On March 27th, Cancer and Careers held it’s first-ever virtual conference – and it was a huge success! The 7th annual Midwest Conference on Work & Cancer was scheduled to be held in Chicago at Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital, but due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), they made the decision not to host any external events. With less than a month to the conference date, we weighed our options and decided to not cancel but host it virtually, which was a great choice!
Almost 300 people joined us online – the largest turnout of any of our regional conferences. Although it’s impossible to replicate the magic of having our community convene and connect in-person (in one of our favorite cities), the day was still filled with a ton of interactive opportunities. From the integration of live polls to gauge our audience's understanding of the content and a Q&A feature for questions and responses in real-time to a chat box where attendees could check-in and offer feedback, we found ways to keep everyone interested and engaged throughout the day.
Cancer patients, survivors, healthcare professionals, caregivers and HR professionals tuned in to learn about disclosure and privacy, working through treatment, returning to work and health insurance. We were also lucky to have a session with psychotherapist Julie Larson, LCSW, to discuss ways to manage long-term stress – a topic that was even more applicable during this challenging and uncertain time.
We were also inspired by encouraging feedback during and post-event. One attendee commented in the chat box, “Thank you all for this excellent workshop! I am finding it chock full of valuable information that will be truly helpful in my role as an oncology social worker. Kudos to you all for making it available virtually!”
We’re already looking forward to next year’s conference. We can’t wait for the chance to reconnect with our community in Chicago in spring 2021! Until then, please continue to take care of yourselves and each other.
This event would not have been possible without the support of our incredible sponsors and our six community partners who helped spread the word to their communities.
Gilda's Club Chicago, Imerman Angels, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Stupid Cancer, Susan G. Komen Chicago, Triage Cancer, True North Treks, Wellness House for Living with Cancer