AOSW Fellows

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AOSW Fellows

In 2017 the AOSW Board of Directors established the honorary status of Fellow for the Association. The Inaugural Class of AOSW Fellows, consisting of AOSW Past Presidents, was announced in 2018. AOSW Fellowship recognizes and honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the science and practice of psychosocial oncology. Membership in the Fellowship is not purely honorific, however: it carries an expectation of ongoing contributions to and leadership within the AOSW.
 
Congratulations to our 2021 AOSW Fellows Cohort!
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Eucharia Borden, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
Kerry Irish, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
Leora Lowenthal, LICSW, MPA, FAOSW
Debra Mattison, MSW, FAOSW
Wendy Walters, LICSW, HEC-C
Marcia W. DeSonier, MSW, LCSW, FAOSW
Les Gallo-Silver, LCSW-R, ACSW, FAOSW


Eucharia Borden, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW has been working in oncology social work for 13 years, with positions of increasing importance and responsibility. In February 2020, she took a position as Senior Director of Clinical Service at the Cancer Support Community in Philadelphia and has since been promoted to Senior Director of Health Equity and Clinical Services. In addition to AOSW conference presentations, she has provided numerous other presentations to a number of organizations in Philadelphia, New York City, DC, and online, reaching a broad and national audience. She also has written a number of non-peer-reviewed articles. She has served as a subject matter expert for other oncology organizations such as ACCC, APOS, CSC, and the Greater Philadelphia Cancer Transportation Advocacy Group, and others.

Kerry Irish, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW has been involved in program development within each oncology setting where she has worked, and was intimately involved in the creation & development of the Dempsey Center (a free-standing cancer support center in Maine that promotes hope and healing to anyone impacted by cancer through a wide array of free professional services), where she served as founding Director, psychotherapist and the Director of Professional Services for the Center until she departed to move to western NC in 2019. Throughout her career, Kerry has sought to create educational and work opportunities for other oncology social workers through activities such as developing a regional oncology social work conference, serving as a field instructor for MSW students and a mentor to newer oncology social workers, writing grants to support additional oncology social work positions, and creating a cancer support center whose primary services were delivered by oncology social workers.Kerry has published articles and presented at multiple local and national conferences and workshops on a variety of psychosocial oncology care-related topics.

Leora Lowenthal, LICSW, MPA, FAOSW  has been working in healthcare for 23 years and in oncology social work specifically for 20 years. She now serves as program leader for hematology & oncology social work at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. In addition to her clinical work, she has served in several positions for AOSW, including three years as Education Director. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Board of Oncology Social Work Certification, the ACCC Multidisciplinary Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Care Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Medical Advisory Council for the Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation. Since 2007, she has been the online CTCL listserv moderator for the Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR). Ms. Lowenthal holds master's degrees in social work and public administration and a post-graduate certificate in bioethics and the medical humanities. She completed family therapy training at the NYU School of Medicine.

Debra Mattison, MSW, FAOSW  has an outstanding history of contributions to the science and the practice of psychosocial oncology. She has earned at least 17 awards from various institutions including Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education Award for Innovation and Excellence (2020), IOPE Demonstration Model Award, Faculty Scholar at University of Michigan, Outstanding Alumni Indiana University, Leadership Fellow University of Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education, Provost Teaching Innovation Prize, Social Worker of the year NASW Michigan Chapter, and many more as evident in her impressive CV. Debra has authored or co-authored and secured approximately $2,030,635.00 in grant monies!

Wendy Walters, LICSW, HEC-C has elevated the role of oncology social work especially in an institutional setting as she was named the Clinical Ethics Consultant for the UB Hospital, a first for oncology social work in that role. She has held clinical roles since 1986 in the UB hospital system, with only a few brief exits to hold educational and patient services leadership positions at Odyssey Health Care, Bridging the Gap, Inc. and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Wendy’s contributions ensuring quality end-of-life care through demonstrating excellent skills social workers provide at such a critical time are exemplified beyond her clinical work in her nine peer-reviewed publications and her contributions to the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Social Work. She secured $22,650 in grants to promote oncology social work in support groups, clinical trials training, communication with families in hospice and advocacy within the realm of childhood cancer. Wendy’s work has spanned both time and depth. She has raised the bar for the profession and continues to do so in her local and national contributions to the field.

Marcia W. DeSonier, MSW, LCSW, FAOSW received her MSW from Florida State University and was licensed in Florida. She was the Coordinator of Cancer Support Services at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Florida, for 30 years. While in that position, she participated in local, state, and national social work organizations as well as volunteering with the American Cancer Society (ACS). Marcia served as President of the Florida Chapter of the National Association of Social Work (NASW) as well as on the National Board of Directors of NASW.
In Florida, Marcia helped organize the Florida Society Of Oncology Social Work (FSOSW) in conjunction with ACS. Twice she served as President of FSOSW. In 1985, she joined AOSW (then known as NAOSW). In the early years of AOSW, she recruited new members from the Southeast. Throughout her years in AOSW, she encouraged collaboration with other like-minded organizations such as APOS, ACCC, and ACOS. As Conference Chair for the Vancouver conference in 2000, Marcia brought together two other organizations with AOSW. Marcia served as President during AOSW’s 25th year in 2008. The privilege of knowing and working with the pioneers in psychosocial oncology was the highlight of her career.
Throughout her career, Marcia was honored by her peers, patients, and employer with many awards at the local, state, and national level including the Lane Adams Award from ACS. After the death of her husband, she retired in 2012 from all professional affiliations. She now lives in Germantown, TN.

