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From the President-Elect: An Honor

February 1, 2020

Hello fellow AOSW members. I am honored to be the president-elect of AOSW, an organization that has been a lifeline for me at many different points in my career.

I became interested in social work as a career largely because of the volunteer work I was doing for an AIDS service organization in St. Louis, Missouri, during the 1980s. After graduating from St. Louis University’s MSW program in 1991, I was fortunate to work for more than five years in an outpatient ambulatory center. There my work was focused on helping people with cancer and also those with HIV. I could not have asked for a better place to learn.

It was during this time that I also attended my first AOSW conferences in Detroit and New York City. I fondly remember attending the “New Oncology Social Worker” training at my first conference and how helpful that was to me. I also met people during those early years who gave me the support and confidence a new social worker needs to be able to succeed.

In 1997, I moved to New York City and landed a position in an outpatient cancer center at St. Vincent’s Hospital, where I stayed for nearly 17 years. Those were some of the most enriching years of my life, and I quickly learned that New York City is an ideal location for a social worker. I would likely still be at that same job if the hospital had not closed, but I was able to move to New York University’s Cancer Center, which has been a wonderful place and where I have the privilege to manage 15 superb social workers.

It was during this time that Penny Damaskous approached me with the idea of running for the board of AOSW as treasurer, something I had never previously considered. I served for three years with some of the smartest people I have ever known. It was amazing to be able to watch three very different but effective leadership styles as each year a new person rotated through the position of president.

I am truly humbled by this opportunity to serve as AOSW president and am very much looking forward to working with all of you. Take good care!

About the Author

Bill McDermott, MSW, LCSW

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