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.
By Amy Colver, MSSA, MA, LCSW
Last winter, I moved to the beautiful state of Maine. Living near the ocean has been something that I don’t take for granted as it’s provided me with a sense of peace, especially when life gets hard. I recently heard the following quote: “There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent.” This quote made me think about our work as social workers. Yes, we can stay “on the surface” with our patients and their loved ones, or when we encounter larger issues in our field, but when we have the courage to go deeper, to ask questions, to learn, and to help people feel heard, we gain an understanding and hopefully get to the place where we “get the whole point” of where a person is coming from and the issues they may be facing. So, the newsletter team and I give kudos to all of you, our AOSW community, for the work you do every day — for going deeper, for asking the hard questions, and for doing the work. You touch every aspect of psychosocial oncology care, which is not an easy task! We also give kudos to our authors in this issue who addressed a larger issue in our field, Financial Distress and Toxicity, on the patient level as well as more broadly.
Frances Ford shares a touching story about a patient she worked with who faced challenges, not only related to his treatment plan, but also in ensuring his very important pet was cared for throughout the course of his illness. Frances grounds us in the importance of having relationships with our patients, understanding them by going beneath the surface to do so, and intervening in the creative ways that only social workers can! AYA SIG leaders, Julia Leavitt and Lauren Broschak, highlight the unique financial issues that young adult patients encounter after a cancer diagnosis. They encourage us to think about the variety of issues AYA patients face and to look beneath the surface of their age to understand the complexity of these issues. They also offer suggestions for interventions, including resources, to support AYA patients. Melody and I created an additional list of financial assistance resources to help you in addressing financial distress with your patients. We’re also excited to share that you’ll find this resource list live on the AOSW website in the future.
Christina Bach and Aimee Hoch share an insightful message on their roles working as oncology social work financial navigators (OSWFN). They discuss the issue of financial toxicity on a broader level and how OSWFNs can use their training and resourcefulness to look at the bigger picture while understanding and working through each unique patient situation. Vilmarie Rodriguez also looks at financial distress and toxicity on a broader level and highlights it as a health equity issue. She goes deeper into the impact of living with financial distress while living with cancer. On a similar wavelength, Laura Tanner writes about financial toxicity on multiple levels and offers tips for managing it. She also encourages us to address the issue from different standpoints, leading to a well-rounded approach in working with patients and their loved ones.
There is so much to offer on this topic and we’re proud to be able to bring it to you in this issue! There’s probably also been lots to talk about after conference in June. For those who were able to take part in it, I hope you are feeling encouraged and energized. For others, I hope you are connecting with your colleagues who went to conference and that you can attend one in the future. Conference brings positive energy, sparks ideas, drives connection and allows us to have meaningful discussions with our colleagues; all of which hopefully motivate us to go deeper and grow in our careers. AOSW President Leora Lowenthal offers her thoughts on financial issues that social workers may face and shares an important announcement about next year’s conference.
Last (but not least), KrisAnn Talarico, a dear member of our team and long-standing leader of the newsletter, shares her reflection on how the newsletter has evolved in the last 10 years. She started by serving in the editor role in 2013 and has been serving as the editor in chief for the last several years. Her true gracious nature shines through as she gives kudos to all of you, our members and board members, who continue to volunteer for AOSW and support the newsletter. Melody and I give you that same thanks, and also thank KrisAnn for her service to AOSW and all she has done to support the organization and publication.
We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer. I hope to spend a bit more time by the ocean and enjoying all that it has to offer. When I walk on the beach after high tide, I get a glimpse into what the ocean has within as some of it washes upon the sand, but I hope that I continue to have the courage, in my career and in my personal life, to look past the surface. I hope you all do too.
About the Author
Amy Colver, MSSA, MA, LCSWEditor-in-Chief
Susan G. Komen
Amy Colver is a Sr. Specialist in Health Information and Publications at Susan G. Komen. She received her Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) and her Master of Arts in Bioethics (MA) from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). Amy...
Read Full Author Bio
Amy Colver, MSSA, MA, LCSWEditor-in-Chief
Susan G. Komen
Amy Colver is a Sr. Specialist in Health Information and Publications at Susan G. Komen. She received her Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) and her Master of Arts in Bioethics (MA) from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). Amy has several years of clinical experience in the field of oncology social work. She has worked primarily in outpatient cancer centers in both Cleveland, Ohio and Denver, Colorado. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, Amy is a member of the Association of Oncology Social Workers (AOSW), serving on the Communications Committee. She has been the editor of the AOSW Newsletter since the summer of 2021 and now serves as Editor in Chief. She has volunteered with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The Cleveland Hope Lodge, The Gathering Place, and The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at CWRU. She has served on various committees within her places of employment and has been involved in psychosocial research. Her career is a testament to her passion of providing psychosocial care to patients and their support systems facing cancer.
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Social Determinants of Health and Cancer Care
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