Newswise — Penny DeGoosh, LICSW, has been named the director of Social Work at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
DeGoosh joins St. Jude from Sidra Medicine in Doha, Qatar, where she served in progressive management and leadership roles in Social Work Services for the past four years. Prior to her time at Sidra, she was the coordinator of Social Services in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at University of Vermont Children’s Hospital for 11 years.
“To be the director of a social work department in a world-class institution like St. Jude, one that embraces families facing catastrophic illness, is an honor,” DeGoosh said. “The social work team at St. Jude is held in high regard by fellow medical social workers in the U.S. and abroad as they have been actively involved in setting standards for social work practice, served in leadership roles in professional organizations, and consistently provided excellent patient- and family-centered care.”
Members of the Social Work Department at St. Jude provide families with counseling, support and education. The team helps parents and patients understand illness and treatments, and they have specific expertise to help families cope with the emotional impact of living with illness. Social workers also provide education in the community and in the hospital about the impact of illness on patients and families, acting as advocates for the patients.
There are thirty licensed and degree-prepared social workers at St. Jude who saw over 10,000 unique patients in the past year.
“The mission of the St. Jude Social Work Department is, in part, to promote the optimal functioning of the total family unit affected by the diagnosis of catastrophic and chronic illness,” DeGoosh said. “We want the entire family to be cared for in the most holistic and compassionate way.”
Among her professional accomplishments, DeGoosh helped develop a national licensing pathway for medical social workers in Qatar, and established and integrated culturally sensitive social work services into a new medical center with inpatient and outpatient services for children and women. While at University of Vermont Children’s Hospital, she developed psychosocial supports for siblings of children with cancer, adolescents with cancer, children who experienced the loss of a family member, and parenting while grieving.
DeGoosh plans for St. Jude social workers to contribute to psychosocial research, present at national and international conferences and expand field placements for undergraduate social work students.
"We are incredibly fortunate to have Penny DeGoosh leading our social work department," said Valerie Crabtree, chief of Psychosocial Services at St. Jude. "She has a wealth of knowledge and experience that will help us continue to move forward in providing the highest quality social work services to our patients and families."
DeGoosh holds an undergraduate degree from Trinity College and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Vermont - Burlington.
About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit www.stjude.org or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.