From the Science Directorate
by Pat Kobor
Congressional staff and members of the health advocacy community gathered on March 31, 2008, for a briefing on “Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs.” APA and thirteen other behavioral science or health organizations cosponsored the Capitol Hill briefing on the recent Institute of Medicine (IoM) report.
Ten and a half million people in the USA are living with a current or past diagnosis of cancer, and 41% of all Americans can expect to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, according to the IoM report.
The report makes the case that it is not possible to deliver good-quality cancer care without addressing patients’ psychosocial health needs. All patients with cancer and their families should expect and receive cancer care that ensures the provision of appropriate psychosocial health services. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) asked the IoM to study the delivery of psychosocial services to cancer patients and their families and identify ways to improve it. This report recommends ten actions that oncology providers, health policy makers, educators, health insurers, health plans, quality oversight organizations, researchers and research sponsors, and consumer advocates should undertake to ensure that this standard is met.
Betsy Clark, Robert Croyle, and Jessie Gruman, were featured speakers at a Capitol Hill briefing, cosponsored by APA, about a recent Institute of Medicine report: “Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs.”
Briefing speakers included psychologists Robert Croyle, Director of the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, and Jessie Gruman, President of the Center for the Advancement of Health and author of “AfterShock: What to Do When the Doctor Gives You -- or Someone You Love -- a Devastating Diagnosis;” Elizabeth Clark, Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers, completed the panel.
Croyle explained why the National Cancer Institute and NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research had commissioned the report from the Institute of Medicine. NCI supports research on health communication, and hopes to use the report to guide additional research, especially on ways to improve communication between patients and providers.
Gruman, a member of the IoM panel that produced the report, said that doctors are so focused on eradicating cancer that they sometimes ignore the shock and other emotions that can hinder treatment. Even the best cancer treatment can fail if doctors don’t pay attention to the psychological and social needs of patients. Gruman, a three-time cancer survivor, spoke from data as well as personal experience.
Clark discussed the need to build capacity, both in the private sector and among health professionals, to make more comprehensive cancer care available in areas of the country outside of major university cancer centers. She also discussed the need for people with cancer to get help advocating for better treatment. Clark developed The Cancer Survival Toolbox, a self-advocacy training program for persons with cancer.
The Science Directorate is currently seeking proposals for research conferences in psychology. The purpose of this program is to promote the exchange of important new contributions and approaches in scientific psychology. Over 100 conference grants have been awarded to date. The next deadline for applications is June 1, 2008.
Grant money ranging from $500 to $20,000 is available for the scientific conference.
Proposals will be considered using such formats as “add-a-day” conferences ($500-$3,000 available), “stand alone” conferences ($5,000-$20,000 available), and festschrifts ($5,000-$20,000 available). APA is also open to innovative ways of holding conferences. The conference must be additionally supported by the host institution with direct funds, in-kind support, or a combination of the two. Please note that a detailed budget including institutional support is required for application.
Conference proposals must meet the following eligibility requirements:
One of the primary organizers must be a member of APA.
Only academic institutions accredited by a regional body may apply. Independent research institutions must provide evidence of affiliation with an accredited institution. Joint proposals from cooperating institutions are encouraged.
Conferences may be held only in the United States, its possessions, or Canada.
APA governance groups, APA Divisions and other related entities are not eligible for funding under this program.
Conference proceedings and presentation materials (including electronic presentations) must be submitted to APA three months after the date the conference is held. APA will hold the conference proceedings for three years. If a book has not been published by APA or another publisher within the three-year holding period, APA will place the conference proceedings in PsycEXTRA.
Seventy-five percent of funds will be distributed to grantees prior to the conferences, and the remaining twenty-five percent will be released following the conference and after the submission of a final financial report detailing conference expenditures equal to or exceeding Grantee’s proposed total budget.
Conference review committee members are: Oscar Barbarin, Anita Davis, Michael Domjan, Kathleen McDermott, Kevin Murphy, and James W. Pennebaker.
For more information on review criteria, proposal contents, and budget guidelines, please refer to the APA website at or contact Stephanie Cox at (+1/202) 336-5918.
PROPOSAL DEADLINE: June 1, 2008
Please mail proposals to the APA Science Directorate, Attn: Scientific Conferences Proposals, at the APA Address.