Keynote Speakers

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Meet Our Keynote Speakers

AOSW is proud to present some of the leaders in Oncology Social Work during the 2021 Annual Conference. Read more about them below.

Opening Keynote Speaker

Wednesday, June 9 - 11:30 a.m. ET
Susan Hedlund
Anticipating and Addressing the Behavioral Health Impacts of COVID-19: Implications for Cancer and Community Care

Susan Hedlund, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW, has been an oncology social worker for over 30 years, is currently the Director of Patient & Family Services at the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Sciences University. She has served as AOSW President and received the Leadership in Oncology Social Work Award in 1999  and the ACS Quality of Life Award in 2009. Susan specializes in the development of programs and services for cancer patients and their loved ones. She is on the faculty of the School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Sciences University and the School of Social Work at Portland State University. Susan has spoken and written extensively about the impact of cancer on individuals/families, has contributed chapters to the Oxford University Handbook of Oncology Social Work, and Textbook of Social Work and Palliative Care. She represents AOSW on the Commission on Cancer, and is the mental health specialist on Oregon's Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

AOSW Quality of Life Awards Ceremony & Lecture Speaker

Friday, June 11 - 11:30 a.m. ET
Penny Damaskos

Penny Damaskos, PhD, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW, is the Director of Social Work and Chaplaincy at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Penny started her career at MSK and has served as an oncology social worker there and at other area hospitals for more than 25 years. She graduated with her Master’s from New York University‘s Silver School of Social Work and received her PhD degree from Yeshiva University. She was the recipient of an American Cancer Society Doctoral Training Grant to support her doctoral studies that focused on the presence of resilience in oncology social work. Penny co-authored several chapters in the Oxford Handbook of Oncology Social Work on cancer survivorship, supervision of oncology social workers and building programs for resilience in an institutional setting. Penny served as the president of the Association of Oncology Social Work and is the recipient of several awards: the Association of Oncology Social Work’s Leadership in Oncology Social Work as well as an AOSW Fellow, the Project of Death in America, (PDIA) Career Achievement Award and the Health Care Chaplaincy Network’s Wholeness of Life award.

Closing Keynote Speaker

Friday, June 11 - 5:30 p.m. ET
Brad Zebrack
Establishing the CORE -- Competencies, Opportunities, Roles, and Expertise -- for Oncology Social Work: Results from the AOSW CORE Survey (Brad Zebrack, PhD, MSW, MPH, FAOSW)

Brad Zebrack, PhD, MSW, MPH, FAOSW, is Professor, University of Michigan School of Social Work, and member of the Rogel Cancer Center, Health Behavior and Outcomes Research Program. Brad has clinical social work experience in both pediatric and adult oncology, and has been involved in the development and evaluation of peer support programs for adolescent and young adult cancer survivors. In 2017, Brad 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. His academic research focuses on quality of life and cancer survivorship, and has been supported over the past 20 years from federal and foundation sources, including the National Cancer Institute, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), LiveStrong, and HopeLab Inc.