Virtual Meeting Preliminary Program

AOSW Virtual Meeting Preliminary Program

This program is preliminary and subject to change. All times listed are in EDT. 

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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

11:30am – Noon p.m. ET

Welcome & Awards Ceremony

Each year, AOSW presents awards and scholarships to members of the Association who have made distinguished contributions to the field of oncology social work. Please join us as we present our 2020 AOSW Recognition Awards at the Opening Ceremony. Awards and scholarships being presented include:

  • LLS-Hematology-Oncology Social Worker of the Year Award (sponsored by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)
  • LLS Hematology/Oncology Social Worker of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsored by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)
  • GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer Social Worker of the Year Award (sponsored by the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer)
  • Oncology Social Worker of the Year Award (sponsored by Cancer Support Community)
  • Leadership in Oncology Social Work Award (sponsored by the American Cancer Society)
  • Naomi Stearns Scholarship
  • Palliative Care and End-of-Life Scholarship

Wednesday, August 5, Noon – 12:45  p.m. ET

Opening Keynote Address

Oncology Social Work: A Flight of Transcendence in New Era of Cancer Care

Vicki Kennedy, LCSW, FAOSW, FAPOS

The advent of precision medicine and the ensuing lightning-fast evolution of treatment comes at a time when our healthcare eco-system is in crisis. A diminishing workforce and the overwhelming influx of patients and survivors is testing the limits of our professional skills and institutional resources. And yet, we continue to do what we’ve always done in delivering psychosocial care including being frustrated that it never seems enough or valued as essential. As a new decade of cancer care takes flight, how will we as oncology social workers step forward to shape quality cancer care? What can we learn from the science of flying to pilot our work with rational, yet aspirational determination to make the 2020s a decade of transcendence for people impacted by cancer and for our profession? While flying takes us up, over and beyond our present, we will explore a game-changing flight plan that will fill us with excitement, exhilaration and fear. The proverbial idea that the journey is more important than the destination only works if we find meaning, wonder and awe along the way. Welcome aboard and fasten your seatbelts. Turbulence and new possibilities lie ahead!

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Professional Issues
Presentation Level: Intermediate


Wednesday, August 5, 12:45 – 1:15 ET

Networking Break


Wednesday, August 5, 1:15 – 2:15 p.m. ET

Leveraging the Tides of Change: A Strategic Roadmap to Implement Billing for Oncology Social Work Services and Biopsychosocial Screening

Courtney Bitz, OSW-C, ACHP-SW; Christina Cabanillas, ACHP-SW; Renee Joshi, OSW-C, ACHP-SW; Ruby Bañuelos Calhoun, ACHP-SW; Fan Ming (Terence) Hung, ACHPSW; Amy Donner, ACHP-SW; Marinel Olivares, ACHP-SW; Matthew Loscalzo, FAPOS

Health care is in a time of unprecedented disruption. Times of disruption are robust opportunities for significant change in health care institutions. This includes opportunities for oncology social workers to contribute to health care institutions through generating revenue. Historically, oncology social workers have not billed for their clinical services due to institutional resistance and social work resistance fearing that patients will not have the financial resources to access services. Oncology social workers have a wide breadth of marketable skills necessary for psychological growth and to relieve unnecessary suffering in cancer patients and their families. This presentation will share how one clinical social work department initiated and successfully implemented billing for social work services and automated biopsychosocial screening. This was a challenging process for which there was no road map; now there is. Leadership skills and operational processes needed to successfully implement oncology social work billing will be described. Leadership topics include relentless perseverance as the minimum required for institutional change, strategically using tides of change, managing expected emotions and how to stay forward thinking despite the pull to revisit the past. Operational processes will include strategies to engage stakeholders at multiple levels using the values-benefits-outcomes model, billing codes, compliance concerns and utilizing technology. The impact of billing on the social work team and patients/families as well as ethical issues will be discussed. Data collected from March 2019 to present will be shared. Participants will have a leadership and operational roadmap to implement social work billing in their own institutions.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Leadership/Administration, Interdisciplinary Care
Presentation Level: Intermediate


