Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
Special Interest Groups (SIGs) offer members with specific interests or needs a network to discuss, explore, and exchange ideas. SIGs form an integral part of AOSW and each draws their membership from the larger Association. Any AOSW member is eligible to affiliate with any, or all, SIGs. The current AOSW SIGs appear below listing the SIG Chair(s), contact information, and resources.
The Director-at-Large is the primary Board of Director liaison for the SIGs and is happy to assist and answer questions for them. You can contact Linda Mathew, SIG Director-at-Large.
Special Interest Groups:
Adolescents and Young Adults
The purpose of the AYA SIG is to promote awareness of pertinent psychosocial issues faced by the AYA population; share information on effective clinical “best practices” and interventions; develop and disseminate resources designed to enhance the quality of lives of AYA patients and their families; initiate research projects; inspire advocacy work targeted to enhance the quality of care received by AYA cancer patients; and provide a forum of support for AOSW members working in the AYA field.
Lauren Broschak, MSW, LCSW
Life With Cancer
Inova Schar Cancer Institute at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus
Phone: 616-826-2040 (cell)
Julia Leavitt, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Ambulatory Care/Fee-for-Service SIG
This SIG meets during the annual conference to provide a place to explore pertinent issues of concern in this time of change in health care, to share expertise in areas of fee-for-service, documentation, screening and clinical dilemmas and to network in person with those colleagues in similar settings providing similar services. Any AOSW member who provides fee-for-service or ambulatory oncology social work services, whether in outpatient clinic, free-standing center or private physician's office, is invited to attend this meeting that will also set up goals and plans for activities during the year.
Blood Cancer & BMT SIG
This SIG provides an opportunity to inform members about SIG activities, review and discuss current issues related to BC/BMT patients, caregivers and families. The SIG will also serve as a forum to share information regarding new psychosocial interventions, share resource information and assessment forms. The SIG will also provide mentoring for new BC/BMT social workers. This SIG meets during the annual conference to provide discussion, learning and collaboration.
Paula Brumback, MSW, LCSW
Florida Hospital Medical Group
Melissa Sommers, MSW, LCSW
Colorado Blood Cancer Institute - Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center
Phone: (720) 590-2390
Brain Tumor SIG
This SIG serves AOSW members working with brain tumor patients in the following ways: increasing networking and information exchange, developing appropriate protocols for working with brain tumor patients, sharing new information regarding treatments and psychosocial interventions, identifying common issues facing brain tumor patients, family members, caregivers and social workers, developing education material for patients and professionals, and providing mutual support for AOSW members.
Hannah Smith, MSW, LCSW
Neuro-Oncology and Immunotherapy Clinical Social Worker
Levine Cancer Institute
Office: (980) 442-5289
1021 Morehead Medical Drive
Charlotte, NC 28204
Ethical challenges impact the work oncology social workers do every day. Frequently we are called upon to help patients, families, and our teams navigate complex family dynamics and conflict. Common ethical hot topics in oncology care include: medical decision making, withdrawal and with-holding ofcare, access to care, medical futility, moral distress, advance care planning and cultural/spiritual differences that may impact the patient experience.
This SIG will provide a forum for discussion, learning, and collaboration. The SIG will strive to provide ethics mentorship to AOSW members and provide resources for professional development. The SIG will also utilize SWON to encourage communication via “ethics case of the month” posts and sharing of cases in the media that may impact patient care at micro, mezzo and macro levels.
Christina Bach, MBE, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Andrea Strouth, MSW, LCSW
Integrative Oncology SIG
Oncology patients are increasingly turning to complementary therapies to augment their care and enhance their total well-being. Scientific evidence is growing to support the fact that thoughts, beliefs, and emotions can have an impact on physical as well as emotional health. Oncology social workers are frequently asked by patients for information about these modalities and for assistance in choosing and/or utilizing them. This SIG was formed to provide a forum for communication among AOSW members regarding complementary and alternative medicine techniques. Goals include developing mechanisms or resources to learn how to research specific complementary approaches; developing resource lists of "model programs" which employ complementary approaches in oncology care; and development of a resource list of insurance companies which include coverage for complementary therapies.
Cheryl Ann Hughes, LICSW, OSW-C
Medstar Georgetown University Hospital
Lombardi Cancer Center
Erin L. Price, LGSW
Smith Center for Healing and the Arts
Pain, Palliative Care and End-of-Life SIG
This SIG focuses on activities which enhance and promote the role of social work in pain management, palliative care and end-of-life care, including hospice, within our discipline and with our transdisciplinary colleagues. SIG members are encouraged to develop and assert clinical expertise, participate in state initiatives and be aware of legislative activity which impacts pain management, palliative care and end-of-life care issues. The SIG recognizes the need to holistically address issues in order to help patients and families achieve the best quality of life whenever possible. Communication is largely through the AOSW newsletter, AOSW website, SWON and periodic electronic mailings. The SIG annual meeting is held at the AOSW conference and is designed to report on SIG initiatives, give information and provide networking opportunities in these practice areas. AOSW members interested in learning about and expanding the role of social work in the multidimensional aspects of cancer pain management, palliative care and end-of-life care are welcome.
