International conference will examine couples’ coping

An international conference in Louisville June 21 will focus on how couples cope with the stresses that cancer brings.

The downtown conference, “Couples Coping with Cancer-related Stress: Translating Research into Practice,” will run from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Jewish Hospital’s Rudd Heart & Lung Conference Center, 201 Abraham Flexner Way, with a reception afterward at the Frazier History Museum. Sponsors are UofL’s Kent School of Social Work and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at UofL, a partner of KentuckyOne Health.

Researchers from Europe, North America and Australia will talk about coping throughout the disease’s course, coping with diverse types of cancer, ways to promote resilience of couples facing cancer, and translating research into practical ways to help such couples.

The sessions are intended for psychologists, social workers, physicians, nurses, couples and family therapists, researchers who work with cancer patients and their families, and other supportive-care providers who help them adjust to living with the many effects of the illness.

“There’s a very high relationship between how a patient is coping with illness and how the partner is coping,” said Karen Kayser, UofL’s Renato LaRocca chair in oncology social work.

“People are often at a loss in how to support someone with a serious or chronic illness,” she said. “And the partner’s or relative’s own stress can be overlooked during the cancer experience.”

Registration is recommended by May 31 at a cost of $60 (or $75 with social work continuing education unit certification). Registration includes lunch, refreshments and a reception.

There also is a preconference course for clinicians from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. June 20 in Ekstrom Library’s Chao Auditorium on UofL’s Belknap Campus. The Kentucky Association for Marriage and Family Therapy is sponsoring the workshop with Guy Bodenmann, founder of Couples Coping Enhancement Training. For more information, contact


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