This post is from one of the Inspiring Hospice and Palliative Medicine Leaders Under 40. Patrick White, MD, was selected based on his involvement in AAHPM, educating others about hospice and palliative medicine, participation in charitable work, and mentoring of students or residents. Each honoree was then asked who inspired him over the course of his career. We are sharing some of his answers in this post. Check back regularly for posts from other leaders.
Who has most influenced your work in hospice and palliative medicine and what impact has he or she had?
The two most important influences in my career in hospice and palliative are Bob Arnold and Rudolph Navari. Dr. Navari introduced me to hospice and demonstrated the importance of incorporating palliative care techniques into his own oncology practice to provide his patients with the best quality of life possible. As an expert in antiemetic therapy, he taught me the importance of evidence-based symptom management and fostered my interest in academic medicine. Bob Arnold has been invaluable to my growth in the hospice field. He has been an amazing role-model and mentor who has provided me with many unique opportunities including participation in an NIH training grant, state-of-the-art training in communications, and the opportunity to help lead one of the best academic hospices in the country. This paragraph cannot do justice to how much I have learned from Bob during the hundreds of hours we have spent in mentoring meetings. I also think that one of the aspects of hospice and palliative care that differentiates us from other fields, is that our most distinguished leaders are so altruistic with their time. In addition to Drs. Rudolph and Navari, I have been very grateful to have received help from many other experts, including Drs. Janet Bull and Jean Kutner. Finally, I must acknowledge much of my clinical expertise has benefitted from the experience of hundreds of extremely patient and dedicated nurses at each of the centers where I have trained.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope to be the Chief Medical Officer at an academic hospice that is a leader in integrating hospice and palliative medicine throughout an entire health system. The current delivery of end-of-life care can be so fragmented that patients and caregivers lack the support they deserve. I hope to be a leader in a system that embraces the need to build a seamless continuum of care, where providers work collaboratively further upstream to provide patients and caregivers with the knowledge, support, and resources they need. I hope my research background will enable me to demonstrate with data, the outcomes that a health system leadership team will value in promoting better integration of hospice and palliative care. I would love to find creative ways to better support caregivers and work with the Academy to change the way we view dying in America.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I think the best advice came from my colleague and friend, Dr. Christopher Hughes. While I was trying to learn more about management, he paraphrased Paul O’Neil, who said “An organization with the potential for greatness must have each employee answer three questions: 1) Did they get treated with dignity and respect by every employee they encountered; 2) Were they given the knowledge, tools, and support they needed to make a meaningful contribution at work; and 3) Did somebody notice their contribution.” In hospice, it can be easy to forget what a huge contribution each nurse, certified nursing assistant, chaplain, and social worker makes to the organization and clients, daily. Our goal and challenge is to create an organization where the majority of our team can answer “yes” to these questions every day.