Message from the Chair and Executive Director

2014; Volume 15, No 4, April

Message from the Chair and Executive Director

Dear Readers:

Happy Birthday!

This issue marks the 18th Anniversary of the IAHPC Newsletter!

We are very proud of our Newsletter, but most of all we appreciate the work of those who have contributed for so many years to the content and made possible our monthly publication.

The Newsletter has proven to be a wonderful tool to disseminate a broad range of information and increase awareness about hospice and palliative care around the world and has served as a tool for many of you to learn about new developments, events and also to bring attention to your own programs, the challenges that many of you face and the progress that thousands have been able to achieve.

We also thank the many contributors and board members who have supplied us with outstanding content each month. We especially thank Doctor William Farr for his dedication during the past 17 years as editor, Dr. Roberto Wenk for the general editing and layout, Dr. Roger Woodruff for his monthly book reviews, Dr. Katherine Pettus for her policy piece and Dr. Carla Ripamonti for her articles of the month. Many thanks as well to our members and readers who submit news and articles about their efforts and developments in their countries.

Thanks also to our webmaster, Danilo Fritzler for his excellent work in setting and distribution of the Newsletter. Each month Danilo receives the NL from Bill, transforms it into an electronic file, creates a text version and a web version and sends it to nearly 8,000 subscribers!

Please remember that we accept articles for our publication that describe your progress and the programs that you are implementing in your countries, as well as news from your region. Your articles enrich our newsletter and are a crucial part of our mission to facilitate communication.

VII Congress of the Latin American Association for Palliative Care

During last month we participated in the VII Congress of the Latin American Association for Palliative Care (ALCP) in Medellin, Colombia. IAHPC supported several speakers and participants to the congress through our Traveling Scholarship program. More than 500 participants from all countries in Latin America participated. Hearty congratulations to the congress organizers for a great event. Below are some pictures taken in the IAHPC stand. Many thanks to all those who stopped by and became members of IAHPC during the congress – we look forward to our collaboration to advance palliative care in the region.

Both of us presented plenaries and participated in several sessions. Below, see Lukas giving one of his plenaries.

In addition, during our stay in Colombia we also visited the Palliative Care Program at the National Cancer Institute and the Fondo Nacional de Estupefacientes (FNE), the national distribution center for opioid medications in the country. It was great to learn more how the FNE is working to improve the availability of medications in Colombia.

From l to r: Dr. Carlos Rodriguez, Mr. Diederik Lohman from Human Rights Watch, Liliana and Dr. Claudia Agamez at the palliative care unit in the NCI in Bogota
From l to r: Doctors Tania Pastrana and Roberto Wenk with Dr. Alba Rocio Rueda, Director of the FNE and the chief of the FNE deposit.

Along with Dr. Emilio Herrera from Newhealth Foundation, Roberto and Liliana also visited the hospice Presentes in Bogota, the only inpatient palliative care unit at the primary level, in a city of more than 8 million inhabitants. Below is a picture of some of the members of the multidisciplinary group, including physicians, nurses, psychologists and priests.

Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND)

IAHPC sponsored with the International Doctors for Healthier Drug Policies a side event during the 57th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (NCD) in Vienna last month that was hosted by the Republic of Lithuania. Dr. James Cleary, director of the Pain and Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin and a member of the IAHPC board, presented the problems related to access to medicines for the relief of suffering in countries throughout the world. Dr. Katherine Pettus’ policy piece in this issue includes a description of this and another side event as well as a summary and reflection on the outcomes of the CND.

New website

As you are now aware, we have launched a new website.

Based on the recommendations from the members of the website working group during the strategic plan discussions, we will be launching a new website for IAHPC this coming weekend. The new design follows the same central architecture of our current website but provides better security and easier of access. This design allows for easier navigation and we expect it will attract more people.

We tried to make it "more personal" with added pictures so that it is more active and friendly than the current design. The pictures and topics will vary from time to time. In addition, this new design is adaptable to smart phones and tablets while our current one is not.

We also hope that you like it as much as we do!

We are very proud to be able to support the development of global palliative care with products, resources and programs such as these. Please help us continue our efforts to achieve our mission, by donating to IAHPC. Donations can be made online through our website at or by contacting the IAHPC office at

Until next month,

Lukas Radbruch, MD

Liliana De Lima, MHA
Executive Director

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