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.
Membership Director’s Report—Results From the 2018 Membership Survey
I came across this quote recently and immediately thought of our profession and AOSW. Our members, and our larger profession, are filled with some of the most engaged, passionate people I know. This was abundantly evident in both the quantity and quality of responses to our recent biannual Member Needs Survey. Last fall, many of you (523, to be precise) completed the 2018 survey, resulting in an abundance of useful data to help guide the next phase of organizational strategic planning. We so appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and perspective and, as a token of our appreciation, all who completed the survey were entered into a random drawing to win a free conference registration. Congratulations to the lucky winner—Beth Little of Saint Dominic Cancer Center in Jackson, Mississippi.
The full survey results will soon be available for members to view in the Member Resources section of the AOSW website, and I encourage you to do so. In the meantime, here is a brief synopsis:
- Nearly half (47 percent) of those who completed the survey are newer members of AOSW (in their first three years). This bodes well for our future, demonstrating that our newest members are engaged and invested in the organization. Likewise, it was heartening to have so many of our longer-term members complete the survey. While some professional associations experience a decline in engagement by members over time, AOSW members continue to demonstrate their commitment by participating in the work of the organization in a wide variety of ways, including offering their input through vehicles like the survey.
- There was good representation along the entire trajectory of time in the field, which helps us to better understand the perspectives and needs of members who are newer, mid-career and seasoned.
- While this was not a salary study, members may find it helpful to view the results of the question regarding salary, which indicate that the majority of respondents are making between $60,000 and $80,000 annually.
- There is a lack of diversity among our membership—approximately 85 percent of respondents identified as White/Caucasian, 5 percent as Black or African American, 4 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 3 percent as Asian American, 2 percent as multiracial and less than 1 percent as American Indian or Pacific Islander. Our board remains committed to increasing diversity in both our organization and the broader field of oncology social work. We believe diversity must keep pace with the increasing ethnic and racial diversity of our patient population. To this end, a number of initiatives are being planned by our Diversity Committee chaired by Susan Hedlund. Join us for the Clinical Practice Intensive on this very important topic at the AOSW Annual Conference this year.
- Respondents shared extremely valuable feedback regarding the membership benefits they valued and utilized most. Our listserv, SWON, remains at the top of the list, closely followed by our educational offerings, including our annual conference and online webinars. And they offered a wealth of ideas regarding both current and future potential benefits that would support their work.
- We also gathered member input on a range of topics that is already helping to inform the work of our SIG leaders, Research and Advocacy Committees, among others. Reading your thoughts on the primary social and public policy barriers that your patients face highlighted (once again) how attuned and well-informed our members are to the needs of the population we serve!
The above is just a small sampling of your responses to 32 survey questions, and I hope it has whet your appetite to learn more about the perspectives and experiences of your colleagues. Rest assured that your board, Membership Committee, SIG leaders, Advocacy and Research Committees are using this information to help guide our decisions in the coming year, and stay tuned for upcoming announcements regarding new initiatives and member benefits. Until then, stay warm, engaged and passionate!
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...
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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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