APOS Pre-Conference Education Day

APOS is taking education to a whole new level!  Join us from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM for our Pre-Conference Education Day.  Although we encourage everyone to attend the full conference for maximum experience, attendees can add this session to their annual conference purchase or elect to attend this session only.  Below you will find a description of each session, however, please note the sessions run in tandem and attendees must choose between the Psychosocial Institute or a workshop. 

Don’t miss this half day institute taught by leaders in psychosocial oncology. The APOS Psychosocial Oncology Institute is designed as an introduction for students, interns, fellows, early career professionals, (nurses, physicians, social workers, psychologists, chaplains) and other healthcare professionals interested in the field of psychosocial oncology. Earn your CEU’s with group interaction and networking!

Biomedical Aspects of Cancer

Deane Wolcott, M.D., FAPOS

  • Cancer, Types, Epidemiology & Survival
  • Risk Factors/Reduction, Genetic Testing, Screening
  • Diagnosis, Grade/Stage Info, Prognosis , Symptoms
  • Basic Treatments
Psychosocial Oncology

Teresa Deshields, Ph.D., ABPP

  • Multidisciplinary nature of the specialty and range of services
  • Focus of Our Work: Cancer patients, family members, medical team
  • Models for staffing & funding for service
  • Distress screening, assessment and management
  • Common psychosocial issues for cancer patients

End of Life Communication Challenges

Mary Step, PhD
Case Western Reserve University
View Speaker Bio



Shared communication allows us to express our human experiences in wide and varied ways. However, our comfort and ease with this ubiquitous social process wanes when we must discuss issues associated with the end of life with another who is facing that imminent reality. There are few human processes that equalize us and challenge our ability to be both authentic and professional. Not only can EOL discussions be difficult and uncomfortable, but misunderstandings hold the capacity for unnecessary distress or even medical malpractice. There are significant discrepancies between how clinicians and their patients perceive and enter into conversations that pertain to the end of life. Understanding communication process and patient preference points allows clinicians to strategically guide patient and family involvement, while also managing patient flow and competing demands.

This half day (4 hour) short course will provide learners with evidence-based information, skills and strategies regarding end of life communication between clinicians, patients and caregivers. Topics will include an overview of the clinical communication process in oncology, empirical review of end of life decision-making, prognosis discussion, and outcomes associated with effective communication in this domain. The course will also identify general barriers to EOL communication, including examples of age-related perceptual biases and communication differences. Dr. Step will also present evidence of racial and ethnic approaches to EOL discussions from her own research experience.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Gain understanding of the interdependent functions of instrumental and relational communication in clinical settings.
  2. Summary of empirical evidence regarding successful EOLC strategies and outcomes, including review of cultural and developmental communication differences.
  3. Explore learners’ experiences and needs regarding support of EOL decision-making, advanced directives and prognosis discussion.

Novel Behavioral Interventions for Cancer Pain Management Across the Lifespan

Francis Keefe, MD
Duke Medical Center
View Speaker Bio



Perri Tutelman
Senior PhD Student
Dalhousie University
Tutelman bio



This workshop will provide a comprehensive overview of novel behavioral approaches for managing pain in children and adults with cancer. It will be divided into two main sections. The first section will be didactic in nature and provide a conceptual background on pain that highlights the evolution of pain theories from traditional biomedical models to more modern theories (e.g. the neuromatrix theory of pain) that posit that pain is a complex experience that has sensory, cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions. The evidence for behavioral approaches for cancer pain management across the lifespan will be reviewed. Novel interventions and protocols will be presented including: a) partner- and couples-based interventions, b) a meaning-centered intervention for enhancing the sense of meaning when faced with persistent pain, c) behavioral interventions for managing procedure-related pain in children with cancer, and d) parent-based interventions. The second section will involve hands-on activities designed to illustrate the practical application of behavioral pain management approaches in the context of cancer. Two experiential sessions will run concurrently; one will be focused on skills specific to children and parents and the other on adults and partners. Both sessions will involve experiential activities to demonstrate skill use and troubleshoot common challenges. Videos and case examples will be used to further demonstrate the skills presented. Resources will be provided to attendees that can be customised for various types of patients and settings. Clinical, research, and public health policy issues and future directions will also be addressed.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. To understand modern pain theories and their implications for clinical practice in psychosocial oncology.
  2. To apply key components of behavioral pain management interventions for children or adults with cancer.
  3. To identify important clinical considerations related to incorporating behavioral pain management into the care of children and adults with cancer.  
  4. To describe research and policy issues related to advancing the field of psychosocial pain management in cancer care.