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  • Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology Program

    Dana-Farber / Children's Hospital Cancer Center logo

    With the diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer come many emotional and practical challenges. You don't have to face them alone.

    Our Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology team, part of the Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, includes social workers, psychologists, resource specialists, and a special educator, all of whom have special expertise in the social, emotional, and psychological aspects of caring for children with cancer.

    Support for the Whole Family

    Cori Liptak with a patient

     

    The experience of a serious illness can be challenging for the whole family, and it’s normal for children, parents, siblings, and other caregivers to feel a range of emotions and need support. Our experts in Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology are here to support you and your family’s emotional health as you manage cancer or another serious illness.

    As a part of a child’s ongoing care, a clinical social worker or psychologist will meet with your family to get to know you and discuss what psychosocial services may be useful. You may also meet with a resource specialist regarding eligibility for resource assistance programs. Psychiatrists are available for consultation if needed.

    Your family’s needs may change over time, and our team will work with you to make sure that you get the individual support you need throughout treatment.

    We can help your family:

     

    • Adjust to the illness

    • Talk about the diagnosis

    • Cope with treatment and its side effects

    • Manage mood changes and behavioral challenges

    • Learn to ease stress and anxiety

    • Address school concerns

    • Support siblings

    • Make the transition off of active treatment

    Our social workers and psychologists are on the staff of Dana-Farber's Jimmy Fund Clinic, where your child will receive outpatient care, and Boston Children's Hospital, where our pediatric cancer patients are hospitalized. These professionals work closely with your child's medical teams at both institutions, as well as with other staff members involved in caring for your child and family. They also lead regular telephone support groups for parents whose children are being treated for cancer, so they can get support from other parents facing similar challenges and learn strategies for coping from Dana-Farber social workers.

    Confidentiality

    Our staff respects the privacy of your family and treats all communication with you as confidential.

    In general, your written consent is required before information can be shared with anyone who is not part of your health care team. Only under certain very limited circumstances does the law require that confidential information be disclosed, including when someone is believed to be at serious risk of hurting himself/herself or another person, or when required during certain legal proceedings.

    The Care Team

    Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology team

    Our care team includes physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers who specialize in working with children with cancer. Our philosophy of care acknowledges that the whole family is affected by a cancer diagnosis, and for that reason, we provide care and support for each family member throughout the various stages of the family’s cancer journey.

    Division of Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology

    James Tulsky, MD, Chair, Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care
    Anna Muriel, MD, MPH, Chief, Division of Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology
    Judith August, MSW, LICSW
    Deborah Berk, MSW, LICSW
    Sarah Brand, PhD
    Candice Chow, PhD
    Brian Delaney, PsyD
    Jorge Fernandez, MSW, LICSW
    Amy Grose, MSW, LICSW
    Cori Liptak, PhD
    Chase Samsel, MD, FAAP
    Sarah Tarquini, PhD

    School Liaison Program

    Marybeth Morris, EdM
    Lisa Northman, PhD

    Resource Specialists

    Ida Alicea

    Joseph Chabot, MS
    Lilliana Lopera-Jimenez, BS
    Patricia White, BS

    Fellows
    Colleen Jones, PsyD
    Dana Footer, PsyD

    Research Assistant

    Danielle Renzi

    Administrative Support Specialist

    Kathleen Ryan

    Contact Us

    To arrange to meet with a member of our Pediatric Psychosocial team, please call 617-632-6080 Monday through Friday. If you are a parent interested in joining the telephone support group, please call 617-632-5359 to be pre-screened. Meetings take place via phone Tuesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.

    Patients and families with urgent needs before or after clinic hours, on weekends or holidays should call Dana-Farber's page operator at 617-632-3352. Ask to speak with the Pediatric Psychosocial staff member on call.

    We look forward to helping you and your family.

    Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology Fellowships

    Learn about our Post-Doctoral Psychology Fellowships in Pediatric Oncology, which train candidates who are interested in pursuing a career in pediatric psychosocial oncology.

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  • Top Ranked for Children

    • U.S. News and World Report Best Children's Hospital Cancer logo Dana-Farber/
      Boston Children's has been ranked #1 or #2 for pediatric cancer care nine times since 2008 by U.S. News & World Report.
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