SEATTLE, April 13, 2007 – Leah deRoulet, MSW, LICSW, a 20-year medical social worker with the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) and a resident of Issaquah, recently learned she is one of just 13 cancer-care providers from across the country to receive the 2007 American Cancer Society (ACS) Lane Adams Quality of Life Award, a prestigious national recognition honoring cancer-care providers. She is the first staff person from Swedish to ever receice this award and only the seventh in Washington state since its inception in 1988.
The Lane Adams Quality of Life Award honors individuals who have made a difference through innovation, leadership, and consistent excellence in providing compassionate, skilled care, and counsel to people living with cancer and their families. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Austin, Texas on Friday, May 18, 2007.
The ACS has recognized cancer caregivers through the Lane Adams Quality of Life Award since 1988. The awards committee includes long-time national Society volunteers, including Vicki Adams Quan, the daughter of Lane W. Adams, the ACS' former executive vice president who coined the phrase "warm hand of service" and made attention to compassionate care a legacy of his service.
"These awards recognize the unsung heroes of cancer care who give hope, comfort, and the very best care to cancer patients and their families," said Richard Wender, M.D., national volunteer president of the ACS. "Although their work is often overlooked, these award recipients make a real difference in the lives of cancer patients."
Leah is credited with envisioning and developing the SCI's active and robust support-group program. In fact, the groups she started – which include breast cancer education, ovarian cancer, and general cancer – are still going strong after more than 18 years. She was also the SCI's social-work supervisor for more than 13 years. In her current role, Leah provides individual and family counseling for patients and families involved in cancer treatment. Testament to her role, deRoulet earned Swedish's prestigious Nils Johanson Inspirational Award in 1999 for her work with SCI patients and their families.
Interestingly, Leah entered the field late in life at age 46 after earning her master's in social work from the University of Washington in 1982. She had previously owned clothing stores in Seattle since moving to the area in 1962. Her career change was prompted by the unexpected death of her teen-age son, which spurred her to find something in her life that had meaning. Despite originally intending to do bereavement counseling in the area of traumatic death, she soon found herself gravitating to medical social work. According to Leah, this has been "a match made in heaven," since she still regularly provides grief counseling to newly diagnosed cancer patients who feel they have lost their sense of health.
On a professional level, Leah is a member of the Association of Oncology Social Work. She also belongs to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), where she was secretary of the Washington state Chapter for a number of years. She also enjoys an active faith life, having been a member of Temple De Hirsch Sinai for the past four years.
About the Swedish Cancer Institute
Now celebrating its 75th anniversary year, the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) opened in 1932 as the first dedicated cancer-care center west of the Mississippi. Today, it is the largest and most comprehensive cancer treatment program in the Pacific Northwest. The Institute has a presence on all three of Swedish's hospital campuses – First Hill, Cherry Hill and Ballard – as well as in East King County through a new medical oncology clinic near Issaquah. A true multidisciplinary program, the SCI offers a wide range of advanced cancer-treatment options in chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery – backed by extensive diagnostic capabilities, patient education and support-group services. The SCI's clinical-research arm encompasses industry-sponsored and cooperative group therapeutic trials, cancer screening and prevention trials, and investigator-initiated trials. Breast-cancer screening and diagnostics are available through the Swedish Breast Care Centers and mobile mammography units. Swedish radiation therapy is also offered at area hospitals including Stevens Hospital (Edmonds); Valley Medical Center (Renton); Highline Community Hospital (Burien) and Northwest Hospital (North Seattle). For more information, visit www.swedish.org