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: Membership
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.” Rabindranath Tagore
Greetings from the Membership Committee. I am excited to share with you some of the accomplishments of the past year as well as some of the committee’s goals for the remainder of 2018. And I want to give a nod of respect and appreciation to my predecessor, Eucharia Borden (now AOSW’s President-Elect), for her vision and stellar leadership that really helped this committee grow and flourish!
AOSW Successes and Initiatives in 2017 and the first half of 2018
- Created the Professional Development & Leadership Webinar Series in conjunction with the Education Committee. These free webinars provide ongoing professional development, career mentorship, guidance and skill-building for oncology social workers. The series identifies the nuances of oncology social work and gives AOSW members the information needed to develop the highest level of care for the patients they serve.
- Completed the first two years of the Patient Centered-Research Collaborative of Psychosocial Oncology in conjunction with the 2017 and 2018 AOSW Post-Conference Research Institute.
- Introduced Clinical Practice Intensives (CPIs) at last year’s conference. Due to an enthusiastic response from attendees, five additional CPIs were offered at the 2018 AOSW Conference in Atlanta.
- Launched the AOSW Action Network Blog, which publishes policy updates, perspectives and advocacy stories from AOSW members. (Posts reflect the opinion of the writer, not necessarily the position of AOSW.)
- Launched an AOSW Diversity & Inclusion subcommittee and published the Diversity & Inclusion Statement on the AOSW website. AOSW is committed to building a community that reflects all people affected by cancer and where every member regardless of their age, race, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, and religion feels valued and welcome among all levels of the organization. Embracing diversity and inclusion is a top priority of AOSW, which empowers social workers to demonstrate integrity, compassion and leadership in the practice of oncology.
Current Projects of the Membership Committee
- Produce a “What do Oncology Social Workers Do?” presentation in response to demand from AOSW membership on SWON.
- Create a tool on the AOSW website where members can easily locate other members who offer specific services such as free or fee-for service counseling/psychotherapy. (This, too, is in response to a recent thread on SWON!)
- Disseminate the 2018 AOSW Member Needs Survey to learn how we can better serve our members.
- Develop a Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit to encourage professionals in psychosocial oncology to create a welcoming environment for their patients.
- Create an AOSW Volunteer Appreciation page highlighting AOSW members and their involvement and dedication to the profession of oncology social work.
- Launch a membership drive in the fall with the opportunity for current AOSW members to win a free conference registration to our 2019 annual conference in Tucson when they recruit a first-time member or bring back a long-lapsed one.
- Focus on three initiatives we started last year:
- Launch the Diversity & Inclusion Subcommittee,
- Develop an AOSW mentorship program, and
- Add the MSW/Field Instruction project as an added member benefit.
This is just a snapshot of the work that has been going on in your association. Your AOSW membership will keep you connected to the knowledge, resources and networks you need to meet the challenges you encounter every day in the world of psychosocial oncology.
Please know that your ideas, participation, and support are always welcome and are vital to our success as an organization. Thank you for your ongoing support of AOSW!
About the Author
Kerry Irish, LCSW, OSW-CThe Dempsey Centers for Quality Cancer Care
Kerry Irish, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW, has worked in oncology and hospice-care settings since 1995 in both direct clinical practice and senior leadership roles. She currently works as a remote Oncology Counselor with the Dempsey Centers for Quality Canc...
Read Full Author Bio
Kerry Irish, LCSW, OSW-CThe Dempsey Centers for Quality Cancer Care
Kerry Irish, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW, has worked in oncology and hospice-care settings since 1995 in both direct clinical practice and senior leadership roles. She currently works as a remote Oncology Counselor with the Dempsey Centers for Quality Cancer Care and maintains a private practice specializing in oncology and grief counseling. Kerry is also an ordained interfaith minister, graduating from One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in NYC in 2015. She has advanced certifications in oncology social work and interactive guided imagery and is currently working on an advanced certificate program in Contemplative Psychotherapy.
Kerry has been an active member of the Association of Oncology Social Work since 2002 and is serving her third term on AOSW’s Board of Directors. She is currently serving as Education Director (2023-26) and has previously served as Membership Director (2018-21) and Director-At-Large (2008-11). In 2016, Kerry was awarded the American Cancer Society’s national Quality of Life Award, given to “honor individuals who have innovatively contributed to the quality of life of those living with cancer through their publications, presentations, and direct service; reflecting a commitment to quality of life for all cancer survivors.” Kerry also received AOSW’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2021 for creating a collegial comfort program designed to provide new professional resources and support for oncology social workers to help alleviate the additional professional and personal stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally in 2021, Kerry was designated as an AOSW Fellow (FAOSW), a credential designated to “recognize and honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the science and practice of psychosocial oncology.”
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