Cancer Supportive Care Committee

Would you like to assist the Cancer Center in providing the best possible supportive care for our cancer patients and families? The Cancer Supportive Care Committee (CSCC) seeks to share knowledge, ideas, and projects relevant to cancer support services to amplify them to patients, staff, and faculty.  

Read more about the UCSF Cancer Supportive Care Committee.

How to Join
All are welcome! The committee meets the second Monday of each month from spaces at Mount Zion, Mission Bay, and Parnassus, from 12-1pm. Human-to-human presence is always preferred but Zoom link is provided!

Email [email protected] to be added to mailing list.



Sherri Pena, MS, LGC

Cancer Survivorship & Wellness Institute


Dianne Shumay, PhD

Director, Psycho-Oncology





Mike Rabow, MD, FAAHPM

Director, Symptom Management Service







December 9, 2019 - Speaker: Naomi Hoffer, Sheri Sobrato Brisson Brain Cancer Survivorship Program


Paul Asfour reminded everyone to spread the word about our committee and emphasized that our goal is to encourage staff from all levels to participate – from managers to clerks, back office to front office, doctors to nurses, etc.

Infusion at PCMB is seeing significantly less cancer patients and more neuro, OB, and transplant. Infusion at MZ is about 40% cancer. (Lisa Kinsman, infusion nurse)

The Patient and Family Cancer Support Center and the Friend to Friend Specialty Shop opening at Mission Bay has been pushed back to January 6th.  (Paul Asfour, PFCSC)

A reminder that Art for Recovery’s Open Studio is at MZ on Wednesdays and at MB on Tuesdays. MB participants must register due to badge issues. (Jena Leake, new AFR director)

Karen Stronach (Patient and Family Advisory Council) has been meeting with community leaders and social workers who serve the Chinese and Hispanic population and learning many things that need to incorporated into the Cancer Center Guidebook. Examples are patients who hang up the phone because they hear English being spoken, or stop taking meds due to a language misunderstanding or patients who turn down interpreting services because they think using an interpreter will cost money. Their New Patient Experience Survey launches in February.

Psycho-Oncology is increasing their footprint with affiliate centers such as the San Mateo Medical Center and will be onboarding a new psychologist, Jennifer Craig, this Fall.

Also, with the Cancer Support Center, they are co-sponsoring a new program featuring Linda Carlson, PhD called “Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Cancer Patients, Survivors and Family Caregivers”. It will consist of a grand rounds for staff, a lecture and nine-week program for patients and a workshop to train a mindfulness based recovery teacher. (Diane Shumay, Psych-Onc)

Content Expert Presentation: Naomi Hoffer, MA, MCHES, Program Manager for the Sheri Sobrato Brisson Brain Cancer Survivorship Program

  • Brain tumor survivors have unique needs. 
  • Most common symptoms are cognitive vulnerabilities (i.e. memory, attention, planning, etc.) and fatigue (the brain needs sleep in order to heal)
  • Brain tumors are very rare, accounting for less than 2% of all adult cancers.
  • Brain tumors are not considered curable.  But survivors can live decades with slow-growing (low grade) gliomas. 
  • Chris Weyer Jamora is a neuropsychologist that specializes in cognitive testing and rehabilitation.  Her Cognitive Consultation clinic is the cornerstone of the Brain Tumor Survivorship Clinic
  • The Brain Tumor Survivorship Program is also developing monthly webinars on survivorship topics as well as Integrative Oncology Group Classes with Donald Abrams, MD, specifically tailored to this population.
  • In addition, the program has a speaker series for healthcare professionals to learn more about how to best serve the complex needs of brain tumor survivors.
  • Many services are on the horizon.   Program is still building infrastructure and identifying the best way to reach patients and allow them to build community. 

