AOSW Connections

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AOSW Connections, our newsletter, helps AOSW members stay informed and connected. In addition to information about about upcoming AOSW conferences and initiatives, AOSW Newsletter includes insights and practical information from practitioners and the AOSW leadership. If you're a member of AOSW, watch for new issues in your inbox.

October 2021

Volume 2 | Issue 1

President's Message

COVID’s Effects on the Oncology Social Work Profession
Bill McDermott, MSW, LCSW‎
As I reflect on how COVID has impacted oncology social workers this past year, it is quite daunting to think about what we have experienced. But my greatest takeaway has been that we are needed now more than ever.
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AOSW Conference

Submit an Abstract for #AOSW22
AOSW Annual Conference - June 15-17, 2022
Submit your abstract today

Submission Deadline: December 1, 2021

AOSW is accepting abstract submissions for the 2022 AOSW Annual Conference, scheduled for June 15-17, 2022, in Raleigh, North Carolina USA.  Learn more on the AOSW Conference website.
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Clinical Content

The Intersection of Psychosocial Oncology and COVID
Kimberly A. Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Those diagnosed with cancer often can vividly remember the day they found out. The day their world shifted and life changed forever. The day of the week, the time of day. A patient told me several years ago, “It didn’t shift, it blew up.” The shared experience of living with a global pandemic has some parallel to the cancer experience.
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Advocacy & Health Policy

Nina Miller, MSSW, OSW-C
It was March 2020 and I had just finished all preliminary testing - EKG, ECHO, pulmonary function studies and the like – and I headed to my final appointment with hematology to sign consent for transplant. “I’m sorry, but the hospital…COVID-19…your transplant has been postponed….Lockdown.” 
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Advocacy News
Patients and Caregivers for Paid Leave
AOSW is proud to join more than 20 patient and caregiver organizations telling Congress and the Biden Administration that we need paid leave to help families balance care and work.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness
In early October 2021, the Department of Education announced steps to overhaul the notoriously troubled ‎Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. AOSW and its members helped make this happen.
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Book Review

Book Review: Demystifying DBT for Cancer: Encouraging, Practical Strategies for Coping with Cancer
KrisAnn Talarico, LCSW, OSW-C
In Coping with Cancer: DBT Skills to Manage Your Emotions – and Balance Uncertainty with Hope, Elizabeth Cohn Stuntz and Dr. Marsha Linehan outline how Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills can be used to cope with cancer regardless of the stage or phase of one’s disease. Elizabeth Cohn Stuntz, a social worker and psychoanalyst who has worked extensively with cancer patients, speaks both from her professional experience as well as her personal experience as a cancer survivor.
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COVID-19 & Cancer Care Delivery‎
Brittany Moore-Nwachuku, EdD, LCSW, LISW, OSW-C
As AOSW’s Communications Director, I have been able to witness firsthand the power of collaboration among social workers during adverse situations. The leadership and members of AOSW have pulled together during this time of COVID-19 to offer support among one another through the Collegial Comfort Groups (now called Timeout Tuesday), maintain networking opportunities through virtual conferences, support COVID related research and resources for fellow oncology social workers, and offer advice, expertise, and time of reflection on our SWON platforms. 
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Editor's Message

Welcome to AOSW Connections
Amy Colver, LCSW, KrisAnn Talarico, LCSW, OSW-C
Welcome to AOSW Connections, our new and improved newsletter! We hope it will be a connection point for you to the people, resources and insights that fuel and promote our profession. You may have noticed that our newsletter has been on a brief hiatus since the early days of the pandemic. Similar to our team, you might be saying, “Has that been a minute or a month?” Either way, it seems only fitting that our first release under our new moniker center around COVID-19 and Cancer, the ways in which the pandemic has reshaped psycho-oncology care.
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Passion & Purpose

Passion & Purpose: Reflecting on How I Found Both During the Pandemic ‎
Kerry Irish, LCSW, OSW-C
I was on a beach in Mexico with fellow AOSW member Tara Schapmire and our husbands the first time I heard the word “Coronavirus.”  I remember looking down at the beer in my hand a bit nervously and cracking a joke that this wasn’t going to be good for its brand.  I didn’t feel terribly concerned, wrapped in my own American brand of privilege and arrogance, that it would amount to much. 
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COVID-19 Resources Available Through AOSW
Amy Colver, LCSW
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing that has remained constant in my life is gratitude for the AOSW community. Being a part of this organization has brought connection to other oncology social workers, knowledge and opportunity into my life. AOSW offers many benefits to its individual members as well as the oncology community as a whole. One benefit is the COVID-19 Resource page on the AOSW website. 
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