Support Groups


Wellness in the Time of COVID Series

This 6-month integrative wellness series, sponsored by The Washington Home, will be offered to caregivers, those who are critically ill, and those facing cancer-related challenges during this especially difficult time.

Wellness in the Time of COVID Series

Check out the full series program schedule HERE!

Upcoming Support Groups

Cancer Support Groups

Monthly on Mondays, 6:00-7:30pm, with Jennifer Bires, LICSW, and Lauren Broschak, MSW, LICSW, OSW-C

This bi-monthly support group provides participants with the opportunity to explore their experience with cancer in a safe group setting with a trained social worker and to connect with others who are facing a similar challenge. This group is designed specifically for individuals that have been diagnosed with cancer.

Survivorship Support Group

Monthly on Tuesdays, 6:30-7:30pm, with Rachel Ress, LGSW

This group is designed for cancer survivors who have completed their primary cancer treatment(s) and are now either post-treatment or on maintenance medication (such as hormonal therapy). Cancer can be emotionally and physically draining — many times we aren’t able to fully process the experience until after treatment is over and we are trying to get back to our “normal” lives. The struggle and expectation to find “normal” again can also be an overwhelming process. This group is a space where you can talk openly about these issues and process the trauma of cancer with other survivors.

Loss of a Loved One to Cancer Support Group

Monthly on Wednesdays, 6:00-7:00pm, with Erin Price, LICSW

This monthly support group, facilitated by a licensed clinical social worker, is for anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer. As a group, we will explore the impact of loss and find ways to cope with grief together.

LGBTQ+ Cancer Support Group

Monthly on Wednesdays, 6:30-7:30pm, with Allie Giza, MSW Candidate, and Erin Price, LICSW

This monthly support group is designed for adults diagnosed with cancer who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. The group will be facilitated by culturally competent social workers, who will provide a safe space to connect with others and explore your own unique experience with cancer.

Loss of a Parent to Cancer Support Group

Monthly on Mondays, 6:00-7:30pm, with Cheryl Hughes, LICSW, and Anne Kelemen, LICSW, ACHP-SW

The loss of a parent from cancer brings with it many complex feelings. Sadness, anger, and regret are just a few of the feelings you may experience. Sometimes friends – and even family members – don’t understand these feelings.
This support group provides a monthly opportunity to join a group of people who may understand.

Nueva Vida Grupo de Apoyo (en Español)

Weekly on Saturdays, 9:00am-12:00pm, with Nueva Vida

En Smith Center, Nueva Vida tendrá grupos de apoyo que se enfocan en el apoyo al trauma asociado con el diagnóstico de cáncer. Estos grupos proporcionan a las latinas la oportunidad de identificar y expresar sus sentimientos, en un lugar seguro, y lleno de empatía, así como compartir sus sentimientos con otras personas que están o han pasado por similares circunstancias. Las reuniones semanales, se combinan con una actividad de reducción del estrés (Zumba o Yoga)

Are you taking care of a loved one with cancer? You are not alone. Roughly 13 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year.Participants in a group session

Whether you are caring for your spouse, partner, parent, child, or friend, you have an enormous responsibility and play a crucial role in their health care team. As a caregiver, it is equally important that you care for yourself.

Smith Center offers support and resources that will help you prepare for and deal with the challenges that come from caring for a loved one. Our stress reduction, creative expression, and educational programs can help you feel more balanced, supported, and empowered. You are welcome to attend any of the classes we offer, including weekly therapeutic yoga, alone or with your loved one. From time to time, we also offer programs that are specifically designed with caregivers in mind.

Upcoming Programs Specifically for Cancer Caregivers

Caregiver Support Group

Monthly on Mondays, 6:00-7:30pm, with Julia Rowland, Ph.D.

This group, led by a licensed psychologist, is designed to provide cancer caregivers with the opportunity to meet other caregivers, learn about useful tools for self-care, and explore ways to thrive in the caregiving role.

Meet Our Support Group Facilitators

Anne Kelemen

Anne Kelemen, LICSW, ACHP-SW

Anne Kelemen joined MedStar Washington Hospital Center Section of Palliative care in 2014. In 2015, she was named MedStar Health Palliative Clinical of the Year. Prior to joining the Hospital Center staff, Ms. Kelemen instituted the first palliative care services at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, MD. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, she is actively involved in research, and is interested in the intersection of language and medicine as well as intimacy and chronic illness. She received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Maryland and a post-master’s certificate in End of Life Care from the Smith College School of Social Work. In 2017, she received the emerging leader award from the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Network (SWHPN). Ms. Kelemen is a SWHPN board member and passionate about teaching the next generation of palliative clinicians. She is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University and Director of the Palliative Social Work Fellowship at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Cheryl Hughes

Cheryl Hughes, LICSW, OSW-C

Cheryl Ann Hughes, LICSW, is a Palliative Care Social Worker at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital. She creates a safe and supportive environment from which individuals can define their goals, as well as the means by which they can be achieved. Cheryl tailors each treatment plan using a variety of modalities including EMDR, strengths-based and solution-focused techniques, and with recognition of– and a deep respect for — the strong connection between mind and body. Cheryl infuses her work with mindfulness-based techniques to assist her clients in recognizing their own ability to create a reality that will lead to a satisfying and fulfilling life. Cheryl received her master’s degree in social work, with an emphasis on clinical and medical social work, from Catholic University. She works with cancer patients and their families as they deal with the increased stressors caused by cancer and its treatment.