October 14, 2019 - Speaker: Tia Weinberg, Patient Support Corps

Announcements & Discussions

  • The Patient and Family Cancer Support Center (aka Cancer Support Center) and the Friend to Friend Specialty Shop (wigs, mastectomy bras, etc.) will be opening their second locations at PCMB in mid December. Please stop by to see their beautiful new digs! (Paul Asfour and Margo Wilhite, CSC)
  • The Milton Marks Neuro-Oncology Family Camp is an annual weekend retreat in Petaluma created for families with children living at home, where one parent has a malignant brain tumor and is being treated at UCSF. The retreat offers various activities ranging from art, sports, yoga, massage, drama, swimming, and support groups and is free of charge. (Naomi Hoffer, Neuro-Onc says it was a heartbreakingly beautiful experience to be a part of)
  • Neuro-Oncology received a generous gift to extend their Survivorship Caregiving program and expand it to Marin Health and Napa. (Naomi Hoffer)
  • Psych-Onc reported they have oncology psychologists at MZ and MB five days a week and one at Heme/BMT 4 days/week. Last month they started their six week Compass for Caregivers: Acting Mindfully for a Valued Life series where caregivers learn strategies based on acceptance & commitment therapy. (Dianne Shumay, Psycho-Oncology)
  • Art for Recovery hired Jena Leake as their new director, who will eventually take over Cindy Perlis’ role. (Dianne Shumay)
  • The Survivorship & Wellness Institute is seeing GI patients now and will soon expand to Breast and Prostate Cancer (Sherry Pena, Administrative Director of the Survivorship & Wellness Institute)
  • Heme/BMT is making efforts to standardize their chemo-teaching. (Nicole, Heme/BMT)

Content Expert Presentation: Tia Weinberg, Program Coordinator for the Patient Support Corps

  • Many patients are overwhelmed prior, during and after their doctor appointments. There is evidence that, at time of diagnosis patients may get too much, too little or conflicting information. During their visit, they often forget to some ask questions that can then keep them up at night. And after the visit, they often forgot what was said.
  • The Patient Support Corps utilizes interns to address these concerns by providing patients with decision aids, a question listing, and summaries/recordings.
  • In 2004, the Breast Care Center implemented this program with their paid interns who were doing a gap year before applying to medical school. Before the visit, the intern sends the patient decision aids and then calls the patient to help them develop a list of questions. During the visit, the intern takes notes and makes an audio-recording. After the visit, the intern organizes and summarizes all of the recommendations which the doctor edits before it’s sent to the patient. The audio recording is also shared with the patient.
  • What if your practice doesn’t have paid interns who can perform these services? The Patient Support Corps utilizes UC Berkeley pre-med students as interns in order to gain academic credit.
  • The Corps is constantly expanding and their interns are now also helping with research. Currently, there are 38 UC Berkeley interns plus the Breast Care Center interns.
  • Patient Support Corp Q & A For this service in your clinic, generally speaking, you need a physician to act as a champion of the project who can then assign a scheduler.
  • The Corp’s services are listed in the Cancer Center’s Guidebook and they reach out through APEX which means patients can self-refer themselves to the program.
  • Other General Discussion Would you like your services to be communicated more broadly? (Karen Gehrman, Communications) · Yes, we would love to spread the word but we are limited by our number of interns. So we also teach the patients to do some of the program on their own as well as expose them to the Cancer Support Community’s “Open to Options” program. The Cancer Support Community is located in Walnut Creek
  • What if the patient doesn’t think a decision needs to be made or they feel their doctor is miscommunicating? Yes, the Corps can help with this and patients can request them for any kind of consult. (Naomi Hoffer)
  • For non-English speaking patients, the interns works with telephone interpreters.
  • Psych-Onc suggested the Patient Support Corps works more closely with the Corps to identify the really anxious patients, for example, and then helping direct them to all the deep supportive care resources UCSF has to offer, which Tia welcomed. (Dianne Shumay)
  • Lastly, it was suggested that perhaps our monthly meetings be archived on the web or on Chatter. (Dianne Shumay)


September 9, 2019 - Speaker: n/a

Announcements & Discussion
  • Survivorship Wellness Psych-Onc’s 8-week interdisciplinary program for those who’ve finished active treatment is recruiting patients. It’s designed for patients who finished with active treatment.
  • A question was raised, can a similar program be developed for metastatic patients? Answer: Yes. (Jamie Cohen, Psych Onc and Naomi Hoffer, Neuro Onc).
  • Support Groups: Sometimes it can be good to mix patients who are metastatic with those in active treatment. (Keren Stronach, Patient & Family Advisory Council)
  • The Patient and Family Cancer Support Center (previously known as the Cancer Resource Center) will be increasing the use of volunteers to go up to the clinic’s waiting rooms to check in with patients and offer information about the wide array of patient supportive care services. (Margaret Gray & Paul Asfour, CSC)
  • PCMB Digital Boards. The Communications Department is responsible for slides for PCMB clinics and content for digital boards. If you have any immediate needs, let Karen Gehrman of the Communications Department know.
  • The Cancer Center Guidebook is being translated into Chinese & Spanish.
  • In PFAC’s effort to update the Guidebook, they received feedback that some key essential things should be addressed such as defining what cancer is and providing a checklist for the five things you need before leaving your doctor’s office – including having the physician write down what their diagnosis is. (Keren Stonach, PFAC)
  • It would be good to have clinicians attend our meetings. Social Work has made strides to talk to clinics about this, most recently Thoracic. (Judy Patt & Josh Martin, Social Work)
  • New Staff Orientations to Supportive Care. Paul Asfour (CSC) learned Hem-Onc does not have new staff orientations for supportive care. The CSC is available to provide those at Parnassus. Parnassus HR would need to arrange these with the CSC and the new employee. At Mt. Zion and Mission Bay, they are scheduled once each month.
  • Can we create an online new staff orientation? (Naomi Hoffer, Neuro Onc)
  • Keren Stronach (PFAC) is looking for suggestions for improvement in a wide variety of areas and how to get a better response to patient surveys. Typically, they only get a 15% response level.
  • Next Month Content Expert: Tia Weinberg, Patient Support Corps
  • Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain” Quote from Vivian Green.

