2024 AAHPM Emerging Leader Christine Khandelwal, DO MHPE HMDC FAAHPM

Christine Khandelwal, DO MHPE HMDC FAAHPM Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine

AAHPM reached out to the 2024 Emerging Leaders to gain insight into what motivated them to pursue leadership positions and what they find more fulfilling in their experiences. Christine Khandelwal, DO MHPE HMDC FAAHPM has been recognized as one of the exceptional individuals chosen as a 2024 AAHPM Emerging Leader in Hospice and Palliative Care.

Who has most influenced your work and how have they shaped your contributions?
When I reflect on the past years working in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, there are numerous colleagues who have influenced my work and shaped my contributions along the way. The most significant leaders which influenced my work and contributions are Dr. Bethany Snider, Dr. Katie Neuendorf, Dr. Sandra Gomez, and Dr. Karen Bullock. These AAHPM leaders have each provided me with new skills and knowledge to be a better physician, educator, and emerging leader in our field of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Most importantly, the most important people who have not only shaped my contributions in Hospice and Palliative Medicine but continue to inspire me to serve in our field of medicine, are the patients and caregivers I care for every day. Aside from ensuring I can provide good quality of care; it is in advocacy that drives my passion to continue to make the most impactful contributions and influences me to continue to do the hard work it takes to do well for those we treat.

What is the significance to you of being recognized as a “Emerging Leader” in Hospice and Palliative Medicine?
One of the highest honors of my career is being recognized as an Emerging Leader in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. While I am honored and humbled to be recognized with this prestigious award, I reflect on the guidance and support I have had from my amazing colleagues and mentors who have inspired me all these years practicing in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. In retrospect, although I appreciate the goals I have accomplished serving as a leader- whether for my team, my organization, or my healthcare system- I also acknowledge my failures. In my experiences, I have learned that true leadership cannot be assigned or appointed, nor is it a formal title, but rather it comes from influencing and building relationships with others. To be recognized as an AAHPM Emerging Leader validates this idea that as HPM clinicians, we all have the potential to lead in our respective roles, regardless of our formal titles, practice sites or sizes. In being recognized as an Emerging Leader, I am aware of the great responsibility to continue to serve and give back within our field of medicine. For my colleagues questioning your place as a leader within HPM, you already have the skills it takes to serve just by the nature of the work you do every day. Remain curious and compassionate, not just for your patients, but also towards your stakeholders and collaborative partners, for they too need guidance from us on how to do well for those with serious illnesses.

What is your aspiration for the evolution of hospice and Palliative Medicine?
I recognize and acknowledge the giants of our field have brought us to this inflection point where we should no longer feel we need to demonstrate our value in caring for patients with serious illness, but instead, feel empowered to take the lead to develop new and innovative ways to care for our patients in better ways. For me, I am committed and aspire to tackle these challenging issues: 1. The shortage of an inadequately trained workforce will negatively affect the quality of the PC services provided to patients with serious illnesses. I am committed to developing collaborative models of care with other providers to expand our service reaches within our own communities through educational support and program development. 2.           There is poor accessibility and availability of opioids for our patients due to: opioid medication shortages, outdated policies that discourage access, and potential penalties due to confusing legislative changes in prescribing. The current state of opioid prescribing challenges brings the potential risk of limitations of other useful medications for our patients in the future. I am committed to challenging these impediments to ensure we can continue to provide good quality of care for our patients. 3.              There is a shortage of funding and lack of a comprehensive national plan on implementing PC to patients with serious illnesses. I am committed to proactively engage with stakeholders in the healthcare industry to make changes on a national level.

Learn more about the AAHPM 2024 Emerging Leaders in Hospice and Palliative Care and view a full list of all current and past Emerging Leaders.

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