“It is a beautiful thing when a passion and a career come together.”

“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” –Jane Addams

Photo Credit: Library of Congress, LC-DIG-nclc-04836

           The definition of Social Work is organized work directed toward the betterment of social condition of the community, as by seeking to improve the condition of the poor, to promote the welfare of children.  Essentially, through training , social workers utilize their education and caring ways to help one person improve the life of another. I chose this discipline because this is the personal part of my Patient Advocacy program. What I mean by the personal part, is that when patients are going through cancer treatment the patient advocate is there always on your side. They will fight for you and be there no matter. They know your story, your strengths, your weaknesses, your wants and your needs and they will accept nothing less than what you deserve.

            This week we were responsible to read “The History of the Academy and the Disciplines”, “Disciplines as Social Communities” and “Where We Begin”. These readings reassured me that interdisciplinary work is needed. Having different disciplines work with each other is so beneficial in so many ways. For example, in my Patient Advocacy program, you need to be knowledgeable about the human body and brain as well as the legal part of the program and having that compassionate, empathetic personality, that being social work. All the components of my program are so important and feed off of one another. There are quite a few social work organizations that are good resources for information: The National Association of Social Workers, Clinical Social Work Association, and the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care. Along with key organizations there are also influential leaders in the discipline of social work. Darrell Wheeler is the president and Kathryn Conley Wehrmann is the vice president of National Association of Social Workers. 

           Historically, social work came about in the 1900’s. Jane Addams was the founder of social work through the creation of the Hull House and is considered the “mother” of social work. The Hull House was a settlement house located in Chicago. Hull House provided so many service including a library and classes. Hull House was employed by some of the most influential women in the social work world. These women fought for changes to working conditions, malnutrition, poor sanitation and much more. Chicago passed child labor laws, laws protecting women and children, and education laws because of these women.

The social works courses that I included in my program primarily surround not only the function and structure of social work, but the health and aging aspects as well. The first social work class I took was Introduction to Social Work. This is the class where I actually learned what social work is and how it operates. Last semester I took Child Welfare and Family Services and this class was so interesting, specifically because we heard from a panel of teenagers who are involved in the system. Hearing their stories was so eye opening. The social work classes Perspectives on Aging and Health and Society have really opened my eyes to how important and needed social workers are. Cancer patients are primarily older in age and it will be really beneficial to be knowledgeable about aging and how it effects both the human body and brain. Health and Society touched upon how environmental factors and surrounding influence one’s overall health.

        On Twitter, I follow Tricia Mullins and Deborah Collyar who are patient advocates. Tricia Mullins is a patient advocate in rare disease and chronic conditions. She published The Evolution of Patient Communities. She is a firm believer in practicing a healthy diet. Deborah Collyar is also a patient advocate, as well as a cancer survivor. She focuses a lot on the research aspect of cancer and shares her findings. Also, on Twitter I follow Patients Rising (@patientsrising). Patients Rising is a group that advocates the importance of vital therapies and services for patients with life altering diseases. This particular group is who I connect with the most on social media. They talk about all different kinds of situations, they pose questions for possible patients and they share personal stories from patients as well.


Photo Credit: Gabriela L. LMSW (NYC)