August 12, 2019 - Speaker: Isaura Figueroa, Heme/BMT Social Work

Announcements & Discussion
SMS will be adopting the new ASCO initiative to provide palliative care services to all metastatic patients within 8 weeks of diagnosis – Dr. Mike Rabow
  • Sherry Pena introduced herself as the new manager of the Survivorship and Wellness Institute at MZ
  • The Cancer Resource Center (CRC) will change their name to the Patient and Family Cancer Support Center (PFCSC) when they open up their new center at PCMB in November. The center at MZ will also change to this name – Paul Asfour
  • There is a working group to help decide which UCSF documents should be translated into Chinese and Spanish. Marina Ortega, PA joined the group, run by Keren Stronach.
  • The CRC’s website features new patient and caregiver Powerpoint orientations in Tagalog, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Vietnamese – Margaret Gray
  • Nicole (Heme BMT charge nurse) has need for getting teaching sheets and consents translated. Paul Asfour offered to help.
  • Dr. Dianne Shumay is actively recruiting for referrals to Psycho-Oncology’s 8 week Survivorship Wellness program. Patients must be finished with active treatment. Prescription pads advertising the program are available for your clinics.
  • Dianne Shumay addressed when’s the best time to refer a new patient to Psych-Onc services? Dianne suggested one option is to refer all newly diagnosed so patients don’t feel they are singled out to be sent to a psychologist.

Content Expert Presentation: Isaura Figueroa, Social Worker for Heme/BMT

  • The Cancer Center has hired two new social workers, a resource coordinator and a new manager. Josh Martin is taking over Judy Patt’s current role as Operations Manager, starting in early September; Erin Schwartz is the Chief Clinical Social Worker; Judy Patt returns to social worker duties in Heme/BMT in October.
  • Social workers provide an extra layer of support to educate patients and help them navigate the system. They provide a myriad of services but some highlights are:
  • Psycho-Social assessments;
  • Work as part of the provider team; help pts understand their treatment plan
  • Transportation & lodging coordination. Koz Hospitality House – with 30 bedrooms for patients & caregivers – recently opened near the Parnassus campus. Available from 1 -100 days. For all patients, not just cancer patients.
  • Connects pts to grants that can help alleviate cost of lodging, transportation & food
  • Educates on Social Security, disability, FMLA, laws that protect pts
  • Be there in time of crisis, such as suicidal thoughts
  • Run Support Groups

May 13, 2019 - Speaker: Keren Stronach, Cancer Center Patient and Family Experience Specialist

Announcements & Discussion
  • Cancer Resource Center: Mary Destri called our attention upcoming workshops/lectures:
    • Journey to Wellness day-long survivor’s workshop – June 2
    • Advance Care Planning with Rebecca Sudore, MD – June 4
    • Love in the Time of Chronic Illness with Barbara Kivowitz, MSW – July 16
    • Truths & Myths of Nutrition in Cancer with Natalie Ledesma, RD – July 30
    • Sexuality & Cancer with Sueann Mark, PhD, RN
  • Endocrine Surgery/Oncology: Marina Ortega announced a new tele-health initiative in their department whereby faraway patients, especially those with limited resources, could receive information as well as provide a mechanism to schedule all appointments on the same day, if possible. Marina also wants her patients to participate in the CRC’s Peer Support Program
  • Neuro Onc’s Naomi Hoffer announced their Caregiver Retreat on June 18.
  • Informatics: Amy Wynn discussed their notifications to patients regarding appointments, new patient history questionnaires, and distress screening is not available in other languages. Kim Rhoads, MD, who runs the Cancer Center’s Office of Community Engagement, said her department could help with this.
  • Psycho-Oncology: Dianne Shumay announced their current programming:
    • Survivorship Wellness - ongoing
    • Compass: for acting mindfully, five sessions
    • Coping with Blood Cancer – a six week workshop
  • Content Expert Presentation: Keren Stronach, MPH, Cancer Center Patient and Family Experience Specialist

