Lauren Ashley Richard-Holt ’11, M.S.W. ’12 brings care and support to those battling cancer.
When asked what they want to be when they grow up, most children have a dream job in mind, usually something along the lines of firefighter, doctor, teacher or rock star. But Lauren Ashley Richard-Holt ’11, M.S.W. ’12, had something very different in mind.
“Since I was a young girl, I always wanted to work with people who have cancer, because they teach you about life,” she said.
After graduating from Suffolk County Community College in 2009 with an associate degree in human services, Richard-Holt decided to follow her childhood dream and pursue her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work at Adelphi’s Hauppauge Education and Conference Center.
During her study, Richard-Holt interned at Stony Brook University Hospital in the mother-baby unit. She was hired as a full-time employee just after graduation. Richard-Holt currently works at Stony Brook Cancer Center as the pediatric and adult oncology social worker. She assists people in adapting to their diagnoses, runs support groups for patients, helps determine eligibility for insurance and links patients to services.
In addition to her job at the Cancer Center, Richard-Holt works part time as an individual therapist at a social service organization, Family Service League, where she helps clients manage their chronic anxiety and/or depression. “My clients and I work together, and we get what they need so they can continue living a healthy life,” she said.
Richard-Holt has a lot of career goals and future plans on her mind. Besides improving the services given at the Cancer Center, she plans to enroll in the School of Social Work Ph.D. program and eventually share her knowledge with the next generation of social workers.
Richard-Holt claims that the medical social work field has plenty of opportunities—and lots of room for improvement.
“I think that we, as a country, have a long way to go,” she said. “Obamacare has been beneficial to many of the patients that I have at the Cancer Center,” Richard-Holt said. “But I also think that there are a lot of improvements that can be made to the system to better help more people.”