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AOSW Projects and Partnerships

AOSW continues to strengthen both its programming and liaison activities, by maintaining collaborations and fostering new and innovative projects. The list below offers a summary of some of the completed and ongoing initiatives that AOSW is proud to be part of in the arena of psychosocial oncology.

If you have any questions, comments or would like to discuss possible future ideas for programming, please do not hesitate to contact AOSW's President at [email protected].

Building a more inclusive research infrastructure:  

A new policy is in effect with the following objectives:

  1. Increase engagement with early stage investigators;
  2. Facilitate a more targeted engagement with middle and senior investigators;
  3. Re-energize the Research SIG; and,
  4. Fuel the development and dissemination of evidence-based practice through ongoing consultation with the Patient-centered Research Consortium (PCRC).
This new policy was a result of a retreat that was held in Ann Arbor, Mich., in October 2018 and funded by PCORI. At this retreat, the Research Committee and PCRC attendees ensured that it aligns with the AOSW Strategic Plan and facilitates organizational and professional development as well as encourage connectivity among all members.

AOSW’s Executive Research Committee core members are largely middle and senior level investigators:
  • Dr. Barbara Jones
  • Dr. Hee Lee
  • Dr. Julie Oktay
  • Dr. Tara Schapmire
  • Dr. Sophia Smith
  • Dr. Daniela Wittman
  • Dr. Bradley Zebrack.

Additional Resources:

  • AOSW Research Protocol Application  – The AOSW Research Committee is charged with providing independent peer review of the applicability of IRB-approved protocols to the greater AOSW membership. Feedback will be provided to the applicant(s) at their request.

Patient-Centered Research Collaborative of Psychosocial Oncology (PCRC)

AOSW is working with the University of Michigan and Dr. Brad Zebrack on a new research initiative funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).
The project, known as the Patient-Centered Research Collaborative of Psychosocial Oncology (PCRC), will conduct psychosocial research, disseminate findings and elicit systems changes to improve cancer care. It continues the work of A Project to Assure Quality Cancer Care (APAQC) and the White Paper created at the 2016 Research Institute held at the AOSW 32nd Annual Conference in Tampa, Florida.
Plans involve bringing 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 will host two Research Institutes in conjunction with the AOSW Annual Conferences in 2017 and 2018.
Work on the project will be 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.
The project and the process for application was officially opened on December 1, 2016.
View the press release > > >   View frequently asked questions > > >   Learn more and apply to participate > > > 


White Paper from the AOSW 2016 Research Institute 

A White Paper that describes the AOSW Research Institute held following the 2016 Conference is now available. 
There will be a second AOSW Research Institute on May 30, the day before the 2017 AOSW 33rd Annual Conference being held in Denver, Colorado. The Research Institute will be held jointly with the Patient-Centered Research Collaborative of Psychosocial Oncology (PCRC) pre-conference event.  
Details on the program, including how to register, will be announced soon. Please consider attending the Research Institute, if you are interested in oncology social work research.  It will be open to all oncology social workers, including those who are not participating in the PCRC.

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. It’s 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.

Guidance for Staffing Standards

Publications from the APAQCC Project

The Association of Oncology Social Work's Project to Assure Quality Cancer Care (APAQCC) article in the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology
Brad Zebrack, PhD, MSW, MPH (Principal Investigator, APAQCC), Karen Kayser, PhD, MSW, JPO Editor (Co-Investigator, APAQCC), Julianne Oktay, PhD, Laura Sundstrom, MSW, & Alison Mayer Sachs , MSW (Past President, Association of Oncology Social Work)​

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.) in patients whose disease progressed despite treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy and 2) KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab; Merck & Co., Inc.) as first-line therapy in 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

The Association of Oncology Social Work (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, queer (LGBTQ) 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, bi-sexual, queer men and transgender women with prostate cancer.
Research Project
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 gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (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 will subsidize a two-part project to identify potential gaps in training, skills and knowledge for practitioners that provide individual, couple and family support for GBTQ with prostate cancer and their families/support systems, and development of educational materials for practitioners and patients on the psychosocial aspects of diagnosis and treatment.