The social work internship program at CancerCare serves as a second-year field placement for advanced clinical students who have an interest in the field of oncology social work. It offers students an opportunity to expand their knowledge of the physical, emotional and spiritual impact of cancer on a person’s life. Interns can refine clinical skills pertinent to working with people who are living with cancer through individual counseling, education and support groups. Supervision and mentorship is provided by oncology social workers specializing in psychosocial oncology.

Educational Objectives

  • Becomes a place where social work literature and classroom instruction comes to life
  • Expands on fundamental clinical skills of active listening, engagement, assessment, relationship building and termination
  • Prepares student interns to address the psychosocial needs of individuals living with cancer
  • Broadens students’ knowledge and understanding of oncology social work
  • Introduces student interns to an array of clinical modalities and techniques
  • Complements the interns’ overall MSW program and clinical training
  • Develops cultural competency
  • Underscores the chronic and acute dimensions of a cancer diagnosis and its influence upon individuals, couples and families

Structure

The social work internship program is comprised of both experiential and didactic components. CancerCare student interns gain experience by staffing the national Hopeline and providing information, financial assistance, support and referrals to anyone affected by cancer—the person with cancer, the caregiver and the bereaved. Students offer counseling services to patients, caregivers and the bereaved to both local clients in the New York tri-state area or national clients, through phone or online modalities.

Counseling adheres to a short-term, strengths-based model that is supportive as well as goal-oriented. Interns are introduced to counseling techniques that embrace various models such as cognitive behavioral therapy related to the cancer experience, problem-solving, humanistic and existential psychotherapy. In addition to individual counseling, interns are afforded an opportunity to facilitate or co-facilitate one of several face to-face, telephone and online support groups.

Daily interactions with MSW staff, concurrent with individual supervision, enable students to sharpen their clinical skills and foster a deeper appreciation of the challenges inherent in living with a cancer diagnosis. Participation in monthly in-service seminars and case presentations in bi-weekly student group supervision provides a venue whereby interns can further develop clinical acuity and expertise in psychosocial oncology.

Topics scheduled for monthly in-service trainings range from CBT for Cancer Clinicians, Psychosocial Oncology, Mind-Body-Spirit to End of Life and Bereavement. Students also engage in monthly MSW staff meetings featuring guest speakers who present on an array of topics surrounding a cancer diagnosis, treatment and psychological/emotional impact. Additional workshops on meditation, nutrition and stress reduction demonstrate the significance of self-care and are available to student interns.

Outcomes

  • Heighten awareness of different types of cancer and treatments
  • Understand the multifaceted dimensions of cancer and develop skills in addressing the complexities inherent in a person’s diagnosis
  • Acquire specialized knowledge within the field of psychosocial oncology
  • Refine and enhance clinical practice skills
  • Gain cultural competency and sensitivity to diverse populations

Meet Our Current Students

Mary hanley thumbMary HanleySocial Work Intern

“I completed my B.A. in Psychology and Sociology at Stony Brook University, and am currently studying for my MSW at Adelphi University. I have previously worked with formerly homeless families and chronically ill Medicare patients. While working with these Medicare patients at a clinical pharmacy during college, I became interested in working within the medical system and thought my clinical skill set could be helpful to those with a serious illness. At CancerCare, I am realizing that goal.”

Samara gadsden thumbSamara GadsdenSocial Work Intern

“I received my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology from The University of Albany. Presently, I attend the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University. I am also a palliative care fellow at Fordham GSS. Cancer has profound effects on the lives of people. From personal life experience, I can empathize with people going through the turmoil of cancer. I would like to help ease some of the burdens that come with a cancer diagnosis. There is no better feeling in the world than knowing that you are helping someone through their darkest times. Oncology social work is a field that I wholeheartedly will continue to pursue. I will be forever humbled by being an oncology social worker."

Chaya bronstein thumbChaya BronsteinSocial Work Intern

“I am currently enrolled in Touro Graduate School of Social Work. I received my B.A. in Liberal Arts at Excelsior College. As a volunteer for Chai Lifeline, an organization that provides relief for children battling cancer and chronic illness, I look forward to interning at CancerCare where I hope to combine my passion for the volunteer work I do with my future career of social work. I feel honored to be intern at such a wonderful agency and look forward to a year of learning, experience and growth.”

Aj cincotta eichenfield thumbA.J. Cincotta-EichenfieldSocial Work Intern

“I received my B.A. in sociology from Vassar College and am currently in my second year of the MSW program at the Columbia University School of Social Work in the health, mental health, and disabilities clinical track with a particular interest in oncology social work. I chose to go into social work after being exposed to illness and loss through my mother’s longtime work as a pediatric oncology social worker, and am honored to have the opportunity to learn, grow, and affirm a commitment to those affected by illness at CancerCare. Outside of CancerCare, I am also interested in applying digital media and visual art to oncology social work practice to create avenues for expression for those facing illness and loss, and have done so through art and design projects with various illness organizations.”

Katheryn manglos thumbKatheryn ManglosSocial Work Intern

“I received my B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from the College of Staten Island. I’m currently a second year student at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College on the clinical track with a field of practice specialization of Health and Mental Health. In my previous internship, I worked with LGBT+ people with mental illness individually and in groups. I chose CancerCare because I am personally affected by chronic illness and want to provide support to those experiencing physical and emotional stress I look forward to further developing my clinical skills here at CancerCare and evolving as an oncology social worker.”

Alyson erardy thumbAlyson ErardySocial Work Intern

“I received B.A.s in Criminal Justice and Psychology from SUNY Albany. I am currently a student at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. I chose CancerCare because I wanted to help make a difference in the lives of those living with cancer but also those who are caregivers and have lost loved ones to cancer. I hope to work in the field of pediatric oncology after I receive my MSW.”

Lucia fanjul thumbLucia FanjulSocial Work Intern

“I was born in Argentina but made New York my home over twenty years ago. I graduated from NYU with a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science, have worked in non-profits for most of my professional life, and are now finishing my MSW at Fordham University. I am interested in oncology social work and end of life care. I believe CancerCare will teach me the skills I need to be successful in this new clinical career and I am looking forward to contributing to this organization as much as I can. I am a mother of two kids, a wife to one husband, and I am fluent in Spanish.”

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