Last weekend, I attended the 6th annual Fort Worth Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Conference. It was an inspirational two days!
To be surrounded by doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and administrators who are focused on making AYA care better was a great reminder of the momentum behind the AYA oncology movement. More and more providers and medical centers are working to address the unique medical and psychosocial needs of AYA patients and their families. People are breaking down barriers between pediatric and adult hospitals, thinking creatively about how to deliver services, and most importantly…listening to AYA patients.
This is a hallmark of the AYA oncology world. We want to know what AYA patients think. What made their treatment easier? What was really hard to deal with? Which provider did they wish they saw more of? What would help them return to work or school after treatment? Their collective voices and experiences serve as a guide for program development and larger systems level changes.
Sophie’s LOUDness has become part of this AYA movement. She spoke up and said “This needs to change! We need to do better for AYA patients.” Her family, community, and UNC listened and now we have an opportunity to help define what it looks like to take excellent care of AYA patients.
I was incredibly proud to represent UNC and Be Loud! Sophie at the AYA conference. We provide innovative and thoughtful care to AYA patients, and we’re only getting started!