Message from the Chair and Executive Director

2020; Volume 21, No 4, April

Message from the Chair and Executive Director

Hello Readers,

We hope that everyone reading this column, their friends, and loved ones, are well and safe.

The size and scale of the COVID-19 pandemic is testing all countries’ health care systems as this dynamic situation changes at an increasing pace. We recognize the incredible challenge that health care systems and institutions face as health care workers heroically provide care to patients around the globe. On behalf of our board of directors, we thank all those who are on the front line, working to improve the well-being of thousands of patients.

As we find ourselves confronting a pandemic that is keeping many of us away from our loved ones, our friends, and our colleagues, we are hearing more calls for palliative care more readily available in communities, health centers, and large hospitals where many patients and family members need to be cared for and supported.

As a mission-driven organization, we are committed to helping the global palliative care community stay informed and keep health care staff and their patients safe. To that end we have set up a web page containing a list of tools and resources to support decision makers, providers, and civil society organizations. The situation is changing rapidly, and recommendations are changing with similar speed, therefore this list only has links to online resources — it does not publish content. This serves two purposes: a link to the resource ensures that if recommendations are updated, readers can access the latest information, and it will help increase traffic to the websites. We will continue to update this list with useful resources and guidance relevant to palliative care as we continue to navigate through this pandemic.

We are working with our sister global palliative care organizations — the International Childrens’ Palliative Care Network (ICPCN), the Palliative Care in Humanitarian Aid Situations and Emergencies network (PalCHASE), and the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA) — to develop a series of “Briefing Notes on Palliative Care & COVID-19” in the global context. This content will be presented in a series of webinars hosted by WHPCA. Stay tuned for more information.

In the midst of this challenging times, we have some good news!

Last month, an article titled “Global Advocacy: Why Does It Matter?” coauthored by IAHPC Advocacy Officer Katherine Pettus and Liliana, was published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine as open access (anyone can read and download). The article highlights the importance of global advocacy and provides information on the international legal framework as well as the distinction between advocacy and lobbying, which many still confuse.

Also, we welcomed Dr. Felicia Knaul, Director of the Institute of the Americas at the University of Miami, to the IAHPC Board. Felicia is a highly qualified global health expert and a recognized leader in the field of health economics and health systems analysis, and we are extremely fortunate to have her join us. She is the leading author of the Lancet report for its Commission on Palliative Care and Pain Relief, and in her tenure with the board will continue working closely with Liliana and Katherine to implement the report’s recommendations. On another positive note, Professor Julia Downing completed her term on the board and was not eligible for re-election after two consecutive terms. Given her expertise and commitment to the field, Lukas invited her to serve as an adviser to the board and she has kindly accepted. We are both very grateful to Felicia and Julia for accepting our invitation to serve in their new roles, and very lucky to have these two extraordinary women continue working with us. We look forward to exciting opportunities.

Finally, our 2019 Annual Report has been published and uploaded to our website. We tried to make it brief, fun, interesting, and easy to read. Many thanks to all the individuals, organizations, and institutions that continue to support our work.

Please keep safe, and until next month,
Lukas and Liliana

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