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Gilda's Club announces new program director

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Allison Yonker

Allison Yonker, LMSW, is program director at Gilda's Club Middle Tennessee. 

Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee, a nonprofit dedicated to providing social and emotional support to anyone in the community impacted by cancer, announced recently the promotion of veteran Program Manager Allison Yonker, LMSW, to the role of program director. 

The organization’s former program lead, Felice Apolinsky, LCSW, retired earlier this month after 22 years of service.

“We are delighted to have Allison as our new program director, as she brings nearly two decades of cancer support experience and a demonstrated commitment to Gilda’s Club to the role,” said Harriet Schiftan, MSW, MAJCS, president and CEO of Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee. “Allison’s enthusiasm for the new opportunities that lie ahead for Gilda’s Club, as we continue to evolve our virtual operations and develop a hybrid approach over the long-term, really impressed our search committee.” 

Yonker, a native Nashvillian, was first introduced to Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee as a graduate student intern. Hired as a program manager in 2002, she has spent the last 18 years providing clinical support to Gilda’s Club groups and individual members. She simultaneously served as volunteer coordinator, ensuring the organization’s monthly program calendar is reflective of member needs and the ideas and expertise of Gilda’s Club’s volunteer facilitators.

“Gilda’s Club continues to achieve success in working toward our strategic priorities — financial sustainability, program accessibility, and increased awareness — even as COVID-19 has increased demand for services and forced our board and staff to rethink how our cancer support program is delivered and funded. Allison is an important part of the dedicated team driving Gilda’s Club’s success and I couldn’t be happier to have her in this critical leadership position,” Board Chair Jim Corum said.

Yonker holds both master's and bachelor's degrees in social work from the University of Tennessee. She resides in Nashville with her husband and two children.

To learn more about Gilda's Club Middle Tennessee, visit

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