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Editorial Team

Amy Colver, LCSW

Melody Griffith, MSW, LMSW, OSW-C

AOSW Communications Director
Jeanice Hansen, LCSW, OSW-C

Managing Editor
Patricia Sullivan

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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.

February 2024

Volume 4 | Issue 1

SIG Updates

SIG Updates

Chelsea Kroll, MSW, LMSW, OSW-C

Increase Your Networking, Knowledge and Connections
OK, so we aren’t at a soccer game (football for our friends around the world), but a new year often finds us creating professional and personal goals. 


Looking Ahead with Clearer Vision 

Jenny Kwak, LCSW, OSW-C

A patient recently sent me a lovely message of gratitude. Part of this message said, “You have been so amazing in helping me see my cancer with a different lens. I’m not saying I’m 100% there, but I am on my way. You have allowed me to embrace my authentic self to feel all the feels and not be ashamed. That to cry and be said is ok. But most importantly, I have never been more present and grateful in my life. That shift in attitude has given me the fortitude to go forward and to fight as long as I can.” 

The Importance of Self-care in the Oncology Work Setting

Deysi Vatman, LMSW

As an oncology social work clinician, I’ve come to understand that the path to healing is seldom a linear journey. As a social worker, a healer, a daughter and a cancer survivor myself, I deeply acknowledge the importance of self-care in the oncology work setting. My role as  patient navigator allows me to hear the stories of my patients’ triumphs and challenges in the healthcare system. Offering and connecting them to services and being a source of information and support is something I take great pride in. However, oftentimes, if I do not acknowledge my boundaries of being present, available and able to help; I find myself experiencing the weight of the complexities that come with helping others.

Self-care Through Yoga 

Shelly Barnard, LISW, CYT-500, RM

4:30 a.m. may seem like an obnoxious time to wake up for a daily self-care routine and it did not come naturally for me. However, it’s now my favorite time of day and is a collaboration of personal will, cat breakfast timing and lots of trial and error. Creating the conditions for a successful place and time to practice yoga has changed over the years.

This Article Might Not Be for You

Billie J. Baldwin, MA, MSW, LCSW-C

Whether you have been a social worker for 20 years or two, I’m sure you have been part of conversations about what self-care is and how it is a mandate not an option. In fact, the NASW added self-care to its Code of Ethics in 2021. While the onus for self-care should not be completely on the individual but shared with the employing organization, it ultimately falls to the individual to create a self-care plan. 


Learning Opportunities Abound in 2024 

Catherine Cassingham, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C; Teresa van Oort, MHA, MSSW, LCSW-S

By Teresa van Oort, MHA, MSSW, LCSW-S, and Catherine Cassingham, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C 

What an exciting year for learning! 2024 has only just begun and AOSW is excited to offer several opportunities to engage in learning, professional development, growth and networking!  

Editor's Message

Editor’s Message

Melody Griffith, MSW, LMSW, OSW-C

Self-care. Sometimes it isn’t a fun trip, a relaxing day at the spa, or time spent with friends. Sometimes it doesn’t look like what you want or think it should. And sometimes it means resigning from an opportunity you really wanted to work.  


Celebrating Social Work Month  

March signifies the beginning of spring, St. Patrick’s Day, International Women’s Day, Daylight Saving Time, and a many other observances. However, for social workers across the United States, it’s our time for the spotlight—Social Work Month. During these 31 days, we have a chance to recognize and appreciate the dedicated work of social workers in educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and across various government levels—federal, state, and local. Their impactful contributions extend to corporate settings, social service agencies, and even veterans centers. 

Book Review

Book Review

Jeanice Hansen, LCSW, OSW-C

Reviewed by Jeanice Hansen, LCSW, OSW-C 

Mirrors & Windows: Reflections on the Journey in Serious Illness Practice. Edited by Terry Altilio and others. December 2023.
ISBN-13: 979-8370034343 

This self-published book is a collection of personal narratives written from the perspective of primarily palliative care social workers who observed themselves and the lived experience of colleagues, patients and families facing the reality of death due to a life-limiting disease, often cancer, and during the COVID pandemic. These stories take place in a variety of settings and readily draw us in, often inspiring us to recall similar experiences of our own whether we called ourselves oncology social workers, palliative care social workers, or hospice social workers – or those of us who also survived the loss of someone we loved. Powerful, inspiring, humbling and frustrating. Each one illuminates how this work can be so hard and yet so holy at the same time – revealing why we do this work and why we stay (or leave). 

President's Message

President's Message

Michael L. Grignon, LMSW, CCM, MBA

By Michael Grignon, LMSW, CCM, MBA
AOSW President 

Carlos Santana, the Rolling Stones and Nina Simone. 

I have many other therapists too, but this group of artists have created my three go-to songs for when I am feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, defeated and/ or a little burned out.  Sometimes I use them quite liberally and frequently quite loudly.  As you have probably guessed, music has long been one of my tools for taking care of myself, both as a person and as a professional.