Wayne Bardwell, PhD, MBA, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, Director of the Patient and Family Support Service and the Doris A. Howell Palliative Care Service at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, has been chosen to serve as president of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS). The three year commitment began in February of 2011, at the society’s annual conference.
“Dr. Bardwell has a keen and dynamic understanding of the links between physiological and psychosocial functioning in chronically ill patients,” said Lewis Judd, MD, Mary Gilman Marston Professor and chair of the UCSD Department of Psychiatry. “His contributions to APOS will no doubt further the cause and bring valuable educational opportunities to the public.”
APOS is a group of health care professionals who are dedicated to treating the “person around the tumor.” Extensive scientific evidence shows that when patients who are being treated for cancer also experience distress, anxiety, or depression, they are less likely to adhere to medical treatment. Psychosocial expertise can help patients manage symptoms that occur as a result of cancer treatment such as pain and fatigue.
“I have served on the APOS board for several years, but to be elected president is truly an honor,” said Bardwell. “This is a stellar organization of clinicians and researchers dedicated to advancing the science behind care for the whole cancer patient as well as their loved ones.”
Bardwell’s interest in the interaction between mind and body began in the early 1990s. As a health psychologist, he studied psychiatric function in patients with medical illness, particularly those with breast cancer. “Initially, my interest centered on identifying breast cancer survivors who were at risk for experiencing ongoing depression, fatigue and insomnia,” explained Bardwell. “Because of that research interest, I soon developed a clinical specialty of working with people with chronic or life-threatening medical illnesses, now with an emphasis with patients fighting cancer.”
During his term as president, Bardwell’s goal is to increase APOS visibility among health care professionals as well as the general population. “We want patients and their family and friends to know that they should expect to receive support and care for distress throughout the cancer experience,” said Bardwell.
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