2024 AAHPM Emerging Leader Jennifer M. Barker, DO FAAHPM

Jennifer M. Barker, DO FAAHPM Program Director, University of California San Diego

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. Jennifer M. Barker, DO 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?
There have been several remarkable individuals who have greatly influenced my career journey. Among them, I am grateful for the guidance and mentorship of Dr. Sandra Sanchez-Reilly and Dr. Jeanette Ross from the University of Texas Health San Antonio. Their influence has cultivated in me a deep desire to actively contribute to our field. This includes advocating for interdisciplinary support, engaging in research and quality improvement initiatives, fostering leadership in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and ensuring that more patients and their families have access to the benefits of palliative care. Inspired by my mother, Joyce Duff, DDS, who has been a driving force in my life, I have learned that anything is possible if you truly desire it. After devoting her time to raising her children, my mother pursued her dream of becoming a dentist, showing me the importance of never giving up on your aspirations. I have embraced her motto and followed in her footsteps, pursuing my own dreams and aspirations later in life.

What is the significance to you of being recognized as a “Emerging Leader” in Hospice and Palliative Medicine?
I am truly honored to be recognized as an Emerging Leader in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. This award motivates me to further my passion to expand Palliative Care earlier in the disease process for our patients and their families. Looking at those who have previously received this award, I see I have some big shoes to fill and yet my cup is feeling full again with renewed inspiration and drive. I often say and truly mean it: “I love my job. It’s that best job in the world and thank you to those who influenced and inspired me to take this path”.

What is your aspiration for the evolution of hospice and Palliative Medicine?
My aspiration for the evolution of Hospice and Palliative Medicine is to see more patients and their families receive the support, communication, and symptom management that palliative care provides. I see this happening through the education and promotion of EARLY Palliative Care, increasing access to outpatient Palliative Care interdisciplinary teams, and training future HPM specialists from all disciplines. It is my aspiration that palliative care begins earlier in a patient’s disease course. So early that patients and their families have the amazing support that Palliative Care provides over the course of years…from diagnosis to death and beyond.

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

Leave a Comment