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.
Director’s Report: Advocacy
As my term as Advocacy Director for AOSW comes to a close, I am reminded of the reasons for my interest in this very important position on the Board of Directors.
Advocacy for cancer, treatment and survivors remains the focus of what I do and work toward as I continue as a social work practitioner. Why is this important to us as oncology social workers? The National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) clearly indicated why in its statement, “Public policy is a system of regulatory decisions, legislative actions, funding priorities, and other courses of action as well as analysis by advocates and other groups. Everyone who is diagnosed with cancer is impacted by public policy.”
While my term is coming to a close, my zeal for advocacy has not waned because I understand the importance of being involved in these advocacy issues and the impact they have on our patients and families as well as our profession. It is also critical that as we move forward as an organization, we continue to focus on this important aspect and the advocacy goals we identified as priorities—and that we monitor, evaluate and make the necessary changes to achieve our desired ends. Although we identified several important issues, our organization narrowed the focus to three main goals:
- Improving the quality of life for cancer survivors,
- Increasing awareness and education about the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, and
- Continuing to be knowledgeable about cost of care/financial toxicity for our patients and advocate for changes in this area of cancer care.
These goals are in line with other advocacy organizations such as the NCCS, the American Cancer Society, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the National Association of Social Workers, National Comprehensive Cancer Network and other like organizations with whom we have partnered over the years.
I welcome our newly elected Advocacy Director, Sarah Conning, LCSW, OSW-C, who has been a member of the Advocacy Committee during my tenure. I also want to thank the other committee members—Bettye Bradshaw, LCSW, OSW-C; Gail Brown, LCSW; Yvette Colon, PhD, MSW; and Jean Rowe, LCSW, OSW-C, CJT—for their work on the committee. I believe with new input and initiatives to our existing goals, AOSW will continue to grow and make a significant impact on cancer care through its advocacy efforts. Concurrent with “cancer advocacy” is our need to consider advocacy for our profession. Under our new Advocacy Director, I am positive we will find a way to address each area of concern.
About the Author
Christina Austin-Valere, PhD, LCSWNorthside Hospital Cancer Institute