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May 1, 2014

UVA Cancer Center wins online vote for LIVESTRONG® grant

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University of Virginia Cancer Center is one of 13 recipients of a LIVESTRONG® Foundation grant for training to help staff members cope with the stress of caring for cancer patients.

UVA earned the $10,700 grant through a national online vote held earlier this year by the LIVESTRONG Foundation, which focuses on improving the lives of cancer patients.

“By addressing our healers’ needs, we will provide even better, more compassionate care to our patients,” said Melissa Grossman, grant and outreach coordinator for UVA Cancer Center.

Building Resiliency in Caregivers

UVA will use the grant for the VitalHearts Secondary Trauma Resiliency Training Program to help cancer care providers better manage the stress that comes with their efforts to help others. Some care providers develop secondary traumatic stress disorder, whose symptoms can include depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and a shift from optimism to helplessness.  

“Our hardworking UVA Cancer Center staff face emotionally challenging situations each and every day at work. In doing this crucial work, the personal consequences are often severe,” said Grossman. “Secondary trauma, if not addressed, can lead to diminished care provider effectiveness, create compassion fatigue and cause care providers to leave their jobs.”  

The three-day VitalHearts training session is designed to help cancer center staff examine and change how they approach caregiving to reduce stress reactions, according to the LIVESTRONG website.  

Based on evaluations of previous VitalHearts training, LIVESTRONG said, more 95 percent of trainees have had fewer secondary traumatic stress reactions.

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