Jackie Ogg, MSW, LGSW
Silvi Saxena, MSW, LSW, CCTP, OSW-C
Patient Navigation SIG
We welcome members who are interested in all aspects of Patient Navigation to join. As a newly formed SIG, we want to hear from you… those working in Patient Navigation … to collectively gather input and develop the direction for this SIG. We welcome your help in identifying goals for the SIG, creating a platform for Patient Navigators to explore patient care issues within this special interest area and sharing educational resources. In the coming months we will put together a purpose statement and focus for this SIG and we want your input and insight.
Cara Kondaki, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, CBPN-IC, OSW-C
Clinical Social Worker, Department of Oncology
The Maroone Cancer Center
Certified Oncology Social Worker, Certified Breast Patient Navigator
Cleveland Clinic Florida
Phone: (954) 487-2236
Catherine Nwileh-Ibeagha, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, OPN-CG
Social Worker, Oncology Care Model Team
Rush Cancer Center
Radiation Therapy SIG
The Radiation Therapy SIG provides specialized networking, the opportunity to share specialized professional expertise, education for the oncology community, and fosters support for those OSWs working in RT settings. This RT SIG will contribute to the ability of OSWs in RT settings to provide cutting edge psychosocial support to patients receiving RT and their families. The RT SIG also offers the opportunity for OSWs not working in RT settings to learn more about a cancer treatment that is often misunderstood.
Lauren DeWitt, MSW
Research SIG/SWORG (Social Work Oncology Research Group)
The Research Committee identified a need to have a SIG so that all members who wish to connect with research activities at AOSW can do so. Research SIG membership includes current members of the Research Committee, other researchers who are not members of the Research Committee, OSW practitioners who are involved with research activities, OSWs who would like to strengthen the research component of their jobs, and OSWs who are interested in knowing more about AOSW research activities.
Hee Yun Lee, PhD
The University of Alabama
5337 Courtney Ave
Tuscaloosa, AL 35406-2874
Phone: (205) 348-6553
Amy E. Corveleyn, MSW, LICSW
Massachusetts General Hospital
3 Parsons Drive
Beverly, MA 01915
Phone: (617) 840-6374
Social workers are frequently presented with problems related to sexuality and intimacy when addressing quality of life issues for their patients, making it imperative that they seek out education, training and supervision around these issues in order to best meet the needs of their patients. The impact of cancer and cancer treatment on sexual health are frequent subjects on SWON, and are popular topics at the annual AOSW conference. Studies suggest that oncology social workers need education and training on these issues in order to provide better psychosocial counseling, psychoeducation and advocacy for their patients. The Sexuality SIG has several goals, including:
- Educating oncology social workers about the sexual health needs of persons diagnosed with cancer and their partner(s)
- Creating a forum of oncology social work professionals to learn about and discuss the current challenges that their patients face related to sexual well-being.
- Developing research strategies for growing the literature on this important quality of life topic.
We hope you will join us at the annual AOSW conference and join our SIG so you can participate in the email discussions and resource sharing.
Sage Bolte, PhD, LCSW, OSW-C
We view spirituality as an essential component of knowing how patients and families view their world, their illness and their individual search for meaning, purpose, connectedness and hope through the cancer experience. It can serve as an anchor to help maintain a sense of purpose and stability during the many challenges of the cancer experience by connecting people to each other, to a community and to a higher source of power outside of themselves.
The Spirituality SIG seeks to encourage and promote awareness of the importance of spiritual assessment and interventions and to assist oncology social workers in developing a skill set to provide competent delivery of psychospiritual care to patients and families.
Debbie Mattison, LMSW, OSW-C
Sandra Blackburn, MSW, LSW
Abramson Cancer Center Penn Medicine
Phone: (215) 360-0580
Youth, Families and Cancer
The Youth, Families and Cancer SIG is based on the understanding that addressing the needs of all members of the family system, including children and adolescents, is an essential part of psychosocial oncology care. This SIG addresses the psychosocial impact of cancer within the family, with a primary emphasis on the needs of children and adolescents affected by the cancer diagnosis of a parent, close relative or friend. The Youth, Families and Cancer SIG will provide a forum to develop and share information about best practices, research and resources, discuss new programs and service trends and identify any action AOSW may need to take on behalf of youth and families impacted by cancer.
Carissa Hodgson, LCSW, OSW-C
Gilda’s Club Madison
7907 UW Health Court
Middleton, WI 53562
Kailie Sullivan, LCSW, OSW-C
Dempsey Centers for Quality Cancer Care
29 Lowell Street, 5th Floor
Lewiston, ME 04240