Editor’s note: As of January 1, the terms of several IAHPC board members came to an end. I wish to express my deep gratitude to these palliative care pioneers and stalwart advocates, whose featured stories these past few years have both informative and emotionally resonant. Thanks to all of you: Chitra Venkateswaran, Claudia Burlá, Dingle Spence, Harmala Gupta, Eve Namisango, Nahla Gafer, and Skip Radwany.
The outgoing board members were invited to write some parting words, if desired, which will be published as they arrive.
The highlight for me during my tenure on the IAHPC Board was to witness the power of good advocacy. The day-to-day consistent and meticulous planning and effort required to put, and to keep, palliative care on the agenda at international fora was a revelation. The unflagging energy and spirits of those who do this work at IAHPC and elsewhere are commendable. We owe you so much. Thank you.
—Harmala Gupta, Founder-President, CanSupport, India
It has indeed been a pleasure and an honor to serve on the IAHPC Board. Throughout my years of medical practice as a geriatrician, I came to realize the importance of palliative care as a cornerstone of care for all patients—regardless of age—with an incurable disease from the moment of diagnosis.
Because the patients I see have chronic conditions, palliative care taught me that there is a limit to treatment and cure, but not to care. This is the message I would like to impart. It took me years of practice and maturity to come to this understanding. This was not taught in medical school when I graduated 40 years ago. Now, with the instrumental work developed by IAHPC, health care practitioners are exposed to palliative care concepts and techniques earlier on in their career, and are capable of providing proper care to their patients and their families until the end, and beyond.
—Claudia Burlá, MD, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil