Observations from the NCI Subject Matter Expert Roundtable “Evidence-Based Approaches for Optimizing Employment Outcomes among Cancer Survivors.”
I was honored to be an invited participant at a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Roundtable on August 11th and 12th titled, “Evidence-Based Approaches for Optimizing Employment Outcomes among Cancer Survivors.”
The NCI invited 25 oncologists, scholars from various disciplines (rehabilitation, epidemiology, economics etc.) from Harvard, Boston University and Case Western Reserve University and representatives from organizations such as the American Cancer Society, the National Business Group on Health, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research. There were two occupational therapists invited to attend, myself and Robin Newman, Clinical Assistant Professor of OT at Boston University: Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
This transdisciplinary group was convened to assist the NCI staff to outline a research agenda for improving work outcomes among cancer patients and survivors. We were provided a few meta-analyses on cancer and work prior to attending as well as key statistics and figures on employment in persons with cancer. Over the two days we spent time in small and large group discussion focused on the following questions:
The discussions were spirited, productive, honest and incredibly respectful and collegial even when we disagreed. I could not have been more pleased with the progress made and how committed every participant was to hearing from others, learning and bringing our disparate knowledge together.
The NCI will produce a formal summary and when it is available I will post a link or information about accessing the report. In the meantime here are some key facts and my key takeaways from the meeting (I sought permission to share my observations before posting):
There is just SO much opportunity for occupational therapy scientists to answer critical questions to decrease health disparities and improve the lives of cancer survivors it makes my head spin!
Watch for more updates on the NCI initiative!
The opinions expressed in my blog are personal and neither represent the views of my employer nor any organization.