Meredith J. Barnhart, M.S. LMSW, a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Social Service (GSS), works as a social worker in the pediatric oncology division of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
During the course of her counseling, she came across a handful of families that had both a child and a parent being simultaneously treated for cancer. In one instance, she said, a father even postponed his own treatment regimen to allow for his son to stabilize first.
Starting in July, Barnhart will be doing her dissertation research on “Enhancing Concurrent Child and Caregiver Oncology Treatment,” thanks to $40,000, two-year grant she applied for and received from the American Cancer Society.
The grant’s goal is to look at the psychosocial impact of having a parent and child in active treatment simultaneously, on the family structures.
Barnhart noted that, at present, there is little or no research on the topic. The grant also supports her participation in professional conferences, including at the Society for Social Work and Research.
Barnhart hopes that her dissertation will eventually help inform treatment for those families facing the daunting set of circumstances.