AOSW is committed to advancing the field of psychosocial oncology. One of the ways we do this is by informing practice, policy and education through research. AOSW’s research initiatives address clinical outcomes, policy changes and theoretical approaches that impact practitioners as well as patients and caregivers. The AOSW Research Committee is charged with providing independent peer review of the applicability of IRB-approved protocols to the greater AOSW membership. 

How to Access AOSW Membership

The AOSW Research Committee considers requests for accessing our membership to facilitate study recruitment and data collection. In the past, researchers have used the SWON listserv and social media channels as a tool to recruit participants for psychosocial oncology research studies.

To submit a request, fill out the AOSW Research Protocol Application and email it with the requested documentation to AOSW Research Director and Committee Chair Chiara Acquati, PhD, MSW.

AOSW Research Projects

Patient-Centered Research Collaborative of Psychosocial Oncology (PCRC)

AOSW is working with the University of Michigan and Dr. Brad Zebrack on a research initiative funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

The project, known as the Patient-Centered Research Collaborative of Psychosocial Oncology (PCRC) conducts psychosocial research, disseminates findings and elicits systems changes to improve cancer care. It continues the work of A Project to Assure Quality Cancer Care (APAQCC) and the White Paper created at the 2016 Research Institute held at the AOSW 32nd Annual Conference in Tampa, Florida.

This project brings established researchers together with 15 teams of oncology social workers and cancer patient advocates to identify high priority research topics and conduct Patient-Centered Outcomes and Comparative Effectiveness Research. The group hosted two Research Institutes in conjunction with the AOSW Annual Conferences in 2017 and 2018.

Work on the project is conducted in collaboration with AOSW. The American Cancer Society and the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer have each also signaled commitment to facilitate collaboration and dissemination of research that emerges.

A Project to Assure Quality Cancer Care (APAQCC)

A Project to Assure Quality Cancer Care is an AOSW-sponsored project partnering with the University of Michigan School of Social Work and the Kent School of Social Work-University of Louisville. Its purpose is to improve the psychosocial care received by cancer patients and their families, provide social workers with tools and skills to implement and monitor psychosocial care and adhere to national standards of care, to inform social work practice, and to provide data to advocate for needed institutional resources.

NSCLC Immunotherapy: Advancing Hope™

Through a strategic partnership with Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) and other partnering organizations (including AOSW), SITC is pleased to announce the launch of its new initiative: Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Immunotherapy: Advancing HopeTM!

This initiative includes an NSCLC immunotherapy general education animated video and a CME/CNE NSCLC online activity. The video follows a patient’s journey from NSCLC diagnosis through his course of treatment and explains how cancer immunotherapy works, the current approved immunotherapy treatments, potential side effects and the importance of clinical trials.View and share this important video with patients and colleagues.

*This video was produced prior to the October 2016 FDA approvals of (1) TECENTRIQ® (atezolizumab, Genetech, Inc.) for patients whose disease progressed despite treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy and (2) KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab; Merck & Co., Inc.) as first-line therapy for patients whose tumors express high levels of PD-L1 on an FDA-approved test, without certain genetic mutations (EGFR or ALK). As a leader in the field of cancer immunotherapy research and education, SITC will continue to update this video series as additional immunotherapy treatments become available.

GBTQ Research Project for Oncology Social Workers

AOSW has received funding from Medivation for a research project focused on identifying the needs of oncology social workers (OSWs) to better provide services for gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (GBTQ) cancer patients, survivors and their families (broadly defined). This population is understudied in all areas (such as risk factors for disease, disease prevalence, medical and psychosocial care). Research that identifies gaps in the provision of psychosocial support services would be a contribution to a sparse body of knowledge. As a starting point, little is known about the perceived skill level and knowledge of OSWs with respect to provision of services to this population in general and specifically with the gay, bisexual, queer men and transgender women with prostate cancer.

AOSW chose GW Cancer Institute (GWCI) at the George Washington University to receive a $25,000 grant award to identify the needs of oncology social workers (OSWs) to better provide services for GBTQ cancer patients, survivors and their families/support systems. GWCI was selected following an RFP process that concluded on March 15, 2016.

The grant award subsidizes a two-part project to identify potential gaps in training, skills and knowledge for practitioners that provide individual, couple and family support for GBTQ patients with prostate cancer and their families and support systems, and development of educational materials for practitioners and patients on the psychosocial aspects of diagnosis and treatment.