Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

78 Pathfinders: Forging a Partnership Between Social Work and Medicine to Conduct Psychosocial Intervention Research

Friday, January 13, 2012: 2:30 PM-4:15 PM
Farragut Square (Grand Hyatt Washington)
Cluster: Health and Disability
Sophia K. Smith, PhD, Duke University, Tina Staley, LCSW, Duke University, Brad Zebrack, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Amy P. Abernethy, MD, Duke University
Pathfinders, an evidence-informed and theoretically-grounded psychosocial care program, provides a manualized and structured curriculum designed to help cancer patients achieve “personal recovery.” Delivered by social workers and/or self-guided, Pathfinders uses cognitive-behavioral interventions, including mind/body techniques, to stimulate active coping behaviors and achieve health-promoting lifestyle changes. Founded in Colorado, Pathfinders was launched at the Duke University Cancer Center in 2007 to assess, through a pilot research study, its feasibility and helpfulness.

This interactive workshop will introduce the Pathfinders program to participants in three segments. Each segment will focus on one of three objectives:

Objective 1: Introduce attendees to an evidence-informed, theoretically grounded, and innovative supportive care program for cancer patients.

How achieved: Participants will watch a 57-minute documentary film that describes the theoretical foundation and development of the Pathfinders program and an evaluation of its outcome in 50 breast cancer patients who participated in a feasibility and pilot study at the Duke University Cancer Center.

Objective 2: Describe how Pathfinders is a successful model for integrating social work research and clinical practice -- the 'how' it was done and why it was successful.

How achieved: Program co-founder and licensed clinical social worker Ms. Staley and co-Principal Investigator Dr. Smith will describe their process for integrating social work practice and research in the clinical care setting. They will take workshop attendees “behind the scenes” of the film by discussing how the research was accomplished within the context of an academic medical setting. In addition, they will extrapolate their experiences to a broader discussion of what needs to happen in the field of social work in order to better position social work researchers in the biomedical research enterprise.

Objective 3: Identify systems- and institution-related barriers to integrating research and practice in the clinical care setting and strategies for overcoming the barriers.

How achieved: Dr. Zebrack will facilitate an interactive discussion to identify barriers and strategies to enjoining academic social work researchers and practicing social workers in clinical research. In addition, he will use the Pathfinders research agenda as a case study in exploring next steps (i.e., designing an effectiveness study).

See more of: Workshops