This past year, we have seen incredible growth in AYA program development through collaboration. Hospitals are sharing and learning from one another in an effort to expedite program growth and enhance the services they’re able to provide young people facing cancer. Two of our hospital partners, UC Davis and UCLA, have partnered to further their impact on AYA support and education. We are so encouraged by their creativity and dedication to meeting the needs of their patients and survivors. Check-out the great work they’re doing!
Learn & Lounge is a monthly series meant to empower adolescents and young adults during cancer treatment and beyond.
The series was started in February 2021 in response to feedback from both the UC Davis Health and UCLA Health AYA Advisory Boards. Members of our AYA Advisory Boards expressed a wish for more social events to connect with one another throughout the year, in particular between the annual Pushing Past Cancer Conference co-hosted by UC Davis Health, UCLA Health, and Stupid Cancer. Since the conference is a joint effort of the two UC health systems, it made sense to continue this partnership throughout the year.
The Learn & Lounge usually starts with introductions or an icebreaker that is followed by a short educational session on a topic of interest/relevance to AYA patients and survivors (e.g. program and partner resources, work & career, sexual health, etc.). After the education session there is a social hour for patients/survivors only – no health care professionals allowed! For the social hour, participants need to be over age 18 and to have agreed to privacy and confidentiality standards.
Attendance at Learn & Lounge has ranged from 6-16 participants and initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive (formal evaluation pending). The most highly attended sessions have been those that promised to be the most fun – for example, a recent AirBnB “virtual experience” sponsored by the Northern & Southern chapters of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Post-COVID we may experiment with holding Learn & Lounge in-person in our respective parts of California; however, the value of meeting virtually is that participants can join us from wherever they are – whether in another city or town, in the hospital or out in the backyard.
Having our AYA programs partner together on Learn & Lounge helps to lessen the workload associated with planning and hosting the monthly series and assists in boosting attendance at events. It also strengthens the relationships between our AYA programs and the members of our AYA Advisory Boards, and with other organizational partners who contribute to the series. We hope that Learn & Lounge will continue to grow and be a resource in building an AYA cancer community that is accessible and supportive of all AYA patients, survivors, caregivers and partners.
We look forward to our Learn & Lounge events on Medical Marijuana and Career Coaching/Goal Setting later this summer! For more information please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or JPLeavitt@mednet.ucla.edu