Become a Certified Oncology Social Worker


  1. Demonstrates to clients and colleagues that oncology social workers have a defined and specialized skill set.
  2. Certification is a public acknowledgment of going beyond what is expected.
  3. Certification opens the door for conversations with patients, staff and administrators about the knowledge, experience and commitment needed to attain this designation.
  4. Hospitals can use this to demonstrate to surveyors and accrediting bodies that the social workers on staff have attained an exceptional level of experience and competency.
  5. Some hospitals have provided social workers with financial rewards and incentives for becoming certified.
  6. Signifies your commitment in the eyes of your leadership.
  7. Represents an advanced level of competence, commitment, and experience in the field of Oncology Social Work.
  8. Validates your specialty – similar to OCN for nurses.
  9. Is the preferred certification for the required role of “Psychosocial Coordinator” for the Cancer Committee, which is specified in the Commission on Cancer Standards of Care.
  10. Is a great marketing tool for your employer.
  11. Comes with a certificate that you can display and a letter of recognition to be given to your employer.
  12. Demonstrates to accrediting organizations such as Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, American College of Surgeons, Commission on Cancer, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and your community that Oncology Social Workers comply with standards and ethics that ensure delivery of quality services to all.

Click here if your OSW-C has lapsed and you would like more info on reapplying.

In the 2016 Patient Centered Standards, the Commission on Cancer recognizes and prefers the OSW-C credential. Also, the Association of Community Cancer Centers recognizes and prefers the OSW-C credential in their Cancer Program Guidelines.


Jennifer Bires, MSW, LICSW, OSW-C, Chair

Executive Director – Life with Cancer and Patient Experience, Inova Schar Cancer Institute, Washington, DC

“I have worked in oncology since I graduated with my MSW. I remember first learning about the certification and having to patiently wait until I had worked long enough to qualify. I think this certification is so important because it elevates our professionalism and highlights the expertise of oncology social workers.”

Linda Glaudell, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, Secretary

Oncology Social Worker, Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s, Milwaukee, WI

“It was upon applying for my current position as a lone ranger in oncology that I learned of the OSW certification. It was a requirement of my position that I needed to earn as quickly as possible. As I began meeting the requirements, I saw myself grow as an oncology social worker. Each step led me to more exciting opportunities and the ability to demonstrate to myself, my family, my employer, and my profession how committed I was to strive for excellence. Joining AOSW enabled me to become the oncology professional I am today. By joining the BOSWC, I hope to empower others to take that first step.”

Kathy Higginbotham, MSW, LICSW, OSW-C, Treasurer

Oncology Clinical Social Worker – Lifespan Cancer Institute, Providence, RI

Kathy Higginbotham LICSW, OSW-C, is an outpatient Oncology Clinical Social Worker at the Lifespan Cancer Institute in Providence, RI. In addition to her clinical work, she has served on several boards, facilitated a support/educational group for the Brown University Oncology Fellowship program and currently facilitates support/educational groups within the Cancer Center. The Clinical Staff within the Cancer Center is expected to achieve certification within our respective professions as part of our best practice.

Doreen Gagnon, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Oncology Social Worker – Middlesex Health Cancer Center, Middletown, CT

“Since I first became the (solo) social worker at Middlesex Health Cancer Center in February, 2010, I have tried to be an active member of the oncology social work community in order to provide our patients with the best possible psychosocial care. As part of this commitment, I sought and obtained certification through BOSWC to both reflect and further this commitment. Last year, I was honored to become a board member of BOSWC, allowing me to contribute to the work of this terrific organization.”

Christina Bach, MBE, MSW, LCSW, FAOSW, OSW-C

Educational Content Specialist and Psychosocial Content Editor – Oncolink, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Field Liaison and Instructor – University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice

“I’m dedicated to elevating oncology social work practice through leadership, education, research and advancing clinical practice with cancer survivors. I practice in both macro and micro oncology setting and am inspired by learning about all the work my OSW colleagues are doing all over the country to enhance our field.”

Leora Lowenthal, MSW, MPA, LICSW, OSW-C

Program Leader for Hematology/Oncology Social Work at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA

“In addition to my clinical work, I have served on several boards, including three years as Education Director for the Association of Oncology Social Work and serving as a member of the Medical Advisory Council for the Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation.”

Amanda Trout, MSW, LMSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Clinical Social Worker/Adolescent & Young Adult (AYA) Program Coordinator at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, MO

“I have worked in oncology for 9 years, 8 of which have been in a pediatric setting.  I am passionate about the AYA population, and have been fortunate in my position as Clinical Social Work and Adolescent & Young Adult (AYA) Program Coordinator, as I can balance my clinical work with goals for creating psychosocial programming and support for the unique AYA population.  I value engaging our AYA patients on a clinical level, but also taking their input to advocate for positive changes in our hospital setting and in the community.  The OSW-C has helped me to broaden my experience and focus on areas of practice that create meaningful impact for our patients, families, and communities.  I am proud to serve as a member of this board.”

Rosemary “Rosie” Nagy, MSS, LSW, OSW-C

Oncology Social Worker – Temple Health, Philadelphia, PA

“Rosie currently works full time as a cancer center social worker.  She is passionate about her work in oncology and the significance of social work in a person’s cancer experience.”

Harold Dean, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Social Work Program Manager – Myeloma Center, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences – Little Rock, Arkansas

Field Liaison and Field Instructor – University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Social Work

“Harold is a clinical oncology social worker with extensive experience in both inpatient and outpatient oncology settings.  In addition to his managerial and clinical work, he serves as a co-facilitator of a long-standing and thriving blood cancer support group.  He helped develop and currently manages an oncology-focused educational program for MSW interns.  He is a frequent presenter for a variety of local and national professional organizations.  He has served on several boards and is an active volunteer with the American Cancer Society and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Achieving the OSW-C credential demonstrates a social worker’s commitment to oncology specific education and the enhancement of psychosocial services for cancer patients and their caregivers.”

Sean Powell, MSW, LCSW, CCM, OSW-C

Director, Social Work and Patient and Family Services – Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute – Tampa, FL

“I am the Director of the Department of Social Work and Patient and Family Services for Moffitt Cancer Center, a NCI designated facility.  I also sit on the Education Committee of the Florida Society of Oncology Social Workers, the Advocacy Committee of the Association of Oncology Social Work, and the Professional Advisory Council for the School of Social Work at The University of South Florida.  I have been board certified as an oncology social worker (OSW-C) since 2005.  I feel board certification is critical to our profession, and adds further credibility to the skill and expertise we can provide to the oncology team.  As a leader in a large cancer treatment center, it is my responsibility to employ a well trained workforce, ensure the highest standards of patient care, and promote the social work skill set.  By encouraging and recognizing board certification we are able to meet these initiatives.”

PO Box 3190
Carmel, IN 46082
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BOSWC Mission Statement

The Board of Oncology Social Work (BOSW) Mission is to ensure excellence in psychosocial care to oncology patients, families, caregivers and their communities.  Oncology social workers certified by BOSW must demonstrate:

  • Excellence in oncology-specific social work practice.
  • Ongoing oncology-specific education and training.
  • Ongoing professional oncology work employment.
  • Ongoing professional and community engagement.