Saturday, January 18, 2020: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Independence BR A, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Health (H)
Lailea Noel, PhD, New York University
Barbara Jones, PhD, University of Texas at Austin
Increased attention has been given to the role of social determinants of health (such as race, ethnicity, poverty, financial toxicity, mobility, and social isolation) on patient mental and physical health outcomes. As such, many oncology programs are increasingly engaging in integrated models of care in which social work holds a key role. In this symposium, we argue that oncology social work should work towards ensuring equitable access to mental health and health care by providing sensitive empowering care to those experiencing inequities as well as working to change underlying social conditions that result in and maintain inequities. The field of oncology social work has grown tremendously over the past 30 years. This growth is due in part to an increase in the number of people coping with cancer and cancer survivors. In 2019, there will be approximately 1,762,450 cancer cases diagnosed in the United States. Furthermore, the continuous decline in death rates since 1991 has resulted in an estimated 17 million Americans living with a history of cancer and the American Cancer Society has projected that the number of cancer survivors will increase by 29.1% to 21.7 million in 2029. Despite these remarkable improvements, cancer health disparities continue to cause a disproportionate burden of cancer for certain groups. As a result, the role of health social work has increased throughout the country on interdisciplinary teams. The papers in this symposium present oncology social work research focused on multiple facets of social and economic burden experienced by cancer patients and survivors across the continuum of care, which includes early detection, supportive care, and therapeutic approaches. The first paper presents findings from a study on the association between mental health and depression and compliant screening for breast cancer among a population of women with a lower socioeconomic status group. The second paper outlines a study focused on the association between financial toxicity, psychosocial characteristics and health outcomes among a population of cancer patients who arrived at diagnosis financially stressed. The third paper presented explores financial toxicity of cancer among a population of young active-duty military cancer survivors. Finally, the fourth paper included in this symposium presents results from a study which investigated sociodemographic and clinical factors linked to levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms among a population of Chinese Americans. Our discussant is a leader in the field of oncology social work. She is an associate dean for health affairs at a highly ranked school of social work and co-director of an institute for collaborative health research and practice at a medical school. She has recently been named the chair of the first department of health social work housed within a medical school. She is also associate director of social sciences and community-based research at a cancer institute. With all of her experience, she consistently seeks to ensure social work has a role within integrated health teams in oncology providing sensitive empowering care to those experiencing inequities.
* noted as presenting author
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