Wednesday, August 5, 1:15 – 2:15 p.m. ET

Achieving Patient-Centered Care: Updates in Policy, Practice and Research

Brad Zebrack, PhD, MSW, MPH, FAOSW; Krista Nelson, LCSW, OSW-C, BCD FAOSW; Lisa Capparella, MSS, LCSW, OSW-C; Angela Williams, LCSW

Efforts to develop and evaluate strategies that overcome barriers to the successful adoption and implementation of evidence-based interventions and changes in practice patterns has been recommended as an important means of promoting greater integration of psychosocial care into routine cancer care. Collaborative efforts are needed, not only across disciplines but also among social workers involved in clinical practice, research, and policy to ensure that psychosocial care becomes a consistent and universal reality for all persons affected by cancer. This presentation will include an update on Commission on Cancer guidelines for patient-centered care, with a focus on distress screening and survivorship care planning. It will highlight the important role that social workers can play to influence the uptake of psychosocial care at their own cancer centers. Presenters will provide concrete examples of strategies they have considered to improve uptake and implementation of psychosocial care services. The session will conclude with a discussion of prior efforts and new opportunities for oncology social workers to influence successful implementation of psychosocial care through an integration of research, practice, and policy.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Professional Issues, Distress/CoC
Presentation Level: Intermediate


Wednesday, August 5, 2:15 – 2:30 p.m. ET

Networking Break


Wednesday, August 5, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. ET

Forgiveness: Exploring Its Power and Complexities

Debra Mattison, LMSW, OSW-C

The diagnosis of a life-threatening illness such as cancer impacts the wholeness of one’s being and often triggers a deep reflection of one’s lived life, both past and present. Many explore regrettable choices made and opportunities not taken, leaving them with a sense of remorse and self-blame. Others may find themselves pondering wrongs done to them as well as injuries they have caused others which have been carried with great costs for many years. Still others may seek to “make it right” and find closure as they face progressive disease and eventual death. Forgiveness has emerged in the current literature as a complex concept which can both support health and well-being and also result in further injury for those who are unable to achieve the reconciliation for which they hoped. As oncology social workers, we need to demonstrate awareness of the emerging literature regarding the impact of forgiveness on total health. We must also be able to demonstrate practice skills in assisting patients in navigating the complexities of both seeking to receive and offer forgiveness to self and others. This Spirituality SIG session will explore definitions of forgiveness and its relevance to our patients as they seek to address complex emotions intertwined with forgiveness such as profound grief, deep hate, debilitating self-blame, oppression in feeling forced to forgive and moral injury in evaluating one’s lived-life. Practical forgiveness-focused interventions will also be presented. We will also explore our own potential need to give or receive forgiveness in our professional lives.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Clinical Practice/Skill Building
Presentation Level: Intermediate


Wednesday, August 5, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. ET

The Utilization of Technological Tools to Enhance, Streamline and Validate the Oncology Social Work Role

Sarah Handsman, LMSW; Alison Snow, PhD, LCSW-R, OSW-C; Brittany Lawton, MSW, MA

As technology becomes more a part of our society and our patient’s lives, we must adapt and widen our knowledge base. Extending our use of technology can help us better engage, connect with, and expand our clinical capabilities. Mount Sinai Downtown Cancer Supportive Services team will review ways that they utilized technology to enhance their work. The presentation will review marketing strategies, social media, electronic distress screening, social work encounter tracking, and provider feedback. The presentation will cover the benefits and challenges when adapting to new technology. This presentation will provide an in-depth review of the technological tools that we have considered and implemented with recommendations for maintaining pace with our ever advancing digital world to improve administrative and clinical social work practice.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Leadership/Administration
Presentation Level: Intermediate


Wednesday, August 5, 3:30 – 4:00 p.m. ET

Netorking Break


Wednesday, August 5, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. ET

Services to Institution: Creating an Intentional Staff Support Program to Improve Patient Care and Staff Well-Being 

