Denise Perez, Clinical Oncology Social Worker

Denise Perez, LCSW

Clinical Oncology Social Worker


As a clinical oncology social worker at the UCLA Simms Mann Center for Integrative Oncology, my responsibilities encompass a wide range of crucial support functions. I provide emotional and psychosocial support to individuals and their families facing the challenges of cancer, offering a compassionate and understanding presence during a difficult journey. This involves conducting assessments to identify patient’s unique needs and connecting patients with appropriate resources. Overall, my goal is to help enhance the overall well-being for those affected by cancer at the UCLA Simms Mann Center.

Training and Professional Experience

My academic journey started at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), where I earned my Bachelor's degree in Sociology and later earned my Masters in Social Work. Throughout my education, I engaged in internships at diverse organizations, exposing me to various facets of social work. Notably, I interned at the Alzheimer's Association, the Council on Aging of Orange County, and OC’s Older Adult Services County Program. These experiences afforded me the opportunity to interact with social workers from different disciplines and witness the profound impact they had on individuals and communities of which solidified my passion of social work. 

In my professional journey, I have garnered extensive experience in the field of social work within two distinct medical settings, including Optum Medical Group as a Medical Social Worker. During my time at Optum, I had the privilege of working across various specialized programs, enhancing the breadth of my social work expertise. Immersing myself in the Palliative Care unit, I cultivated skills in providing compassionate support to individuals facing serious illnesses, offering them comfort and assistance in navigating complex healthcare decisions. Additionally, my involvement in the Behavioral Health Program allowed me to address the intersection of mental health and medical conditions, contributing to the holistic well-being of patients. Furthermore, my engagement in the Post-Acute Program equipped me with a nuanced understanding of the challenges individuals face post-hospitalization. These diverse experiences have not only helped me broaden my skill set but have also reinforced my commitment to delivering comprehensive and person-centered care as a clinical social worker with the UCLA Simms Mann Center.

Personal Interests

I find joy in spending quality time with my family and friends. Music serves as my therapeutic escape, providing solace and inspiration during both challenging and joyous times. I am passionate about exploring diverse cultures through travel and cuisine. Whether it's savoring new dishes or immersing myself in the traditions of a different locale, the experience of learning about cultures through their unique flavors and customs brings me a deep sense of fulfillment and allows me to better understand the world.