NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark has been elected to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Board of Directors.
The LLS is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. Its mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
Clark was elected after a rigorous review process, noted current LLS board member Marie M. Lauria, an oncology social work consultant who is past president of the Association of Oncology Social Work and former president of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Social Workers.
"I think Elizabeth Clark will be a tremendous asset to the board," Lauria said. "She brings a breadth of knowledge and experience that will be invaluable. She knows how to advocate for the needs of people and that will be extremely important. I'm looking forward to working with her. She will bring a different perspective to the board."
Lauria said the board includes a diverse background of health care and business professionals, but a common trait among members is that most have had a personal history with cancer - either personally or through a loved one. "Board members are very passionate about the cause because of this," she said.
Clark said her personal reason for being involved with cancer research, oncology social work and cancer prevention is that a sister and a first cousin both died after battling myeloma.
"So much more has to be done with cancer research," Clark said. "The LLS is primarily research based. They have made tremendous gains in recent years."
Clark's career in health care includes specializing in oncology social work. Among the academic positions she has held is an associate professorship in medical oncology. She has researched and published articles involving cancer survivorship and bereavement. She is past president of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship as well as an advisory board member of the Intercultural Cancer Council.
NASW is a member organization of C-Change, a coalition of the nation's key cancer leaders. Clark is vice chair of the C-Change Nominating Committee.
"The people on the LLS Board of Directors have similar directions in cancer research and prevention efforts," Clark said. "It's a good place to be and I'm ready to use my energies and experience. I think cancer research is essential. It will become even more vital as the baby boom population ages. We will likely see a great need to double our efforts in cancer research."
Clark said she is expressing interest in serving on the two committees of the LLS board: Patient Services and Public Policy.
Clark and Lauria have collaborated on cancer efforts in the past. They were project directors for the popular C-Change Cancer Patient Navigation toolkit.
Lauria said social workers will continue to be an asset to cancer research, patient navigation and cancer prevention efforts.
"As more professionals embrace the concept of treating clients in the person-in-environment role, there will be more need for oncology social work," she said.
Lauria noted the LLS is the second-largest cancer group after the American Cancer Society.
She said she enjoys working with the LLS because it balances its focus on research, advocacy and patient services. LLS has awarded more than $600 million in research funding since the first funding in 1954. The organization hosts major fundraising campaigns, including Team in Training, the world's largest endurance sports training program, and Light the Night Walk. Through its 64 chapters, LLS offers a variety of educational and patient services.
For more information, visit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society