    Keren started the UCSF Cancer Resource Center in 1997, designed to be a one-stop-shop for patient supportive care. Now she is involved with identifying bottlenecks, barriers to care and streamlining the patient and family workflows to improve the patience experience and health care outcomes.

    Her work is informed by her own personal health care journey, her work with support groups for young adults and family illness.

    She’s observed that most of the patient experience is not visible to the health care system because it gets its information from surveys, complaints, errors and law suits.

    Keren is interested in improving the following areas:
    • scheduling visits
    • travel effort & time
    • managing care across clinics & health care systems
    • managing bills & financial stress
    • getting 2nd opinions, managing conflicting treatment recommendations, getting medical records
    • amplifying the patient voice
  • The committee she started, comprised of UCSF patients and caregivers, is called the Patient and Family Advisory Council and it meets monthly. Their purpose is to facilitate ease of navigation, foster healing & wellness and provide input on all kinds of topics.

April 8, 2019  - Speaker: Ari Kleiman, MLIS, Clinical Research Librarian, Fishbon Library

Announcements & Discussion

Psycho-Oncology: Jamie Cohen stated they have capacity to accept more patients for consultations. Patients do not necessarily need to exhibit distress. The psychologists can help your patients cultivate good mental health when facing a cancer diagnosis. Patients can self-refer and most insurance is accepted. Call (415) 353-7019 for appointments. More info

For UCSF patients who have finished their treatment, don’t forget their 8 week interdisciplinary Survivorship Wellness Group Program at MZ. Topics include nutrition, exercise, sleeping well, goal-setting, and emotional, spiritual and sexual wellness. Call (415) 353-3931 to register. Most insurance accepted.

Dianne Shumay (Psych-Onc) and Mary Destri (Cancer Resource Center aka CRC) announced receipt of grant money from the MZ Health Fund to launch a mindfulness-based cancer recovery program. Clinician training will begin in the spring of 2020.
Neuro-Oncology: Naomi Hoffer announced they will be integrating exercise counseling into radiation oncology.
Cancer Resource Center (CRC): Margaret Gray needs Peer Support Volunteers! If you know a patient who has finished treatment and wants to “give back”, have them call Margaret at (415) 885-7210. And feature in CRC’s May eNewsletter.
Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC): Keren Stronach is looking for volunteers for her committee and possibly other panels.

PCMB Move Schedule:
End of June: Rad Onc and GI Onc
8/26: The rest of the clinics will move
9/9: Breast and Thoracic first day at PCMB
September: Cancer Acute Care opens. Similar to urgent care but for cancer patients
November: The CRC will open their new facility. From July – September, they’ll operate a temporary kiosk at MB to accommodate patients whose practices have already moved.

Subsequent to today’s meeting, the CRC has received word that their new name – for both MZ and MB locations – will be Patient and Family Cancer Resource Center.

Content Expert Presentation – Ari Kleiman, MLIS, Clinical Research Librarian, Fishbon Library
Thank you, Ari Kleiman, for explaining your role as a clinical research librarian and patient health librarian at the Fishbon Library at MZ.
Ari explained his primary job is to find information for patients and caregivers. He can meet one-on-one, by phone or email, or at bedside. He works with both cancer and non-cancer patients, UCSF and Non-UCSF patients as well as members of the general public.
With the library’s wealth of paid resource sites, he can research various diseases and conditions, types of treatments, where to go, side effects, care plans, finding clinical trials, to name just a few, and can help patients formulate questions. His services are very useful for people who don’t know where to start as well as for long-distance caregivers.
You can find the Library’s resource site by clicking on UCSF Health’s Patient & Visitor tab>Patient & Family Support Services>Fishbon Library: Health Information for Patients and Families or by clicking here.
Patients can email questions to the librarians by going to which links you to the Ask a Librarian section as well as a vast array of online resources.

