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 the 2019 cohort of AOSW Fellows:
  Christina Bach, MBE, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
Christina Bach received her Masters degree in Social Work and Bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a licensed clinical social worker (PA) and a Certified Oncology Social Worker. She is currently the Psychocoail Content Editor at, the webs first cancer education resource. In this capacity, Christina provides cancer focused, patient, caregiver and healthcare provider education. Christina is also the Associate Director of the Advanced Certificate in Oncology Social Work program and an instructor in the MSW program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. Christina has extensive clinical experience in both inpatient and outpatient oncology care at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Abramson Cancer Center. She also worked at the Penn Veterinary Hospital managing veterinary social work and pet bereavement services. Christina is the social work facilitator and co-programming chair of the Philadelphia Multiple Myeloma Networking Group.She is the Ethics Special Interest Group (SIG) leader for AOSW. She also volunteers regularly with her therapy dog, Linus in both healthcare settings and at local libraries, helping kids become more confident with their reading skills. She enjoys traveling, photography, knitting and spending lots of quality time with her number one self care mechanism, her three rescued beagles, Maggie, Linus and Huckleberry.
Dr. Cecilia L.W. Chan, PhD, RSW, FAOSW, JP
Professor Cecilia Lai Wan Chan is Si Yuan Chair Professor of Health and Social Work in the Department of Social Work and Social Administration of The University of Hong Kong. Cecilia advocated for a strength-oriented empowerment approach in working with traumatized individuals such as cancer patients, bereaved persons, persons at their end of life. Cecilia started a whole range of oncology support services for patients in public hospitals and communities in Hong Kong and the region. She adopted vigorous bio-psycho-social outcome indicators in her randomized trials on measuring impact of her innovative Integrative Body-Mind-Spirit (IBMS) interventions on cancer patients and their family members. She integrated Chinese philosophies, qigong and movement exercises into holistic health intervention, and moved oncology social work beyond psychosocial and emotional care. Her meaning-making empowerment strategies effectively nurture spirituality of forgiveness, gratitude, hope, and optimism, which are fundamental to resilience and transformation among cancer survivors and their family members. Her IBMS intervention can be found in this video. Her multi-disciplinary team used salivary cortisol (stress) and telomerase (anti-aging) as physiological impact of psycho-social-spiritual intervention by social workers. Her leadership in health, oncology and palliative care social work research and practice is widely recognized. Besides oncology social work, Cecilia is also pioneering intervention in fertility, reproductive health and dermatology social work.
Richard Dickens, LCSW-R, FAOSW
Richard Dickens received a BS in business management and economics from Empire State SUNY and a MS in social work from Columbia University. For the last 21 years, Dickens has been a clinical social worker, supervisor, manager and now director of client advocacy at CancerCare. During that time he developed numerous programs, presented on a variety of oncology topics at conferences throughout North America as well as Australia, South Africa, Hong Kong and Ireland, sat on a dozen advisory boards and has written for oncology journals and books. He's been a teacher, mentor, supervisor and guest lecturer in different certificate programs at Smith College, New York University, Hunter College and Columbia University. Dickens was awarded a Distinguished Practitioner in Social Work by the National Academies of Practice, 2017 Leadership Award in Oncology by AOSW, and an Outstanding Abstract Award at the Sixth International Social Work Conference in Hong Kong.

Tara Schapmire, PhD, CSW, CCM, OSW-C, FAOSW
Tara Schapmire earned her PhD in social work from the University of Louisville and she serves on the faculty of the University of Louisville’s School of Medicine and the Kent School of Social Work. Dr. Schapmire’s research and teaching interests include psychosocial care of cancer survivors and their families, gerontology, palliative care, survivorship and inter-professional education. She is a co-investigator on a National Cancer Institute grant funding the development of training program for 160 health science educators to provide inter-professional education in oncology palliative care at 35-50 institutions across the nation. This project aims to help students of the health sciences at these institutions learn the skills and knowledge essential for providing effective team-based, patient-centered palliative oncology care. She is co-investigator on a HRSA grant aimed at development of an interprofessional gerontology curriculum for learners in medicine, nursing, social work, dentistry, and pharmacy. As a co-investigator on the Kentucky LEADS Collaborative, she and her team are dedicated to reducing the burden of lung cancer in Kentucky and beyond through development, evaluation, and dissemination of novel, community-based interventions to promote provider education, survivorship care, and prevention and early detection regarding lung cancer.

Kathy Smolinski, MSW, JD, FAOSW
Ms. Kathryn M. Smolinski, MSW, JD, FNAP, is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Wayne State Law School where she directs Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer, a medical-legal partnership clinic which she designed. She is licensed as both a social worker and public interest attorney who assists cancer patients with their legal issues. Her clinic provides free legal education, representation and resources to low-income cancer patients in Detroit, Michigan as part of the law school’s curriculum. This second career complements her first as a clinical oncology social worker for over 20 years including her position as former Executive Director of the Association of Oncology Social Work. Ms. Smolinski has been a senior clinical social worker and Cancer Pain & Fatigue Fellow at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland where she worked for nine years after providing home hospice services in her hometown of Monroe, Michigan. Ms. Smolinski served on the Clinical Ethics Service at Hopkins for eight years assisting patients, families and healthcare professionals in making difficult decisions in the medical setting. She has been a field supervisor in the Smith College School for Social Work End-of-Life Care Certificate Program, faculty member on a five-year National Cancer Institute grant in which she taught leadership skills to oncology social workers around the country and has worked tirelessly in advocating for excellence in end-of-life care. She has published journal articles, book chapters and lectured nationally and internationally on topics such as pain management, palliative care, ethics, legal and psychosocial issues in end-of-life care. She received the American Cancer Society’s Lane W. Adams Award for Excellence in Caregiving and the Leadership in Oncology Social Work from AOSW. She also received a prestigious Equal Justice Works Fellowship to implement the medical-legal partnership and was inducted as a Distinguished Practitioner and Fellow into the Social Work Academy of the National Academies of Practice. Ms. Smolinski has served AOSW as board secretary, member of the awards and conference committees, SIG leader, abstract mentor, conference presenter for over 27 years and one of the authors of an AOSW original position paper.
Brad Zebrack, PhD, MSW, MPH, FAOSW
Dr. Brad Zebrack is professor of social work and a member of the Rogel Cancer Center, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the University of Michigan. Dr. Zebrack has clinical social work experience in both pediatric and adult oncology, and has been involved in the development of peer support programs for adolescent and young adult cancer survivors. He has twice served on the AOSW Board of Directors as Research Chair, and was also the director for AOSW’s Project to Assure Quality Cancer Care (APAQCC), a multi-institutional study of distress screening adherence and psychosocial care delivery at 65 AOSW member institutions. He also served as faculty for the popular AOSW Excellence in Cancer Education and Leadership (ExCEL) program. In 2017, Dr. Zebrack was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for study in Australia, where he collaborated with colleagues to develop and evaluate supportive care services for adolescents and young adults affected by cancer. Dr. Zebrack is a fellow to the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) and the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR). He is a past recipient of the APOS Outstanding Education and Training Award and the AOSW Quality of Life Award. Dr. Zebrack is a long-term survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, diagnosed in 1985 at the age of 25. He first joined AOSW in 1992.

2018 AOSW Fellows

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