Amy Colver, LCSW
Melody Griffith, MSW, LMSW, OSW-C
AOSW Communications Director
Jeanice Hansen, LCSW, OSW-C
To submit a story or information for inclusion in a future issue of AOSW Newsletter, contact Amy Colver or Melody Griffith on the list above.
A Decade of AOSW Evolution Through the Lens of the AOSW Newsletter
By KrisAnn Talarico, LCSW, OSW-C
This, our third Issue of 2023, marks my last issue as AOSW Connections Editor-in-Chief. This is the 10th year I have been at the helm of our AOSW newsletter, a position that offers a very unique vantage point in witnessing how our association has evolved this past decade. I’m very proud of the space that this newsletter holds in our organization as an avenue for each AOSW social worker passionate about psychosocial oncology to share their ideas and wisdom. It is a platform that facilitates and encourages learning from each other as we better ourselves and our profession.
When I started as editor in 2013, our newsletter was called the AOSW News and it was in print form! (Take a peek at it here.) It seems like ages ago, both in the timeline of my memory but also in the technology. Through the years the newsletter evolved into the online AOSW Navigator, which was first available to AOSW members only, and then later became a public blog that allowed our authors more opportunity for their great words to be shared beyond AOSW and further into our communities. The newsletter took a brief hiatus during the AOSW website redesign and the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and re-emerged last year as AOSW Connections.
If you look back through the archives or our newsletter, you’ll find exceptional articles that are not only thought-provoking, but that leave an imprint. In December 2015, then AOSW President Dr. Penny Damaskos PhD, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW, wrote her final President’s Message (Issue 6) with a very memorable call to action. In her words, “…Working in a crisis-oriented field can obscure the ways the world can interact with our clinical world. I notice this for myself sometimes when I look at or read the news and think, ‘I gave at the office,’ and turn the page, so to speak, on the issues of the day. I think I am unplugging but I am really disconnecting.” Her words continue to ring true today, as does her call to action, “During this time of reflection and reunion, I encourage you to reach out beyond your immediate worlds into the chaotic, messy one that is swirling around us, and not just take in the images of despair but take action against them.”
Also in that December 2015 issue was a captivating article called, “Bereavement and the Boat We Row,” by Katie Hennessy, LCSW, OSW-C. It illustrates one very special 12-year ritual that was used by a cancer center clinical team to honor and acknowledge patients who have died. As Katie writes, this brief ritual is a way to honor the preciousness of life, and the preciousness of the work they do together.
More recently in November 2022, former AOSW Communications Director Maureen Rigney wrote, “A Non-research Social Worker Finds Joy at a Research Conference.” While at the 23rd annual meeting of the International Psychosocial Oncology Society (IPOS), she shared the impact of a session she attended on implementation science. Per Rigney, “A particularly striking point, from an article by Balas in the Yearbook of Medical Informatics is that it takes, on average, 17 years for evidence-based practices to move only 14% of innovations into practice!”
And most recent of all is Kerry Irish’s very poignant March article, “’Dear Deborah’: Gratitude letters are a beneficial intervention for cancer patients… and a great practice for Oncology Social Workers.” Thanks to Kerry’s candid and authentic article, we are invited to step into a practice that not only is a meaningful gift to the people with whom we work, but also a practice that can be inspiring and sustaining for us as social workers.
As you can see, a look back through the AOSW newsletter articles over this past decade reveals such richness! The newsletter has been an important source of psychosocial oncology information, practical tools and practices to support patients, to support our clinical teams, and to support ourselves in doing this work. Not to mention inspiration and ideas – all from our AOSW member colleagues.
The AOSW newsletter has always been an entirely volunteer effort, thanks to the planning, editing and authoring contributions of our AOSW members (many of YOU!). For reference, we’ve published 55-75 articles per year through our newsletter. We came together during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 to host a list of resources for our colleagues in Texas. And, since October 2021 we’ve been highlighting articles and wisdom learned about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic not only on our patients and families, but also on each of our teams and practice settings. This newsletter has been and is a dynamic connection point for each of us to our organization. It is a way to try on writing skills or to get more involved in AOSW. And it is especially a way to bridge not only the miles, but also the clinical, academic, non-profit, community, and medical settings that we span. It’s been a joy to be part of, and I look forward to more inspiration to come from new Editor-in-Chief Amy Colver and Editor Melody Griffith.
About the Author
KrisAnn Talarico, LCSW, OSW-CEditor in Chief
KrisAnn Talarico is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Board-Certified Oncology Social Worker (OSW-C) who lives in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about improving the lives of patients and families facing cancer, and has been since f...
Read Full Author Bio
KrisAnn Talarico, LCSW, OSW-CEditor in Chief
KrisAnn Talarico is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Board-Certified Oncology Social Worker (OSW-C) who lives in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about improving the lives of patients and families facing cancer, and has been since facilitating her first Women’s Cancer Support Group in 2002. She currently is a Lead OC Counselor with Steps Through OC, a Program of Clearity. Steps Through OC offers 10 sessions of emotional support over a six-month period to women and caregivers coping with ovarian cancer. Previously, KrisAnn was an Oncology Social Worker at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in Seattle, WA. She has also worked for non-profit organizations seeking to advance the level of psychosocial support delivered to cancer survivors through the use of technology, including bringing to life an online Cognitive Behavioral Stress Management program for breast cancer survivors. KrisAnn shares deep appreciation for AOSW and the expert colleagues she has met through our professional association. She has been the Editor of the AOSW newsletter since 2014.
ArticlesA Decade of AOSW Evolution Through the Lens of the AOSW Newsletter
A Message from the Editors
A Message from the Editors
Book & Film Reviews: Handbook of Oncology Social Work: Psychosocial Care for People with Cancer Grace Christ, Carolyn Messner, & Lynn Behar (Eds.)
Book Review: Demystifying DBT for Cancer: Encouraging, Practical Strategies for Coping with Cancer
Book Review: Your Journey beyond Breast Cancer: Tools for the Road
Introducing AOSW Navigator: Our New Bi-Monthly E-Newsletter
Psychosocial Support for Patients with Genetic Predisposition to Cancer
Welcome to AOSW Connections