--Do you summarize your findings? Ari will point out such things as, “starting on page seven….” If the patient has trouble understanding, he refers them to their medical provider.
--Do you hold classes on how to search for information? Yes

Open Discussion
--it’s great that Ari holds classes for the public on how to find health information.
--the CRC should feature the Library services in their eNewsletter
--PFAC members are asking for a listing of transportation options for the Guidebook. Should the ferry from Berkeley to MB be included? (Consensus was “yes”)
--There are now 70 people on our CSCC roster!

March 11, 2019 - Speaker: Margaret Gray, of the Cancer Resource Center

Announcements & Discussion
  • Announcements: Cancer Resource Center (CRC) Updates:
    • The CRC at MZ received an interior refresh: new floors, carpet & paint. Come visit – it looks great! Mary Destri
    • the April Eat to Nourish 4 Evening Series with Live Cooking Demonstration at Ida’s Café MZ is sold out but please tell your pts it will also be offered in the Fall. Presented by our oncology dieticians Greta Macaire, Lisa Ploss and a health-supportive chef. For UCSF patients, family & caregivers only.
    • UCSF internist and palliative care physician, Brieze Keely, MD, will give a lecture on integrative oncology in Herbst Hall on May 7th. Open to all.
    • Globetrotting speaker & author, Will Pye, will give a talk on the Healing Power of Gratitude, Joy and Love in Herbst Hall on May 21st. Open to all.
    • Mary posted on Chatter a beautiful article about an end-stage UCSF cancer patient who was treated with immunotherapy and is now cancer- free.
  • Content Expert Presentation: Thank you, Margaret Gray, of the Cancer Resource Center, for explaining your role as Peer Support Program Manager.

    This program connects cancer patients by phone with a cancer survivor or with someone further along with their treatment. Patients can be matched by cancer type or stage, treatment, gender, age or other family dynamics, as best as possible. The volunteers are trained how to share their experiences and provide informational support to possibly reduce the anxiety of a patient who is new to cancer.

    Volunteers who help the newly-diagnosed are pre-screened, asked to be at least six months out with their cancer and commit for one year.

    There are many patients asking for peer support and not enough volunteers, so the need is great! She asks everyone on this committee to please help spread the word.
  • General Discussion:
    • Keren Stronach (PFAC) is updating the Cancer Patient Guidebook so please send her any updates. There is both an online version of it on the Cancer Resource Center’s website and a hard copy version in the New Patient Packet. Both are basically an A-Z listing of supportive care programs available at UCSF.
    • Karen Gehrman (Cancer Center Communications), is conducting road-shows to various departments helping with their communications needs.
    • Marina Ortega asked if patients could make appointments with the Cancer Resource Center in order to learn about their services & programs. (Answer: Yes, have pt call the CRC)
    • Dianne Shumay (Psycho-Oncology) acknowledged we offer a lot of diverse and innovative supportive care programs but is it welcoming and accessible to all types of people, whether it be language, culture, disability or distance?
    • Keren Stronach acknowledged these are important issues not only in supportive care but in medical care, as well. Examples are medical interpreters who must leave in the middle of a consult or how to deal with the cultural issues of a patient who doesn’t want to know their prognosis, but the family does?
    • Paul Asfour (Cancer Resource Center) mentioned that Stanford operates some of its’ programs at various venues in the area, potentially making it easier for patients to get to them. And various agencies offer cancer support programs for Latinos (Circolo da Vida) and Chinese-Americans (Cameron House).
    • Mary Destri advised of ZSFG’s six-week C.A.R.E program for newly diagnosed cancer patients that teaches self-care and wellness and offers a free, healthy meal each week. Also offered in Spanish and Chinese.
    • Paul Asfour announced the MZ CRC space will remain open even after they launch their new facility at PCMB in October. Anticipating lower volume of patients flowing through the CRC he asked, “Do you have any ideas of how best to potentially re-purpose this great, comfortable and cozy space?” Perhaps, turn it into an “Activities Center”? Some ideas he suggests are to make it available for lectures, staff team-building, small meetings where staff just “needs to get away” or providing space for a support group. Does our Committee have any ideas as to how to use this space?
    • Dianne Shumay finished the meeting by suggesting we bite off a few of these great ideas and make them a 2020 goal.
    • Please let [email protected] know what your top goal or two for 2020 would be!

February 11, 2019 - Speaker: Noah Aitel, Practice Coordinator, Breast and Head/Neck practices,

Announcements & Discussion

Keren Stronach, leader of the Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), is updating the Cancer Center Guidebook. This is the perfect opportunity for you to let her know of any new supportive care programs, changes to existing ones, or cogent information you think patients need to know. Please email with your suggestions.


