Let me begin my first blog post as AAHPM President with a sincere hope that you are finding ways to stay safe and well in your mind, body, and spirit. I never imagined we would be starting 2020 in such a way. As we learn every day that this crisis is unprecedented, I find that I’m filled with anxiety, grief, and sadness; however, I have also found much to reflect upon, be grateful for, and be optimistic about.
Our lives have been upended in every way imaginable – from our professional roles, to our family responsibilities, to our daily routines, to our usual means of recharging, and to the many ways in which we connect. Not surprisingly, the ways that we celebrate, discover, recover, learn, worship, and mourn are all likely forever changed.
During the many hours I’ve reflected over the past few weeks, I recalled my job prior to medical school as a lab assistant working with two researchers – one focused on Influenza A and the other on what was then called “HTLV III,” later known as HIV. That was more than 30 years ago, but what was to come from those days has resonated with me today. The Medicare Hospice benefit was less than 10 years old, but it was the hospice community that stepped up to care for those early patients in caring, heroic ways.
The response to this crisis from our palliative care and hospice community has already been remarkable. Our teams are being called in to help in ways that can be overwhelming and challenging on so many levels. But what is clear is that our role as healers is as important as ever. I have said many times that I view palliative medicine as the specialty that is restoring the “Art of Healing” to the “Science of Curing.” Today we have no cure, but we still go forward. I am grateful for each of you, our Academy staff, our healthcare workers in all disciplines, and our patients and families who now need to trust us in ways we could never imagine.
While reflective and filled with gratitude, I am also optimistic that through your resilience in the many communities in which we occupy, we will prevail. AAHPM is actively promoting our connectedness through Connect, our online community platform, adapting our educational content, protecting our learners, and vigorously advocating for policies that ensure our patients and the healthcare system is at the center. We are grateful for all of your sharing and support for each other. We will continue to strive to curate the most pertinent content for our members.
This Academy is strong because of the interprofessional membership, the leaders past and present, the partners that we have in the Coalition, and the patients to whom we serve. While our tactics and priorities may evolve, our mission, vision and core values will remain the same:
AAHPM advances hospice and palliative medicine through enhancing learning, cultivating knowledge and innovation, strengthening workforce and advocating for public policy to achieve our vision.
All patients, families and caregivers who need it will have access to high-quality hospice and palliative care.
Respect for Person- and Family-Centered Care
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Creative and Ethical Leadership
Again, on behalf of myself, the AAHPM Board of Directors, and the staff, we appreciate all you are doing in this chaotic time. We will continue to stay connected and I find peace in knowing that our role as healers is unwavering and resolute.