/Oncology & Benign Hematology; Adult Malignant Hematology

Sharon Dillard, MS, RN, is the associate Chief Nursing Officer of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Benign Hematology, and Adult Malignant Hematology for Rutgers Cancer Institute. Having more than 35 years of nursing experience, Sharon Dillard has led nursing in multiple roles from a nursing director to a chief nursing officer. Sharon’s passion is Shared Governance and mentoring nurses to own their practice and use their expertise to drive evidence-base nursing care. She has steered many quality of care and patient safety initiatives, including reducing patient falls and improving patient experience. Mrs. Dillard earned her BSN from the University of Central Oklahoma and her Masters of Science with a focus in oncology from the University of Colorado. Additionally, she completed the Executive Development Program certificate through H.C.A., in partnership with the Harvard School of Business. Sharon has presented multiple nursing research projects at several International Marrow Transplant Symposiums. She has shared her passion for leadership in a Studer Group® Webinar Leadership Series, “The Accountability Factor”, and had a best leadership practice of nurse leader rounding skills labs featured on NBC Nightly News and in a Studer Group® Webinar titled “Best Evidence-Based Leadership Practices”. Sharon has also led the implementation of shared governance in four different hospitals and presented on shared governance at multiple organizations around the country. Mrs. Dillard has led her nursing teams to be award the HCA Units of Distinction in 2018, 2017, and 2015. In 2015, she was a nominee for the Clinical Excellence Award for Professional Mentoring and in 2013, was an EXCEL Employee of the Year nominee. Her passionate nursing vision was recognized with the Lamplighter Award – Nurse of the Future, Moving Forward in 2013 and she was a Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver of the year nominee in 2006. Mrs. Dillard feels being involved in the community is a critical leadership responsibility. She has been a foster family, participated on college advisory boards for the University of Central Oklahoma and Valencia College, a member of the Take Stock in Children mentorship program, and a board member of Edmond Public Schools Foundation.

Joan Hogan headshot

Joan Hogan, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Oncology Social Work Manager

Joan Hogan, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, Oncology Social Work Manager, graduated from Georgian Court University with her BSW and a minor in Integrative Holistic Health. She obtained her MSW from Fordham University, NYC. Her passion has been to integrate complementary modalities and evidence based interventions in caring for cancer patients and their families. Her prior roles with RWJBarnabas Health Southern Region have included Program Director for the Cancer Support Community, oncology social work supervisor, and therapist for Monmouth Medical Center’s hospital based oncology psychotherapy program. A current DSW student at Rutgers University, class of 2022, her area of research is oncology and the transgender experience. She recently completed an advanced training in Affirmative Therapy for Transgender Communities through Widener University and holds certifications in both sand tray therapy and EMDR.

Karen Visich headshotKaren Visich, MSN, RN, ANP-BC, AOCNP
Director of Professional Practice and Development

In this role, Karen provides goal-directed leadership for the development of comprehensive strategies to meet the ongoing educational needs of all nursing staff and patients at Rutgers Cancer Institute and RWJBarnabas Health. Karen and her team facilitate the development of clinical nursing and patient education programs as they relate to the delivery of ambulatory services. She is board certified as an Advanced Oncology Nurse Practitioner with experience in genitourinary medical oncology, general oncology and palliative care. She previously served as adjunct faculty at Thomas Jefferson University in the Advanced Oncology Nurse Practitioner Program.

Laura Pachella headshotLaura Pachella, DNP, RN, AGPCNP-BC, AOCNP
Supervising, Advanced Practice Provider

Laura Pachella completed her Joint Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Ramapo College of New Jersey and UMDNJ. She completed her MSN at Columbia University with a subspecialty in oncology and completed her Doctorate of Nursing Practice at Duke University. Lauren completed a fellowship in oncology nursing at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Her publications have focused on symptom management for patients being treated for esophageal cancer, melanoma, and patients undergoing thoracic surgery.