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NASW active at Association of Oncology Social Work’s annual conference

NASW News blog exclusive: NASW Senior Practice Associate Stacy Collins participated in three presentations at the Association of Oncology Social Work’s 28th annual conference May 30 to June 1 in Boston.

In the session “The Importance of Advocacy Leadership for Oncology Social Workers,” Collins was joined by Carol Trust, executive director of the NASW Massachusetts Chapter. They discussed the status of health care reform as well as success stories as they relate to state-level social work advocacy efforts for clients and the profession. Collins highlighted the major benefits of the Affordable Care Act and stressed the need for social workers to be active in their state’s health reform implementation efforts, including expansion of Medicaid, development of their state’s health insurance exchange; and selection of an essential health benefits plan.

In the presentation “Take the Lead! Your Patients and Your Profession Need You,” Collins said attendees learned about ways to develop their inherent leadership skills. The presenters offered examples of how social work leaders have a vision, an ability to influence others to act, problem-solving skills and the aptitude to create positive change. “No one understands the psychological, social and economic effect of cancer health policy as well as front-line oncology social workers,” Collins said.

In another session, Collins discussed NASW’s Train-the-Trainer model, which has been used to train social workers and nurses on the Cancer Survivor Toolbox project. The toolbox, which aids newly diagnosed cancer survivors and their caregivers with important life skills and self-advocacy information, was developed by NASW, the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, AOSW and the Oncology Nursing Society. Using the train-the-trainer model, more than 400 professionals have been trained to use the Cancer Survival Toolbox program with cancer survivors and their families. Collins said the training model also has been successful in educating hundreds of professionals about the latest methods addressing HIV/AIDS, child welfare and oral chemotherapy adherence.

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