Billie Ferguson, LCSW-C; Nancy Piccicuto, LCSW-C 

Oncology is a high-burnout specialty, with high rates of turnover and burnout in all levels of staff (Poulsen, Asaduzzaman, Poulsen, Khan, & Poulsen, 2016). Low work engagement, staff burnout and oncology provider turnover lower overall patient experience satisfaction and can compromise care, while higher levels of employee job satisfaction increases the patients’ positive perception of care (Bergman, Dellve, & Skagert, 2016; LeBlanc, Hox, Schaufeli, Taris, & Peeters, 2007; Paiva, Martins, & B., 2018; Wu, Singh-Carlson, Odell, Reynolds, & Yuhua, 2016). Factors that mitigate burnout and job dissatisfaction are: working in a supportive team environment; quality peer and supervisor support; work engagement, and effective communication (LeBlanc, Hox, Schaufeli, Taris, & Peeters, 2007; Poulsen, Asaduzzaman, Poulsen, Khan, & Poulsen, 2016; Wu, Singh-Carlson, Odell, Reynolds, & Yuhua, 2016). Oncology social workers can address the changing face of health care by investing in the health care team, creating programs to enhance mentorship and peer-support, improving cohesion in teams, and managing conflict. MedStar Health Cancer Network created a Staff Support Program Initiative, developed by Oncology Social Workers in conjunction with Administration. The program includes interventions and education based on management, leadership, social work, and psychology theories. The program has three main pillars: The Nursing Self-Care Series; Intentional Rounding; and a Network-Wide Team-Building Initiative. The presentation will discuss the rationale and background for the program, provide an overview of the programs’ contents, and discuss feedback, challenges, and successes we experienced as a network while implementing the program. Interactive and experiential activities drawn from our program will be conducted.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Clinical Practice/Skill Building, Leadership/
Administration
Presentation Level: Intermediate


Wednesday, August 5, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. ET

Improving Goals of Care Conversations Between Patients and Providers Using the Serious Illness Communication Guide

Melissa Sommers, MSW, LCSW 

Physician training program led by members of the psychosocial oncology team (social workers and psychologists) designed to improve communication around goals of care conversations between providers and blood cancer patients. Our center wanted to focus on improving communication so that patients could make better informed decisions regarding their treatment plan. We also wanted to improve access to palliative care and hospice when appropriate. The psychosocial team facilitated a training using the Serious Illness Communication Guide developed by Ariadne Labs. We introduced the concepts in the guide and then broke in to small groups to allow role playing between pairs. We then had a group of standardized patients join the group so that providers could practice the skill set using real case examples. At the conclusion we reconvened to debrief and discuss next steps. Since the training we developed criteria to initiate family meetings to review the goals of care. The criteria include: hospitalization greater than 30 days, unplanned readmission, change of disease status, initiation of new intervention, and at the request of patients and families. Providers report that they have increased confidence in leading goals of care conversations and using the serious illness guide in discussing treatment options. We also created a preferred partnership with an outpatient palliative care program so that our patients have easier access to palliative care.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Pain, Palliative Care and End of Life,
Interdisciplinary Care
Presentation Level: Introductory
 
This session is sponsored by generous support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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Thursday, August 6, 2020

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET (Part I) and 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. ET (Part II)

Practice Intensive

The State of Pain: Reducing Barriers and Increasing Access to Effective Evidence-Informed Cancer Pain Management

Yvette Colón, PhD, ACSW, BCD, FNAP, LMSW; Terry Altilio, MSW, ACSW, LCSW; Shirley Otis-Green, LCSW, ACSW, OSW-C, FAOSW

Pain is a common occurrence in cancer, affected by a variety of biological, psychological, social, spiritual and cultural factors. Most oncology social workers work with patients and families whose lives have been touched by pain and may not have training and skills to provide effective psychosocial interventions to reduce the multidimensional impacts of pain. This workshop is designed to help oncology social workers identify historical and current barriers to managing pain and relieving suffering, including the racial and gender disparities that continue to impact care. Managing pain in collaboration with interprofessional colleagues requires an understanding of ethical challenges and the current political and public policy landscape surrounding pain management and opioid use. This landscape makes access more complex, demanding expert assessment and treatment plans to maximize effectiveness, with attention to structures to enhance safe prescribing. Participants will gain an awareness of available evidence informed psychological interventions for cancer pain management, including interactive guided imagery and relaxation. Tools such as journals and diaries will be introduced, both to inform assessment and enrich therapeutic outcomes. Participants will review demonstrations and key components of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) that can be used to help patients and families cope with and reduce pain. Information about basic and advanced training for these interventions, continuing education opportunities, and professional resources will be provided. Additionally, this workshop will reinforce pain management as an expected knowledge base in oncology social work.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Clinical Practice/Skill Building, Pain, Palliative Care and End of Life
Presentation Level: Intermediate


