The Handbook of Oncology Social Work—edited by alumna Lynn Behar (pictured, right) along with Grace Christ and Carolyn Messner—is the first comprehensive book for oncology social workers focusing on patient- and family-centered care and how to integrate psychosocial care with medical treatment—areas long championed by social workers working with people with cancer.
Just published by Oxford University Press, the 872-page book contains psychosocial interventions that can be used with pediatric patients, children and adolescents confronting parental cancer, and adult cancer patients and their families. Additional topics include distress-screening, survivorship, sociocultural and economic diversity, care coordination, legal and ethical issues, professional career development, leadership and innovation.
Says Behar: “It was a thrilling culmination of my life's work to be involved in creating this handbook with 160 authors and two co-editors whom I respect so much. I’m passionate about the field and have wished for just such a comprehensive book.“
The book is a first of its kind because it addresses both the science and art of psychosocial care and identifies the increasing specialization of oncology social work related to its unique knowledge base, skills, role and the progressive complexity of psychosocial challenges for patients with cancer.
Lynn Behar holds an MSW ('86) and a PhD ('99) from the University of Washington School of Social Work. Grace Christ is professor emerita and research scientist with Columbia University School of Social Work. Carolyn Messner is the director of education and training for CancerCare, a national organization headquartered in New York City, which provides free professional support services for those facing cancer.
Lynn and her husband Howard Behar created the Carol LaMare Program for Oncology and Palliative Social Work at the UW School of Social Work in 2005. This innovative program provides financial support and mentorship for social work students specializing in oncology social work as well as an endowed professorship for the program director, Taryn Lindhorst.
In 2015, Associate Professor Lindhorst, who made the Carol LaMare Program a national model for oncology social work education, received the University of Washington Award of Excellence for Distinguished Teaching. She is also a contributor to the Handbook of Oncology Social Work along with UW School of Social Work faculty members Karina Walters, Brian Giddens, Gunnar Almgren, Tessa Evans-Campbell, doctoral student Katie Schultz, and Dean Edwina Uehara who wrote the forward for the book.