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Breaking Barriers for National Social Work Month

March 29, 2023

A cancer diagnosis often causes a wide range of unexpected emotions for patients and their loved ones. Texas Oncology’s dedicated social work team focuses on the whole person, as well as the needs of those that care for them.

“It is meaningful for patients to have their feelings normalized by a social worker and to realize they are not alone,” says Emily Pearcy, MSSW, LCSW-S, OSW-C, manager of social work at Texas Oncology. “Our team of 25 social workers have specialized expertise in oncology to provide patients with critical emotional and practical assistance as part of their care.”

The team partners with patients and family members to provide mental health counseling, support groups, coping strategies, communication assistance, caregiver support, and resource referrals for practical needs.

March is National Social Work Month, and this year’s theme, “Social Work Breaks Barriers” recognizes social workers who are on the front lines helping patients navigate the mental, emotional, and relational challenges of fighting cancer.

“At Texas Oncology, we are committed to helping patients navigate all of the challenges that cancer presents. Our social workers are gifted and passionate about serving patients and their families,” says Stephanie Broussard, LCSW-S, APHSW-C, director of palliative care and social work at Texas Oncology.

We asked social workers from across the state to share what inspired them to choose this profession.

Throughout my life I experienced how instrumental even one person can be in impacting the life of others. When I am in a room full of people, I know each person has a story that has changed who they are. A social worker recognizes that story and makes every effort to be the person that makes an impact when a person needs it the most.” Ashley Griffin, MSW, LMSW, Texas Oncology–Deke Slayton Cancer Center, Houston Medical Center, Houston Memorial City, Houston Willowbrook, Pearland, Sugar Land
Cancer is a traumatic, life-changing experience. It is an honor to serve our patients when they are scared and most vulnerable in every aspect of their lives. Every time I am able to make a patient's life just a little better in some way, I am motivated to be the best social worker I can." Debbi Newton, LCSW-S, OSW-C, CGP, CCTP, Texas Oncology—Denton, Flower Mound, Carrollton, Lewisville
What inspired me to become a social worker is my own journey and interactions with social workers. Having faced many of my own challenges, I wanted to use those experiences to help make a difference in the lives of others, just as social workers did for me." Rachel Mahabir, LCSW, ACHP-SW, Texas Oncology–Houston Willowbrook
I was drawn to this profession because social workers strive to help and encourage people facing challenges which can affect every area of their life. As an oncology social worker, I help patients throughout their cancer journey with the many challenges they face which in turn provides deep meaning for my profession." Vicki Wright, LMSW, OSW-C, Texas Oncology–Tyler
What inspired me to become an oncology social worker is having the privilege to be a source of support for those impacted by cancer. Helping my clients navigate the many challenges that exist in their cancer journey while seeing their resilience, strength, and compassion is an honor." Brandi Jurecek, LCSW, Texas Oncology–Plano East, Plano West, Plano Prestonwood, Plano Presbyterian Hospital
What inspired me to become a social worker is my belief that I am meant to live my life in service to others. It is foundational to who I am and in line with my core values." Crystal Johnson-Bryant, LCSW, Texas Oncology–San Antonio Medical Center, San Antonio Westover Hills, San Antonio Downtown
Life experiences inspired me to become a social worker, and for that I am grateful." Alicia Poole, LMSW, Texas Oncology–Medical City Dallas

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.