11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET (Part I) and 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. ET (Part II)

Practice Intensive

An Overview of Veterans in Cancer Care, From Diagnosis to End-of-Life 

Karlynn BrintzenhofeSzoc, PhD, LCSW, FAOSW; Louisa Daratsos, PhD, LCSW; Alba Lopez, DSW, LCSW

Many oncology social workers do not assess for military history and are not aware of a patient’s veteran identity. While there is literature about negative outcomes of military service such as PTSD, homelessness, suicide risk, and substance abuse, less discussed is the impact military service and veteran’s identity may have on how one experiences a cancer. Becoming aware of veterans and the service-related exposures that put veterans at risk for certain cancers is an essential part of an oncology social worker’s competence. Further there is a need to develop skills to enhance the quality of life for veterans who may bring more than just a cancer diagnosis to the treatment center. This session will review the latest research on veteran identity and help participants apply the findings to oncology social work practice. The workshop will enhance skills specific to conducting assessments with veterans as well as how access the myriad of resources, including mental health, PTSD, substance abuse and suicide prevention. When social workers appreciate why there is an emphasis on the veteran population, their efforts to bring veteran centered care into their practice will improve.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Veterans, Special Populations
Presentation Level: Intermediate


Thursday, August 6, 1:00 – 1:30 p.m. ET

Networking Break


Thursday, August 6, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. ET

Part II of Practice Intensives


Thursday, August 6, 3:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET

Networking Break


Thursday, August 6, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. ET

Learning Institute

Adapting Collaborative Care for People Affected by Cancer and Mental Illness: Building a Person-Centered Team

Kelly Irwin, MD; Amy Corveleyn, MSW; Shukriyah Brown, Cancer Care Navigator

Individuals with serious mental illness are more likely to die from cancer and less likely to receive timely, high quality care. New team-based models are urgently needed to address barriers to cancer care, increase access to mental health care, and improve outcomes. In this learning institute, we will discuss how we have adapted the collaborative care model to the unique needs of people with SMI and cancer, discuss our randomized trial, and share best practices from our person-centered team to reach patients with mental illness and cancer. Participants will divide into small groups to examine a case from multiple perspective and design a treatment plan using the collaborative care model. This unique institute will allow participants to see how they can adapt this model to their own practice setting and take meaningful steps to ensure that mental illness is not a barrier to cancer care.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Clinical Practice/Skill Building, Special
Populations
Presentation Level: Intermediate


Thursday, August 6, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. ET

Learning Institute

Being There Through Changing Times: Oncology Social Work and the Growth of Medical Aid in Dying

Sarah Conning, LCSW, OSW-C; Susan Hedlund, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW

Oncology social workers practicing today are witnessing rapid change in public perceptions and policies around the topic of medical aid in dying
(MAID). Once taboo, the practice (variously referred to as physician assisted death, assisted suicide, death with dignity) has become a legal end-of-life option in nine states, home to more than 20% of Americans. During this time of rapid change, one constant is the steady, compassionate presence of oncology social workers with people facing the end of life. Exercising empathy and skillful listening, oncology social workers continue the professional act of “being there” with those who are living and dying with cancer, helping them process choices and make decisions that align with their values.