Noah Aitel, Practice Coordinator Float for the Breast and Head/Neck practices, presented on his role, and its challenges and rewards. Noah’s talk was very illuminating with a vibrant Q & A afterwards. Some questions Noah addressed were:

  • --“So, just why are wait times sometimes so long & how do we explain to patients?; what can be done to minimize or better utilize this down-time?”
  • --"How do I get to see a particular doctor?” (Answer: call the clinic directly)
  • --“How do 2nd opinions work? Should pts call the clinic directly vs. the potentially off-putting $700 online access shown on the UCSF Health website? What do we tell Kaiser pts, or other self-pays? How can non-UCSF pts find UCSF clinical trials? “

Karen Gehrman (Cancer Center Director of Communications) offered to get an update from the UCSF Health website folks with regards to 2nd opinion contact info as they are working on a comprehensive re-launch.


Marina Ortega, PA of Endocrine Surgery – who is new to UCSF - and her team are realizing their need to give better six month supportive care follow-up to patients and asks for this committee’s help. She asks:

  • How do we incorporate resources into the patient experience?
  • At what point are our patients getting information besides what they see on the elevator?
  • Are our pts getting resources that I don’t know about?
  • Marina is open to working, offline, with any of us who might help.

Other subjects discussed:

  • Jamie Cohen, PsyD of Psycho-Oncology suggested her method of sending out the equivalent of a My Chart message to each patient.
  • Keren Stronach mentioned Angela Laffen in GI Onc has a packet of info their practice gives out to patients. Keren will also be working with Neuro-Onc for same.
  • Keren Stronach also seeks information from those who know of good website pages about transportation and parking as UCSF gets many pt complaints on this topic. Examples: how pts can access the shuttle, campus navigation, drop off sites for ride-sharing, tips on Warrior game days, etc.

We hope this stimulates our committee into some creative thinking and sharing of idea

January 14, 2019 -  Speaker: Jamie Cohen reviewed the Survivorship Wellness Program

Announcements & Discussion

Cancer Resource Center (CRC) (Mary Destri) announced upcoming lectures of interest to patients and staff & to please spread the word:

--Hereditary Cancers with UCSF’s Pamela Munster, MD | January 15th, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
--Nutrition, Exercise & Bone Health with UCSF’s Greta Macaire, RD and Jane Clark, CET | January 29th from 5:00 – 6:30 pm
--Non-Toxic Tips for Health Living with Karen Wang, PhD, Director of Commonweal’s Collaborative on Health and the Environment | February 26th, 5:30 – 7 pm
--The 3 session Integrative Cancer Care Group Visits with Donald Abrams, MD starts up again on February 1st. Limited to 8 patients. 10 am – Noon
Visit CRC Events Calendar or contact [email protected] for more info.

Paul Asfour :

--the CRC will be opening up another center at Mission Bay and it will be called the Patient and Family Support Center.
--the CRC will remain at Mount Zion and will continue to be known as the Cancer Resource Center
--Paul has an idea that it might be good to use the CRC MZ space, going forward, as an “Activity Center” for patients and staff. Examples might be if a Cancer Center department wants to sponsor a conference or have a retreat or invite a speaker. He welcomes feedback about this idea.

Psycho-Oncology’s Dianne Shumay:

--Has space to accept new patients and patients can self-refer, if they like. Insurance will be billed and the co-pay is similar to a regular doctor’s office visit.
--Caregivers can also self-refer, using their own insurance, under their mental health provision.
--Anna Levin will embed once a month in an ortho-surgery surgery clinic assisting their work in integrating titanium implants into amputated limbs.
--A survivorship professor from Norway will be visiting soon – anyone interested in meeting him? Naomi from Neuro Onc stated Angela Laffan (GI Med Onc) will soon be putting together a Survivorship Coalition.

Social Worker Judy Patt-Smoker:

--More cancer social workers are being hired.
--Theresa Abts, the current head, is retiring at the end of February. No news on her replacement, yet.

Neuro-Onc’s Naomi Hoffer started a Chatter group for us. She’ll resend invitations to join.

Cancer Center Communications’ Karen Gehrman is conducting “Road Shows” to provide any department with an overview of what her department does and how they can help you. Please spread the word.

Psych-Onc’s Jamie Cohen reviewed the Survivorship Wellness Program – an 8 week program for UCSF post-treatment patients who are looking for multi-disciplinary instruction and goal-setting coaching. Topics include nutrition, physical activity, managing stress & sleeping, emotional wellness, managing fear & recurrence, spirituality & finding meaning, sexual wellness & body image.

