New cancer support program is funded by our parent company’s non-profit foundation
Workplace Transitions for People Touched by Cancer is testing a pilot program in Indianapolis with our parent company and several other businesses. The program is intended to support employers and their employees’ healthy and productive return to work after a cancer diagnosis. The goal is to offer the program as a free resource to all employers next year, after it has been tested.
The Workplace Transitions for People Touched by Cancer program is a collaboration among the U.S. Business Leadership Network, Cancer and Careers, Pfizer, our parent company, and SEDL, a nonprofit educational research firm, and is funded by a $250,000 grant from our parent company’s non-profit foundation.
Six businesses – Ernst & Young, Merck, North American Mission Board, Northrop Grumman, Verizon, along with our parent company – are participating in the pilot.
“Returning to work after being diagnosed with cancer or undergoing cancer treatment can be psychologically and physically challenging. It often brings mixed emotions of fear, relief, and hope,” said Dr. Sam Nussbaum, our chief medical officer. “Addressing a cancer patient’s psychosocial concerns, which includes transitioning back to work, can help improve their health and quality of life. This pilot is focused on providing tools to help businesses ensure a healthy and productive work environment for their employees’ following a cancer diagnosis, and help ensure that individuals feel comfortable returning to work.”
Nearly 80 percent of people diagnosed with cancer say continuing work after diagnosis aids recovery, according to a 2013 survey from Cancer and Careers and Harris Interactive. Still, just as many respondents said they struggle to find the support they need to balance work life and everyday life with cancer.
A recent survey of 188 employers conducted by our parent company discovered that only 15 percent of managers believed they had the tools and resources they needed to support employees in a cancer situation.
Sometimes the easiest solutions for people diagnosed with cancer is about making adjustments in work accommodations. It can be something as simple as shifting an office location for someone who is nauseated after chemotherapy by the smell of the adjacent cafeteria. Or, it can be adding a printer to the desk of an employee with cancer who is too fatigued to climb up several floors to a shared printer.
Workplace Transitions for People Touched by Cancer gives managers and their human resources staff members a web-enabled toolkit with useful guidance on handling situations that come up when someone on their team is diagnosed with cancer. This includes tips on how to talk to someone who has just been diagnosed.
The toolkit also makes employers aware of the law about employees with disabilities, which sometimes can include cancer. The toolkit helps them understand their role in supporting the employee.
Part of the pilot program is to measure how well this toolkit meets its intended goal as a resource for employers. Cancer is not a one-size-fits-all experience for anyone. Every case is different. And it’s important to research and find the best ways to help support employers and their employees’ productive return to the workforce.
Read the full press release for more details.