This presentation will draw on the practice experiences of oncology social workers in several states where aid in dying laws have been enacted, with a panel presentation tracing the growth of the practice from its start in Oregon to neighboring states and beyond. Data from the two decades of MAID experience in Oregon and other states will be shared, along with lessons gleaned from the implementation of MAID programs and institutional policies. Ethical challenges that can arise in the implementation of MAID laws will be discussed, as well as the principles and processes that guide us in resolving them. Participants will reflect on their experiences with patients interested in assisted death, prepare for changing practice environments, and recommit to meeting patients where they are.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Pain, Palliative Care and End of Life, Ethics
Presentation Level: Intermediate

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Friday, August 7, 2020

11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. ET

AOSW’s Quality of Life in Cancer Care Awards Ceremony and Lecture

Co-Existing with Cancer and COVID: Ramifications for Ethical, Clinical, and Anti-Racist Oncology Social Work Practice

Christina Bach, MBE, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW

Course Designation: Ethics
Keywords: Ethics, Professional Issues
Presentation Level: Intermediate

Sponsored by the American Cancer Society


Friday, August 7, 12:45 – 1:00 p.m. ET

Networking Break


Friday, August 7, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET

Advance Care Planning Among African Americans Diagnosed with Cancer and other Serious Illnesses: A Cultural Competency Model 

Karen Bullock, PhD, LCSW; Gloria Anderson, PhD

African Americans diagnosed with cancer have the highest death rate and the poorest survival outcomes among all race/ethnic groups in the United States. Moreover, elderly African Americans experiencing advanced stage of a cancer disease or nearing the end of life may experience barriers to effective communication, a lack of culturally competent options to meet their care needs and emotional distress related to these challenges. Members of the social support network, in a caregiver role, may experience similar outcomes that emerge during cancer treatment period. This study aims to elucidate how advance care planning can be used as a mechanism for educating individuals, families and communities about palliative care, while simultaneously creating understanding about the barriers to optimal psychosocial care through a cultural competence lens that goes beyond health literacy and incorporates a faith-based framework.

Course Designation: Cultural Competency
Keywords: Pain, Palliative Care and End of Life, Education
Presentation Level: Intermediate


Friday, August 7, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET

Hippocratic, What? Navigating Medical Futility as a Medical Social Worker 

Christina Rothans, LCSW

As social workers in an oncology setting, we often witness medical futility as our patients undergo third- and fourth-line therapies despite their poor prognosis and physicians’ oath to “do no harm” (Blanke & Fromme, 2015). This experience creates distress for all involved, including our patients whose quality of life is significantly impacted, and ourselves, as the moral distress associated with witnessing the non-beneficial care of our patients’ compounds overtime. This talk is a palliative care social worker’s attempt to unpack the myriad factors that influence patients’ non-beneficial care despite the evidence of its association with high mortality and aggressive end-of-life care (Vasconcellos, et al. 2019). This talk is an examination of this delicate conundrum as well as a proposal to shift the paradigm of medical futility by empowering oncology and palliative care social workers to advocate for more meaningful communication between patients and their oncologists about treatment goals and prognosis for the purpose of more goal-aligned care. Ultimately, this shift will enable us to better care for our patients, ourselves, and the well-intentioned oncologists who work so hard to prolong life in the face of advanced cancer.

Course Designation: Ethics
Keywords: Clinical Practice/Skill Building, Pain, Palliative
Care and End of Life
Presentation Level: Introductory


Friday, August 7, 2:00 – 2:15 p.m. ET

Networking Break


Friday, August 7, 2:15 – 3:15 p.m. ET 

Social Work Leadership Creates Quality Improvement in Advance Care Planning 

Jane Dabney, LISW-S, OSW-C

“Advanced care planning (ACP) in hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) is challenging, given the potential for cure despite increased morbidity and mortality risk.” (Wang, W. S. et al, 2017). As primary providers of psychosocial care in oncology, social workers are poised to lead the care team in establishing training and provision of Advanced Care Planning discussions. A multidisciplinary committee, led and developed by social work, was created to address improving quality of care provided to patients and families in regards to advance care planning. Three main strategic areas of focus were identified to meet this goal. 1) Creating and implementing a needs assessment (survey) 2) training to improve the quality and comfort level of team members with ACP and GOC discussions and 3) Creation of formal workflow, structure and timing of family meetings. A confidential, fourteen question survey was created and administered with the clinical team which elicited feedback about perceptions of our approach to ACP, the comfort level of discussing goals of care, prognosis, and code status. Also assessed were current knowledge base and prior training of the respondent. The importance of holding proactive family meetings rather than reactive family meetings and triggers to indicate a need for a family meeting were identified. The committee model, survey creation and content, training program, and ACP meeting trigger workflow will be shared with participants in an effort increase access to strategies that can be easily replicated to provide compassionate discussions around advance care planning and goals of care with patients and families.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Interdisciplinary Care, Leadership/Administration
Presentation Level: Intermediate


