Social Work in Action (March 2012)

New cancer modules

NASW collaborated with the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship to produce the latest Cancer Survivor Toolbox modules, “Living With Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia” and “Living With Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia.”

The Cancer Survival Toolbox is a free, self-learning audio program designed to offer cancer survivors vital information to help them better understand and address the challenges of their illness.

Listeners can gain an understanding of their cancer diagnosis, basic treatment options, side effects and symptom management as well as tips for coping with change. There also is information for caregivers.

“The number of people living with CML and CLL is steadily increasing, and these new modules are excellent tools for social workers as they encourage survivors and caregivers to become more actively engaged in their treatment,” said Elizabeth J. Clark, executive director of NASW.

The latest modules explain that there are four major forms of leukemia. Two are acute: acute lymphocytic leukemia and acute myelogenous leukemia. The other two forms of leukemia are chronic: chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Each year, about 5,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with CML and about 15,000 people are diagnosed with CLL.

In the past decade, clinical trials and other research findings have added to what is known about CLL and CML, and the number of effective treatment options has increased, according to the modules.

The two chronic forms of leukemia can vary in symptoms and it can take several tests for doctors to reach a diagnosis.

“Most people with this illness need some form of treatment throughout their lives, so it’s important for you to know about common symptoms and side effects of the disease, and treatment and how to control and manage them,” according to the narrator for the CLL module.

For more information, visit Cancer Survival Toolbox® or call NCCS at 877-622-7937.

Evidence Summit

NASW’s Human Rights & International Affairs Senior Practice Associate Amy Bess participated in the U.S. Government Evidence Summit on Protecting Children Outside of Family Care in December.

The summit offered the opportunity to exchange feedback and consultation among academics, technical experts and U.S. government program managers as it relates to systems and strategies that are most effective in identifying and addressing the needs and long-term care and protection of children outside of family care in lower- and middle-income countries.

According to the summit organizers from the United States Agency for International Development, children outside of family care are thought to be among the most vulnerable of all children. They include children who are trafficked, living on the streets and heading households, as well as those who are unaccompanied after a disaster or conflict.

Based on the expert feedback and consultation at the summit, a final strategy document will be prepared, including evidence-based guiding principles for U.S. government foreign assistance to vulnerable children.

Dr. Rajiv Shah, administrator of USAID, thanked participants for attending the gathering.

“USAID is committed to the long-term development of effective and comprehensive child protection responses and systems and we look forward to continuing to work with you as we develop the guidelines and strategy with our interagency partners in the new year,” Shah said.

Lunchtime webinar

“The Cultural Context of Domestic Violence with African-American Women” is the title of the NASW Lunchtime webinar hosted by Tricia Bent-Goodley, professor at the School of Social Work at Howard University.

The recorded webinar is available for one continuing education credit after successful completion of an online test.

In the segment, Bent-Goodley says it is important that social workers gain cultural competency, especially as it relates to domestic violence treatment.

“Services that are not culturally competent can foster feelings of mistrust (by the victim), a belief that the provider is not genuinely interested, a feeling of disconnect and a sense that the person is not understood,” she says in the presentation.

Many African-American women do not trust formal systems and their agents, she says, such as law enforcement officers and the court system. Therefore, it is important for social workers to gain insight into a person’s cultural symbols, traditions and rituals.

For example, the use of storytelling is an important tradition in the African-American community that can be better used when developing assessment tools and models for intervention, Bent-Goodley says.

“Understanding the cultural context to providing effective and quality services to our clients is not and should not be an ‘add-on’ but viewed as a means of enhancing effectiveness,” she says.

Cultural competence must be demonstrated on multiple levels, she says. A program is not culturally competent simply because the hired staff is indigenous to the community. Ensuring that agency policies, rules and procedures are culturally competent is necessary.