Psychosocial Aspects of Cancer: Part II of Interview with Dr. Jimmie Holland

This is the second segment of the videotaped interview with Dr. Jimmie Holland, the first of two segments of which is above. The interview was conducted by the Public Relations Task Force (PRTF) of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine (APM) in 2007 at the APM Annual Meeting on Amelia Island. You can view it at the APM website as well or hear the audio only at the website of Dr. Michael Blumenfield at http://www.shrinkpod.com/.

Dr. Holland is the Wayne E. Chapman Chair in Psychiatric Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.  She was interviewed by John Blamphin, former Director of Communications of the American Psychiatric Association and now consultant to the PRTF. She chaired the Institute of Medicine (IOM) symposium on psychosocial services for cancer patients at the 2007 Annual Meeting.

The whole idea of making hospitals accountable for evaluating and managing psychosocial distress associated with many chronic medical illnesses, not just cancer, seemed to gain new ground with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report. Dr. Holland was clearly hopeful that practical and measurable change would come of it. It’s very clear that addressing psychosocial distress of the medically ill is a mandate for health care systems, not just doctors. Now more than ever, a team-based collaborative approach is being emphasized which makes many stakeholders accountable for keeping body, mind, and spirit the focus of high quality health care.

Dr. Holland was frank about the mandate not yet being carried out and what I hear her saying is that the culture of medicine that drills down on the biological side of patient care only and the overemphasis on dollar costs are the barriers. Education is not the only tool in implementation of the integrating of assessment of psychosocial concerns into cancer treatment. “Real world studies”, not just efficacy research, is what Dr. Holland emphasized.

She sounds very practical…and I’m all for that.

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