Friday, August 7, 2:15 – 3:15 p.m. ET 

A 20/20 View of Genetics and Genomics: The Future of Precision Medicine and the Role of Social Work 

Meredith Barnhart, PhD, LCSW-R, OSW-C; Kelly A. Laschinger, RN, MSN, CPNP

 

Social workers are integral members of the health care team and must remain up-to-date on the changing health care system including advancements in genetics and genomics, also referred to as precision or personalized medicine. Despite these guidelines, social workers often lack the knowledge and expertise of precision medicine and are not well equipped to provide the necessary psychosocial support. Social workers are skilled at connecting families, yet are unsure when to refer to a genetic counselor, or to provide insurance coverage/financial resources. As advancements continue in precision medicine, families struggle with the psychosocial implications including symptoms of: anxiety and depression, uncertainty or worriment, unresolved grief, family conflict, guilt and emotional distress. Moreover, social workers often must address deep seeded health beliefs and behaviors associated with an individual’s perceived risk of developing a hereditary form of cancer and cultural beliefs/barriers. This presentation will provide a high level overview of genetics and genomics, including testing and implications for treatment, bridging the gap between the rapid health care advancements in precision medicine and the psychosocial implications of advancements, and focusing on the necessary skills and practice knowledge of the 21st century social worker. Psychosocial implications will be addressed in depth, including anxiety, communication with family members and the health care team, treatment implications and ethical considerations. The role of the social worker in addressing health disparities, equitable access and social justice will be examined. A novel model in genomics health care will be shared. Opportunities for interactive discussion will be included throughout the session.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Patient Navigation, Specialized Needs
Presentation Level: Introductory


Friday, August 7, 3:15 – 3:30 p.m. ET 

Networking Break


Friday, August 7, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. ET 

Circles of Hope: A Large Group Model of Social Work Intervention 

Nancy Cincotta, LCSW, MPhil

The goal of the workshop would be to enhance the participants comfort in engaging in the use of a large group model and will provide participants with a realistic understanding and portrayal of the group work process, its utility and how to work within the framework of large population-based models. The differences and similarities between small group and large group models will be part of the dialogue and existing literature in these areas will be reviewed. Particular skills and technique of this unique model of practice will be identified and explored. In defining “large” as group numbers ranging from 20-100 participants in the process, the large group’s unique value, its clinical strengths, and its value in oncology social work will be components of the framework of this presentation. The model’s impact in building and sustaining communities, and the many benefits which occur when such communities form will also be explored with examples in communities of families impacted by childhood cancer, bone marrow failure diseases and in bereaved communities. Reflections on the model, and perceptions of its utility will be portrayed through the voices of group participants.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Clinical Practice/Skill Building, Clinical
Practice/Skill Building
Presentation Level: Intermediate


Friday, August 7, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. ET 

Communicating Oncology Social Work: Refining Our Pitch to Interdisciplinary Colleagues 

Iris Fineberg, PhD, MSW, ACSW, OSW-C, FNAP, FAOSW; Shirley Otis-Green, MSW, MA, ACSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FNAP, FAOSW

As oncology social workers, we embrace the breadth and depth of our contribution to the care of patients and families. However, colleagues may have had experiences that limit their knowledge about or receptivity to social work. In order for oncology social work presence and influence to strengthen and grow in oncology care, we need to refine our communication with colleagues about our roles. This learning institute will focus on crafting and refining our pitch to our interdisciplinary colleagues about what oncology social workers do. The session will discuss current professional contexts in which we practice, exploring challenges and opportunities. The session will be heavily interactive and experiential, drawing upon a crowdsourcing approach to engage session participants and create materials to utilize in our work settings.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Professional Issues, Interdisciplinary Care
Presentation Level: Introductory