 
 
Lynn Behar, PhD, MSW, FAOSW
Yvette Colón, PhD, BCD, LMSW, FAOSW
Julianne Oktay, PhD, MSW, FAOSW
Shirley Otis-Green, MSW, MA, ACSW, LCSW, OSW-CE, FNAP, FAOSW

 Dr. Lynn Behar  is a visionary oncology social worker & also philanthropic. Lynn has founded & funded a number of programs at the University Washington School of Social Work, where she was faculty & is now semi-retired. That being said, Lynn is busier than ever at UW SSW. In 2005, she developed a program for master’s level students focused on oncology & palliative social work. There are now 104 graduates of the Carol LaMare program, named after her mother. She also endowed a professorship and created a research arm of the program in 2017, which is now the University Of Washington School Of Social Work Center for Integrative Oncology and Palliative Care Social Work, a first in the United States. She is also the co-chair of the UW SSW Campaign Leadership Committee, which has surpassed its goal of $70 Million. In 2015, Dr. Behar co-edited the Handbook of Oncology Social Work through Oxford Press. Passion for people who fall through the cracks financially while having cancer treatment, Lynn started Patient Assistance Fund at Cancer Lifeline, in Seattle, WA, a psychosocial program for people living with cancer.

 Dr. Yvette Colón, PhD, ACSW, BCD, FNAP, LMSW-Clinical & Macro, is Associate Professor at Eastern Michigan University School of Social Work and volunteer Director of Education & Research for The Pain Community. Previously, she was the Director of Education and Support at the American Pain Foundation. She serves on several editorial and professional boards and is a Distinguished Social Work Practitioner in the National Academies of Practice. She has published and lectured widely on pain management, psychosocial oncology, end-of-life care and health care disparities. 

 Dr. Julianne Oktay has had a remarkable career over 40 years as an educator and scientist. She is recognized internationally as an expert in psychosocial oncology research, and has examined important issues related to medical social work generally and oncology social work, specifically. Dr. Oktay’s body of research includes studies of mental health outcomes, fatigue, family communication and other psychosocial aspects related to women’s experiences of breast cancer. These investigations
led to the development, implementation, and testing of family-based interventions. It also informed two ground-breaking books – one on breast cancer across the life span and a second on experiences of
women with breast cancer and their daughters. 

Dr. Oktay has been a long-time advocate for oncology social work. For more than 25 years, cancer centers in the US have been able to apply for stipends to lure and support students to their training programs. As a long-standing member of the American Cancer Society’s Health Care Professionals Council. Dr. Oktay played a key role in assuring that this funding stream remained viable for oncology social work and MSW interns, many of whom were trained by AOSW members.

 Shirley Otis-Green, MSW, MA, ACSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FNAP, FAOSW’s career is dedicated to enhancing excellence in the delivery of contextualized care to address the symptoms and stress of serious illness. She is a California HealthCare Foundation Leadership Fellow, serves on several editorial and professional boards, and is a Distinguished Social Work Practitioner in the National Academies of Practice. Shirley was among the first to receive an international, interprofessional Master of Arts in Health  Research ~ Palliative Care from Lancaster University in Great Britain and is co-editor (with Terry Altilio) of the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Social Work.

2019 AOSW Fellows

Congratulations to the 2019 cohort of AOSW Fellows:
View bios > > >
           
               
  Christina Bach, MBE, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW Dr. Cecilia L.W. Chan, PhD, RSW, FAOSW, JP   Richard Dickens, LCSW-R, FAOSW  
     
  Tara Schapmire, PhD, CSW, CCM, OSW-C, FAOSW Kathy Smolinski, MSW, JD, FAOSW   Brad Zebrack, PhD, MSW, MPH, FAOSW  











2018 AOSW Fellows

The inaugural cohort of 2018 AOSW Fellows is comprised of past presidents of AOSW.  View bios > > >
 
             
                 
Catherine Credeur,
LMSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
  Alison Mayer Sachs,
MSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
  Penny Damaskos,
PhD, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
  Iris Cohen Fineberg,
PhD, MSW, ACSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
             
     
Krista Nelson,
MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
  Ann Fairchild,
LCSW, FAOSW
  Lisa Marquette Porat,
MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
  Carolyn Messner, PhD,
DSW, BCD, ACSW, LCSW. FAOSW
             
     
Kimberly Lawson,
MSW, LCSW, DSW, FAOSW
  Katherine Walsh,
PhD, MSW,  LICSW (MA), FAOSW
  Karlynn BrintzenhofeSzoc,
PhD, MSW, FAOSW
  Virginia Vaitones,
MSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
             
     
Carol P. Marcusen,
MSW, LCSW, BCD, FAOSW
  Joyce Herschl,
MSW, FAOSW
  Marie M. Lauria,
MSW, LCSW, FAOSW
  Susan Hedlund,
MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
             
     
Susan M. Stensland,
LCSW, FAOSW
  Matthew Loscalzo,
MSW, LCSW, FAOSW
  Victoria N. Kennedy,
LCSW, FAOSW
  Hester Hill Schnipper,
LICSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
             
       
James Zabora,
MSW, ScD, FAOSW
  Naomi Stearns,
MSW, BCD (retired), FAOSW
  Grace Christ,
DSW, PhD, FAOSW