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March is Social Work Appreciation Month!

By Wade Iwata
Friday, March 2, 2012

The month of March is designated as social work appreciation month.  For many families who are facing or have faced a pediatric brain tumor, social workers play an important role in their journey.  I have heard from families countless times, how much their social workers have done for them and their families.  It is a role that historically is overlooked and underappreciated, however, it is a role that is essential in helping people navigate and understand the complex journey they are facing. 

Last week I had the privilege of attending the 9thAnnual American Psychosocial Oncology Society’s (APOS) meeting in Miami, Florida.  The meeting is a multi-disciplinary meeting focused on addressing and improving the psychosocial services for families and patients.  The meeting, which is mainly attended by psychiatrists and psychologists, is actively seeking additional support, participation, and information from social workers.  This is a significant boost to the oncology social workers role and profession. 

Despite the profession growing, it is still common for people to have a misunderstanding of social work as a profession; a role that is often associated with child abuse and the removal of children from homes.  While that is one role of social workers, the profession as a whole is extremely diverse.  In medical social work, social workers are often there to help guide families through their journey.  They offer practical support and information, all the while addressing the emotional impact of the illness.  Social workers create bonds with families that are often lasting and personal.

Therefore, as March begins I wanted to thank many of my social work colleagues out there in the world who are making a difference each and every day….especially you Stacia, who spends countless hours advocating and supporting survivors of pediatric brain tumors!  

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