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Saturday, August 8, 2020

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET (Part I) and 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. ET (Part II)

Practice Intensive

The Art of Writing for Publication

Daniela Wittmann, PhD, LMSW; Karen Kayser, PhD, MSW

Publishing articles and reviewing manuscripts for journals are not only important professional activities for social workers but also shape the science that is published, disseminates evidence-based interventions into practice, and gives voice to research participants and patients. Most early-career professionals and doctoral students receive little training on how to write for journals and how to review for peer-reviewed journals. Even seasoned professionals may wonder about the publication process and what reviewers are looking for in a good manuscript. This workshop aims to address these obstacles to writing. This will take the participants through the publishing process, from initial writing of a manuscript, submission to a journal through the revise-and-resubmit phase on to publication. It will focus on 1) how to write a variety of articles (original research, case study, book review, or commentary) and 2) how to be a peer reviewer for a journal in psychosocial oncology. Participants will learn the specific things that editors look for in a good review. They will also learn how to write a good response to a revise and resubmit decision. Ethical considerations related to plagiarism and human subjects in research will be addressed. The intensive will be interactive with worksheets to assist participants in developing a writing project. Handouts of recommended readings, examples of reviews, and tip sheets will be given to participants.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Research, Education
Presentation Level: Advanced


Saturday, August 8, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET (Part I) and 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. ET (Part II)

Practice Intensive

Raising Your Ethical Antennae: An Interactive Crash Course in Identifying and Understanding Ethical Problems in Patient Care

Jennifer Ballentine, MA; Shirley Otis-Green, MSW, MA, ACSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FNAP, FAOSW

Oncology social workers are uniquely positioned to uncover and help resolve ethical problems in patient care—but they often lack the necessary ethical theory, vocabulary, framework and practical tools to handle matters that just feel “icky.” While hospitals and some cancer care centers have ethics committees to undertake formal deliberations, many ethical issues arise in hallway conversations, at the bedside or on timeframes not conducive to formal processes. Having a comprehensible and easily recalled framework for recognizing, naming and understanding ethical issues as they arise are valuable skills for social workers in the oncology care setting, especially with respect to diverse and underserved patient populations. Specifically, attendees will learn how to define and identify “ethical” problems and distinguish them from other types of problems (clinical, administrative, legal, etc.); use ethical principles to identify the core conflict in the ethical problem; discern and include cultural considerations; frame the “ethical question,” apply a basic understanding of major ethical frameworks to begin to develop a position; refer the issue to a supervisor, the interdisciplinary team, or ethics committee as appropriate. This workshop will provide early career and experienced social workers with an overview of health care ethics, applications for quality curative and palliative care, and useful tools for recognizing and defining ethical problems for the attention of the interdisciplinary team or ethics committee. Teaching methods include didactic presentation, flip-chart and worksheet-facilitated interactive exercises, presenter-facilitated large-group discussion, small group work and report-out, patient narratives, and practice sessions.

Course Designation: Ethics
Keywords: Ethics, Clinical Practice/Skill Building
Presentation Level: Introductory


Saturday, August 8, 1:00 – 1:30 p.m. ET

Networking Break


Saturday, August 8, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. ET

Part II of Practice Intensives


Saturday, August 8, 3:00 – 3:15 p.m. ET

Networking Break


Saturday, August 8, 3:15 – 4:15 p.m. ET

Closing Keynote: Connecting to Purpose 

Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, BCD, FAOSW

Oncology social workers by nature are positioned to provide support and leadership to their care teams. Burnout is negatively impacting the quadruple aim of patient experience, provider wellbeing, outcomes and costs in healthcare. Krista will explore leadership opportunities for an enhanced vision for Oncology Social Work that focuses on supporting patients, colleagues and self. Participants will explore though stories how innovation, creativity and volunteer service can cultivate meaning and professional resilience in this work. Krista will reflect on lessons learned, and the impact her experiences as an oncology social worker and how she has used these clinical skills in a broader scope in international work in Haiti and with Portland Street Medicine.

Course Designation: Clinical
Keywords: Professional Issues
Presentation Level: Intermediate

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