Message from the Chair and Executive Director

2020; Volume 21, No 7, July

Message from the Chair and Executive Director

Dear Readers:

This month we have a few updates and some important news:

Palliative Care Chat Podcast: As we announced in the June Newsletter, together with Drs. Felicia Knaul (IAHPC board member), Cornelis de Joncheere, and Afsan Bhadelia, we recently published a commentary called “The key role of palliative care in response to the COVID-19 tsunami of suffering.” In this commentary we suggest immediate and long-term strategies to expand palliative care service delivery during and after the pandemic. Immediate strategies include: 1) Optimize cooperation and coordination of all actors, 2) Preserve the continuity of care, 3) Enhance social support, and 4) Assess emerging needs. Long-term strategies include: 1) Expand palliative care education in health curricula and clergy training, and 2) Establish standard and resource-stratified palliative care guidelines and protocols for different stages of a pandemic.

Based on this commentary, Dr. Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD — University of Maryland School of Pharmacy professor and executive director of advanced post-graduate education in palliative care and executive program director of the online Master of Science and Graduate Certificates in Palliative Care, as well as an IAHPC Lifetime Member — invited the four of us to participate in a podcast to discuss the commentary and the global situation on palliative care and COVID-19 in her “Palliative Care Chat.” Palliative Care Chat is a podcast series, hosted by Dr. McPherson, where you can hear experts from different backgrounds talk about challenges and solutions to advance palliative care.

Global Palliative Care and COVID-19 Series: In collaboration with the other global palliative care organizations — the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN), the Palliative Care in Humanitarian Aid Situations and Emergencies network (PalCHASE), and the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA) — we are continuing the Global Palliative Care and COVID-19 series, consisting of briefing notes and webinars. The briefing notes are available on the website and the webinars are stored on the WHPCA website. [For a synopsis of recent webinars and their briefing notes, see IAHPC News.]

Global Leaders in the Advancement of Palliative Care (GLAD) Program: We recently announced the Global Leaders in the Advancement of Palliative Care (GLAD) Program. The IAHPC News section begins with a copy of the announcement, including criteria and instructions on how to apply. We encourage palliative care leaders in low- and middle-income countries to apply! Please share news of the program with your colleagues and friends. It is a wonderful opportunity for palliative care workers to learn how to engage in advocacy to advance palliative care in their own countries.

On a sad note, Kappy Flanders died in Montreal, Canada, last month. Kappy became a passionate advocate for palliative care a few years after the death of her husband Eric, when her mother was dying in Israel. There she witnessed the benefits of palliative care and had first-hand experience of its focus on the relief of suffering. She returned to Montreal determined that every family should know about, and have access to, palliative care. In 1994, she established The Flanders Chair at McGill University, the first chair in palliative medicine in North America. Dr. Balfour Mount, who coined the term "palliative care," was the first person to hold this position. Kappy also established the Council on Palliative Care at McGill and served for years as its co-chair. The global palliative care community is deeply grateful for her continuous support and for raising the field to higher standards. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to the Council on Palliative Care in Canada.

Until next month,

Lukas Radbruch, MD

Liliana De Lima, MHA
Executive Director

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