This week's blog post is a guest post by Peter Brown, MBA,

Co-founder of the Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation

Why is there such diversity at treatment sites for the psychological, emotional and social support (i.e. “Psychosocial Support”) of children with cancer and their families?  The answer: there were no evidence based psychosocial standards developed and in place to guide this care.  But, the good news is these Standards are coming!  

Mattie with Dino

An international group of over six dozen clinicians, researchers, healthcare and mental health professionals, led by a core team of five distinguished professionals (Lori Wiener, Anne Kazak, Mary Jo Kupst, Robert B. Noll and Andrea Patenaude), have spent the last three and a half years developing an evidence based set of Standards that are considered the essential elements of psychosocial care.  The Standards project was the vision of a non-profit organization called the Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation, founded by Peter and Vicki Brown who lost their son Mattie to Osteosarcoma in 2009 when he was seven years old.

Mattie's Miracle Cancer Foundation

These Standards will ensure a minimum level of care that spans the entire cancer trajectory, from the date of diagnosis through survivorship, or end of life and bereavement care. The Standards will be published in the fall of 2015, in a special edition of Pediatric Blood & Cancer.  The Standards were developed following a rigorous process that started with the evaluation of over 15,000 articles covering the last two decades of leading psychosocial research and clinical work.


While the Standards are being readied for publishing, the next phase of the Standards is already taking form.  Efforts will now turn towards working with individual hospitals and sites to apply the Standards, getting the Standards embedded into legislation and regulations, working with professional associations to endorse the Standards and add them to curriculum, and to have the Standards added to accreditation requirements.


To learn more about the Standards you may visit and go to Programs to find more information.  We also recommend you watch a brief video by Andrea Patenaude, Ph.D., Director of Psychology Research and Clinical Services, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, describing a recent symposium on the Standards held at an international psycho-oncology conference.


Join us on our Facebook page to discuss the how you care for the psychosocial needs of your patients and families.