Click here for more info: Survivorship Wellness Program. This program is being very well received by patients and excellent results are reported. As a matter of fact, they’ve expanded the program to include additional monthly sessions for program attendees & alumni on specific topics.

Final Thoughts from Paul Asfour:

--He’s looking for “Content Expert Presenters” for our upcoming meetings – but don’t be put off by that title! All it is is just “sharing what you know” and we all “know something”!
--Also, he wants to encourage this Committee to span the whole breadth & depth of the Cancer Center – no matter in what capacity you work in. So please spread the word about this committee to your colleagues, co-workers & managers!
--Feel free to bring your lunch to our meetings!

December 10, 2018 - Speaker: Paul Asfour

Announcements & Discussion
SMS will be adopting the new ASCO initiative to provide palliative care services to all metastatic patients within 8 weeks of diagnosis – Dr. Mike Rabow
  • Psycho-Oncology (Jamie Cohen and Dianne Shumay): Better Sleep/Less Fatigue – special event 12/11 on ways to overcome fatigue from sleeping problems using non-medication strategies
    Upcoming 6 week workshop on the sleep using cognitive based training.
    8 week Survivorship Wellness ongoing class featuring nutrition, exercise, stress, sleeping, goal setting, and sexual, emotional, and spiritual wellness.
    Call Psych Onc 353-7019 for more information.
  • CRC & SMS (Bieze Keely and Mary Destri) talked about the free classes at Osher Center designed for cancer pts: exercise counseling & classes, Feldenkrais, yoga, meditation and dance. See the CRC calendar, either online or hard copy, or call the CRC for more information. 885-3693
    It was encouraged to bookmark the Cancer Resource Center website on your toolbar as it is website dense with resources for our patients.
    Dr. Brieze Keely of SMS also talked about ways low-income people can get services such as medical acupuncture as often providers also have a private practice and they offer their services on a sliding-scale to people with limited means.
  • Friend to Friend Gift Shop (Margo Wilhite) talked about Athleta’s recent donation of mastectomy, sports bras for women undergoing treatment at UCSF. Send your patients over to the shop as they have 2500 bras to give away which is a lot!
    CRC encouraged staff to spread the word about a donation of gift bags containing comforting items useful for women undergoing breast chemotherapy. Pick them up in the CRC.
  • CONTENT EXPERT: Paul Asfour reviewed the Patient Education Program of the Cancer Resource Center. These resources can be accessed online
  • OPEN FORUM: Discussion ensued about getting resources into MyChart – perhaps a drop down item in the Resources tab on MyChart.


Announcements & Discussion






"The CSCC has been instrumental in facilitating communication and collaboration amongst our Cancer Center providers and departments to best support our UCSF patient and staff community—I am deeply grateful to have the opportunity to partner with such a devoted team of professionals who are dedicated to bringing the best in supportive and interdisciplinary care to UCSF and the patients and families we serve."
– Jamie Cohen PsyD, Clinical Psychologist, Psycho-Oncology Service

"I have found the CSCC to be very helpful, not only as a forum for sharing information on supportive care services for our cancer community, but also for helping with planning and coordination of programs, events and services so that we can avoid redundancy and internal competition. I feel like the CSCC serves as a vital link between the Neuro-Oncology Department and the Cancer Center. We have so much to learn from each other and, when we do, it is our patients who ultimately benefit."
– Naomi Hoffer, MA, MCHES, Program Manager, Sheri Sobrato Brisson Brain Cancer Survivor Program, Department of Neuro-Oncology

"I'm very pleased to have the opportunity to incorporate the Hem/BMT team at the Parnassus campus into the CSCC. It helps us feel more connected and in the know. The more we know, the more we can spread the information to our patients! We have had several projects that have been made easier by being connected with our fruitful resources."
– Nicole Gelinas Owens, RN, BSN, OCN, UCSF Hem/BMT/Infusion Center, Charge Nurse - Parnassus Infusion Center

"Attending these meetings has helped me bring back many ideas to our entire unit in Endocrine Surgery, e.g. peer resources, how and when to incorporate social workers, and joining other committees such as translating resource book into Chinese and Spanish. From this experience we are now trialing a form “know before you go” sheet for patients. Every department should have a representative there, if only for a few months. You will learn about resources for patients that you didn’t know existed."
– Marina Ortega, PA-C, MS, Physician Assistant, Endocrine Surgery


