Jesse R. Fann, MD, MPH
One challenge and barrier to people receiving psychosocial care is that it tends to be fragmented and separate from other aspects of oncology care. The Integrated Psychosocial Oncology Program at SCCA (IPOP) is unique among cancer centers in its goal to incorporate population-based, patient-centered psychosocial care into routine cancer care. At SCCA, IPOP represents a team-based collaborative approach where I am working with the patient’s care team as well as with clinical oncology social workers and other support services, all of whom provide treatment for the patient on site at SCCA. The IPOP model has been so successful that I am working with a number of organizations to help other cancer centers implement a similar program.
I enjoy helping people navigate through difficult challenges and maximize their quality of life. A lot of people ask me if it’s depressing to work in the cancer field. I don’t find it depressing at all. I find it really inspirational to see how strong and courageous people can be in the face of adversity. I really feel strongly that in addition to treating the cancer, it’s important to care for the whole person.
The psychiatrists and psychologists on our team at SCCA each acts as a coach to help patients during treatment. There is still stigma, and some people unfortunately think it’s a sign of weakness if they feel depressed or they’re not being positive enough. I decided to become a psychiatrist because I’m able to get to know my patients in great depth. I also think there is great opportunity and immense clinical and scientific potential in the field.
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