30 Visionaries in Hospice and Palliative Medicine Recognized
October 9, 2013 11:47 AM
Physicians, nurses, authors and a past president of the United States were voted the top 30 Visionaries in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, as the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) celebrates 25 years.
The Academy commemorated its anniversary by asking its 5,000 members to nominate who they consider to be the most influential leader in hospice and palliative care, then vote for the top 10 among the 106 submitted by their colleagues. The Academy was founded with 250 members in 1988 as the Academy of Hospice Physicians and was renamed the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine in the late 1990s to reflect the evolving specialty.
“This program recognizes key individuals who have been critical in building and shaping our field over the past 25 years, noted Steve R. Smith, AAHPM executive director and CEO. “These individuals represent thousands of other healthcare professionals in this country who provide quality medical care and support for those living with serious illness – each and every day.”
Most of the Visionaries – 14 women and 16 men – are physicians, including nine Academy presidents. But several nurses were named, along with hospice pioneers such as British physician, nurse and social worker Cicely Saunders, credited with starting the modern hospice movement, and Elisabeth Kübler Ross, author of numerous books including the groundbreaking “On Death and Dying.” Five elected officials were nominated and one of them, former President Ronald Reagan, was named a Visionary for signing into law the Medicare hospice benefit in 1982.
“NAHC’s Hospice Association of America applauds the efforts of AAHPM and its membership to identify individuals who have truly served as trailblazers for the hospice and palliative care movement in this country,” said Theresa Forster, Vice President for Hospice Policy & Programs at National Association for Home Care & Hospice. “Each of these honorees has played a significant role in transforming hospice from a small, localized movement to the force that it is today. It is only appropriate during this time of significant change in hospice that these extraordinary people are recognized and honored for their contributions.”
There were nurses who started hospice programs in their own homes, physicians who pushed for legislation to make medication more available to patients in pain, and physicians and others who worked to make palliative care available to patients who are suffering but not yet ready for hospice care.
For a full list of the top 30 Hospice and Palliative Medicine Visionaries, please click here.