Alliance for Quality Psychosocial Cancer Care

IOM Report Cancer Care for the Whole Patient

In October 2007 the IOM released a report, Cancer Care for the Whole Patient, that included ten recommendations mandating changes in the delivery of quality cancer care to include psychosocial services.1 The report was prepared by a 16 member panel with expertise in oncology, health care delivery, workforce education and training, psychology, psychiatry, primary care, nursing, health services research, patient-provider communication, chronic illness care, social work, managed care, and gerontology. Based on an extensive review, the panel concluded that there is enough evidence to support a standard of care for the delivery of psychosocial health services in cancer care. The standard of care states that all cancer care should ensure the provision of appropriate psychosocial health services by (a) facilitating effective communication between patients and care providers; (b) identifying each patient's psychosocial needs; (c) designing and implementing a plan that links the patient with needed psychosocial services, coordinates biomedical and psychosocial care, and engages and supports patients in managing their illness and health; and (d) systematically following up on, re-evaluating and adjusting this plan.

Creating the Alliance for Quality Psychosocial Cancer Care: Implementation of the IOM Report Cancer Care for the Whole Patient

The Alliance was formed in the late fall of 2008 as coalition of professional and advocacy organizations engaged in psychosocial cancer care issues. The primary goal of the Alliance is to implement recommendations from the IOM report. A Steering Committee comprised of founding members of the Alliance was formed to develop the structure and governance, and provide oversight for Alliance activities.

Vision Statement:

To ensure psychosocial care is integrated into the medical standard of care for people with cancer


  1. To convene key stakeholders committed to implementing the recommendations of the IOM report “Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs.”
  2. To inform and educate key audiences that quality psychosocial care is critical to optimal clinical outcomes for people affected by cancer
  3. To advocate policies to ensure that all patients are screened and have access to quality psychosocial care
  4. To advance translational research and standards of care in psychosocial oncology

Role of the Alliance:

  1. To serve as a facilitator by convening stakeholders (members) to create and sustain momentum  for individual organizations to implement recommendations from the IOM report
  2. To organize and keep members informed of activities among other organizations to facilitate collaboration when appropriate and to avoid duplication whenever possible
  3. To develop key messages regarding quality psychosocial cancer care as a standard, and coordinate consistent delivery of messages by member organizations
  4. To formulate policy statements and other appropriate materials for member endorsement to ensure consistent messages to help influence legislative, regulatory, standards-setting, and other policy
  5. To inform members of potential funding opportunities that will facilitate integration of psychosocial services as the standard of care

Member Organization Roles:

  1. To serve as drivers, advocates and leaders in implementation of the standard of care based on their respective expertise, organizational position, etc.
  2. To actively participate in one of the Alliance Committees
  3. Develop specific projects/initiatives for which they are uniquely positioned to develop and fund
  4. Seek partnership/collaboration from Alliance when appropriate
  5. Deliver messages as developed by the Alliance

Volunteer Co-Chairs guide the activities of the Alliance.  Co-Chairs represent the key constituencies of Alliance member organizations – community services, clinical care, advocacy, and research.  Current Co-Chairs are Ruth McCorkle, Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center and Kim Thiboldeaux, Cancer Support Community.

Alliance activities are facilitated by three Committees:

  • Education and Awareness
  • Public Policy and Advocacy
  • Best Practices


Alliance member organizations are listed. We encourage you to revisit this page as more information about Alliance efforts is posted. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact Julie Taylor at [email protected] For a comprehensive listing of psychosocial resources available to patients and families nationally and locally, please visit


  • UPDATED March 2017: A Resource Guide for CoC-Accredited Facilities: Meeting the Commission on Cancer Patient-Centered Standards and Best Practices: Examples of Resources Used by Cancer Centers

    This guide is a compilation of services, programs and tools available across the country to help CoC-accredited organizations meet Standards 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3. The guide is comprised of local, regional and national resources from Alliance member organizations. The Resource Guide includes a Best Practices component providing examples of resources used by cancer centers and other organizations as shared by Alliance member organizations.

  • American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, Cancer Program Standards 2016: Ensuring Patient-Centered Care


1 Institute of Medicine. 2008. Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs. Washington, DC. National Academies Press.

Alliance for Quality Psychosocial Cancer Care Members