Since 2001, I have been working with cancer patients, professionals, and oncology institutions from Romania, Europe, and the USA. Based on this experience, I have developed the APSCO research project – www.psychooncology.ro
. APSCO - Assessment of Psycho-Social and Communication needs in Oncology – is the first multi-center research project on psychosocial aspects of cancer in Romania. Furthermore, together with Dr. Alex Mitchell, we developed the first Emotion Thermometers-based cancer distress evaluation and monitoring app. I am the founder and president of APSCO - the Romanian Association for Services and Communication in Oncology, a proud member of the IPOS Federation, and a collaborating partner of the Innovative Partnership for Action Against Cancer - iPAAC initiative Europe. In 2016 the Romanian Ministry of Health named me a member of the Committee for Social Work and Support in Oncology as part of the Steering Group to develop National Cancer Control Plan 2016-2020.
The International Psycho-Oncology Society - IPOS is my professional family where we are developing and strengthening psycho-oncology policies, services, and resources across the world for cancer patients, cancer survivors, families, and loved ones, especially in emerging regions like Asia, Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Russia. This is our mission together with the largest and truly representative psycho-oncology professional society in the world, which represents a range of health disciplines across the globe, including psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, clinicians, social workers, social scientists, patient advocates, educators, and administrators, dieticians, epidemiologists, specialists in pastoral care and vocational rehabilitation. Dr. Luzia Travado, IPOS President Emeritus, dear friend, is my mentor here.
As Board Member at the European Cancer Organisation – ECCO in Brussels, elected on behalf of IPOS, I have been actively involved in oncopolicy and psycho-oncology capacity building in the European Union in partnership with ECCO. The most important project to be involved with is the ECCO Essential Requirements for Quality Cancer Care – ERQCC, which aims to improve outcomes for cancer patients in Europe by adopting and implementing essential quality cancer care requirements in Europe through existing clinical guidelines that enhance their effectiveness. Its final aim is to shape the policy environment at the European and national levels to improve the quality of cancer care across Europe and reduce cancer inequalities. Further, together with the Survivorship and Quality of Life Network members at ECCO, we have been working together to build professional consensus and improve cancer care.
From my experience in IPOS, I know that psycho-oncology is gaining momentum in more and more places around the world, with significant professional resources to be engaged in the following years to come and with good chances to succeed by teamwork, commitment, and investment. All my efforts are not enough; I and IPOS will need you as ambassadors of psycho-oncology standards across the globe. I believe the most significant professional and personal experience relates to the new IPOS standard - psychosocial care as a human right.