Managing the growth of a young Survivorship Program
Emily Jo Rajotte, manager for the Survivorship Program, says she’s always having to think outside the box – because when it comes to serving cancer survivors, there IS no box.
“It’s a new field, survivorship research and clinical services, so we are rapidly growing and changing,” she said. “What we do is driven by what cancer survivors need. They should be – and are – demanding more.”
Rajotte began her work with the Center in 2005, helping the Survivorship Program’s first director, Dr. Debra Friedman, apply for a grant from the Lance Armstrong Foundation. When those funds came through, Friedman asked Rajotte to manage the program.
From writing grant applications to launching new clinical services to collaborating with other organizations, Rajotte has tackled every task necessary to grow the program. Along the way she earned her master’s in public health from the University of Washington and has dedicated herself to helping survivors learn how to manage cancer as a chronic illness.
“We never really know what’s going to be successful or what’s going to require more resources,” she said. An example of a survivorship initiative that grew by leaps and bounds is “Exercise & Thrive,” the program’s exercise partnership with the YMCA, which started in Seattle but expanded to other regional Y organizations. A program coordinator, Joli Bartell, was hired to handle that partnership, allowing Rajotte to focus on new areas of growth, including support of research.
“No two days look alike – that’s one of the things I like best. It means I’m never just going through the motions of my job,” she said.