Erin Price

Erin Price, LICSW

Erin serves as Smith Center’s Director of Young Adult and Psychosocial Support Programs. She is trained in Integrative Patient Navigation, a Project LEAD graduate, and holds a Masters in Social Work. A seven-year breast cancer survivor, Erin is passionate about providing support and community to other cancer survivors, especially young adults. She works with Smith Center’s DC Young Adult Cancer Community and is also actively involved in the cancer community through the Young Survival Coalition, Critical Mass, the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates, National Breast Cancer Coalition, and the DC Cancer Action Partnership.

Jennifer Bires

Jennifer Bires, LICSW

Jennifer Bires is a licensed clinical social worker, who works with people affected by cancer. She received her Master’s in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. Jennifer knows how distressing a cancer diagnosis can be for patients and their families. Her goal as an oncology social worker is to help patients and family members adjust to the emotional impact of a diagnosis. Jennifer specializes in working with young adults, caregivers and patients who have advanced disease. She strives to help patients and families maintain a high quality of life in the face of their illness.

Julia Rowland

Julia Rowland, Ph.D.

Julia Rowland, PhD, who joined Smith Center in October 2017, comes to this position as a long-time clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of psychosocial aspects of cancer. She has worked with and conducted competitively funded research among both pediatric and adult cancer survivors and their families, and published broadly in psycho-oncology, including co-editing, along with Dr. Jimmie Holland, the ground-breaking text, Handbook of Psychooncology. She has also been a frequent speaker on cancer survivorship, or life after cancer, for both professional and lay audiences.
Julia received her PhD in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in psychosocial oncology. While at MSKCC, where she held joint appointments in pediatrics and neurology, Julia helped to develop and was the first Director of the Post-Treatment Resource Program, one of the first non-medical survivorship care programs to be offered by a major cancer center in the U.S. In 1990 she moved with her husband and two young children to Washington, DC to become founding Director of the Psycho-Oncology Program at Georgetown University and the Lombardi Cancer Center. There she helped expand services to meet the psychosocial needs of cancer patients and families, launched some of the first quality of life clinical trials, and also introduced a program to enable first-year medical students to learn the art of caring for those living through and beyond cancer from survivors themselves and Lombardi faculty. Nine years later, in September of 1999, she was recruited to the National Cancer Institute to become the first, full-time Director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship, a position in which she served for 18 years, championing the growth of survivorship research and care, before stepping down in September 2017 to assume her new role at Smith Center. Although new to the team, Julia is no stranger to Smith Center. She knew Smith Center’s founder, Barbara Smith Coleman, and has volunteered her expertise across the years as a speaker, group leader and staff member for both the 1-day and weeklong residential retreats. Julia brings to her new role a passion to translate what research has taught us about healing in the context of cancer to the broader community, in essence, taking the science of survivorship from the lab bench to the park bench.

Lauren Broschak

Lauren Broschak, MSW, LICSW, OSW-C

Lauren is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in DC and Virginia. She has both her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Social Work, and has been working in oncology for just over three years. She developed her passion for oncology in Michigan where she worked at Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit supporting those touched by cancer. Since moving to the Metro DC Area she has worked at the GW Cancer Center in Washington, DC and is now an Oncology Clinical Therapist at Life with Cancer in Virginia. Lauren is particularly interested in providing support to the young adult community, and has presented at the Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW) national conference twice regarding young adults. Most recently, she became the Co-Chair of the Adolescent and Young Adult Special Interest Group at AOSW.

Nueva Vida

Nueva Vida is an independent nonprofit that provides free, comprehensive, culturally competent cancer services to medically underserved Latino families in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia (as far south as Prince William County), Suburban Maryland (Montgomery & Prince George’s Counties), Richmond, and Baltimore. Other services include outreach to the Latino community and Patient Navigation for cancer screenings and treatment.

Rachel Ress

Rachel Ress, LGSW

Rachel is a Licensed Social Worker in Washington, DC. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice where she interned at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Rachel joined the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital in 2018. Rachel uses an eclectic approach in providing support and compassion to cancer patients and their families. Her clinical work focuses primarily on the care of patients diagnosed with breast, brain, and lung cancers, and she is passionate about the intersection of chronic illness and mental health.

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