Founding Members

  • Paul Asfour, MA, Committee Chair, Senior Program Manager, Patient and Family Cancer Support Center
  • Jamie Alexis Cohen, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist, Psycho-Oncology Service
  • Naomi Hoffer, MA, MCHES, Program Manager, Sheri Sobrato Brisson Brain Cancer Survivor Program, Department of Neuro-Oncology
  • Dianne Shumay, PhD, Director, Psycho-Oncology Service


Statement of Purpose

  1. Statement of Purpose
    The Cancer Supportive Care Committee aims to organize and connect Cancer Center departments and allies to generate and sustain a cohesive philosophy and shared vision of supportive care within the Cancer Center to further the efficient, comprehensive and compassionate delivery of whole person care to patients and families affected by cancer.

    We organize around the principle that a culture of collaboration, knowledge sharing, cohesiveness and alliances will translate into increased awareness of supportive care programs and activities, higher engagement of both patients and staff, better quality in the delivery of care, and reduction of duplication and redundancy in patient care efforts across the institution.
    Our focus is to:
    • Share information, institutional knowledge, and best practices of cancer supportive care.
    • Generate and sustain a shared vision of supportive care by gaining insight and input from each other
    • Support a culture which encourages any staff who encounters a patient to know more about supportive care services and be able to speak about supportive care at UCSF
    • Provide guidance to leadership on Cancer Center projects related to supportive care and patient experience
  2. Principles of Participation
    • Bring the best from your department to share; take the best from other departments to share
    • In-person, human to human contact is encouraged as it facilitates connections and enhances effectiveness of our work
    • All ideas, voices and viewpoints are valued equally, regardless of hierarchical status within the organization.
    • Willingness to proactively bring to life the purpose of the committee into your daily work plans and departmental goals.
    • We are here to be productive and focus on effecting positive change
  3. Areas of Focus
    • Values and Guiding Philosophy: Patients feel better about coming to UCSF when there is a common level of knowledge about their experience
      • The Cancer Supportive Care Committee will abide by a cohesive philosophy and shared vision of supportive care and patient experience within the Cancer Center, grounded in the following aims:
        • The product of alliance should translate into patient care, as well as patient and provider engagement and quality of life. This is to be accomplished by:
          • Creating a vision for future annual convocation of all Cancer Center stake holders
          • Increasing cohesiveness of approach to supportive care/patient experience within the Cancer Center community
          • Reaching the consumer in the most efficient way; avoiding duplication and overlap of services
          • Increasing awareness of supportive care programs among staff so that any staff who encounters a patient will know more and be able to help
          • Encouraging a culture of collaboration rather than competition
          • Fostering an environment in which supportive care can survive and thrive
          • Encouraging non-hierarchical interactions and contributions in order to achieve the aforementioned aims.
        • Share Knowledge
          • Share information, institutional knowledge, and history
          • Connect siloed expertise to benefit the organization
          • Compare best protocols and practices in supportive care
          • Create more open channels of communication for all members of the CC community
          • Facilitate crossover of knowledge between clinical operations and supportive care
          • Reflect unified services and vision to patient via web presence –marketing, branding, digital boards
        • Aid in Program and Cancer Center Development
          • Development and donor relationships
          • Collaborate on grants and grant funded projects
        • Serve in an Advisory Function
          • Align supportive care goals with stated goals of leadership
          • Provide upper level leadership for supportive care by maintaining presence at the decision making table
          • Vet and stamp approval for issues related to supportive care and patient experience
          • Generate wish list of priorities for the Cancer Center
          • Act as an advisory “clearing house”
  4. Definition of Supportive Care
    Supportive Care in cancer is a comprehensive approach to cancer care that addresses the inherent need of individuals to move toward healing in all aspects of their lives and includes but goes beyond medical and physical needs. Supportive care seeks to address and ameliorate quality of life limitations due to symptoms of the disease and side effects of treatment, the impact of cancer on family and psychosocial wellbeing, the emotional, existential and spiritual impacts of life limiting illness and much more.

    Supportive care in cancer embraces a philosophy that encourages continuing efforts towards vitality, meaning, joy and social connection for all individuals impacted by cancer. Supportive care is delivered and facilitated by a range of services and disciplines, including but not limited to oncology providers, health educators, peer advocates, integrative health practitioners, behavioral health experts, nurses, front desk staff, palliative care providers, art therapists, cancer coaches, nutritionists, chaplains, and pain management specialists.