New FAAHPM

New FAAHPM – Kimberly A. Bower, MD HMDC FAAHPM

Congratulations to Dr. Kimberly Bower who recently earned the designation Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. This new Fellow of the Academy was asked – Who would you consider your primary mentor and what have you learned from him/her? We are sharing her answer in this post.

It is only through the gifts of multiple mentors that I have developed in my skills as a palliative medicine physician. Each pearl of wisdom that I have gained from my teachers has led to the fundamental lesson that it is important to see beyond the patient who you are treating to the person for whom you are caring. Though each mentor has taught me so much, here are the pearls from my wise teachers that standout.
Dr. Laurel Herbst: The goal is to help people find meaning and value in their lives, but first you have to make them feel comfortable and safe.
Dr. Julie Prazich: Always take the time to learn and use your patient’s name.
Dr. Frank Ferris: Don’t be dissuaded by your patient’s negative emotions. Show up every day and be present.
Dr. Charles von Gunten: Don’t answer the first question you are asked. Explore further to understand the meaning behind the question.
Dr. Charles Lewis: It’s not taking a history it’s listening to your patient’s story.
Rosene Pirrello, BPharm, RPh: We spend a lot of time stuck in the past or thinking about the future. Take a deep breath and stay in the present moment.
JoAnne Auger, RN: Our language matters. Use the vocabulary of compassion.
The hospice team: Be mindful, take care of yourself, and stay centered.
To all of the great palliative medicine teachers in our field and to the patients from whom I learn so much I extend my deepest gratitude.

Advancement to fellowship status within the academy honors dedication to and scholarship in the field of the hospice and palliative medicine. This distinction represents a minimum of 5 years of membership, participation in AAHPM activities, letters of recommendation, and board certification in hospice and palliative medicine. Dr. Bower will receive the designation during the Annual Assembly of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association in Chicago, IL on Saturday, March 12, 2016.
Check back regularly for posts from other Fellows.

New FAAHPM – Craig D. Blinderman, MD MA FAAHPM

Congratulations to Dr. Craig Blinderman who recently earned the designation Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. This new Fellow of the Academy was asked – Who would you consider your primary mentor and what have you learned from him/her? We are sharing his answer in this post.

“My primary mentor is the late Andy Billings. Andy may not have known the extent to which he influenced my thinking about patient care, but in our meetings and conversations about patients, I was able to sense the degree to which he was genuinely curious about patients, about medicine, about why we might choose certain medications, or therapeutic approaches, etc. His need to know the evidence and to challenge conventional ways of clinical reasoning with a broader, holistic and fundamentally ethical approach, allowed me to see just how deep this practice of palliative medicine can really be. When I left MGH to take on the role as Director of the Adult Palliative Care Service at Columbia University Medical Center, I felt Andy’s presence with me at every turn. I would often call Andy to make sure that my decisions were reasonable. That I was actually seeing the picture for what it was. That I was considering all of the complexities in each decision. Often he would agree that I have indeed looked at the situation in a careful and discerning way. This gave me enormous confidence as a relatively young leader of a clinical palliative care service in a complex and large academic institution. I saw in Andy the integrity of the profession of medicine and the commitment to education and the advancement of the field of palliative medicine. With his encouragement and wisdom, I found opportunities to create a more dynamic and integrated palliative care service, which both expanded in scope and recognition. The fruits of his mentorship and wisdom can be felt throughout the halls of P&S, where I often teach medical students, and at the bedside of patients and families where residents and fellows gather to learn how to best care for the suffering patient and family. We have written together, taught together, and helped patients together. In each of these domains, I have found a friend and supporter, someone who believed in what I am capable of doing, long before I ever believed I was.”

Advancement to fellowship status within the academy honors dedication to and scholarship in the field of the hospice and palliative medicine. This distinction represents a minimum of 5 years of membership, participation in AAHPM activities, letters of recommendation, and board certification in hospice and palliative medicine. Dr. Blinderman will receive the designation during the Annual Assembly of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association in Chicago, IL on Saturday, March 12, 2016.
Check back regularly for posts from other Fellows.

New FAAHPM – Rebecca A. Aslakson, MD PhD FAAHPM

Congratulations to Dr. Rebecca Aslakson who recently earned the designation Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. This new Fellow of the Academy was asked – what would you say is the biggest opportunity for the field of Hospice and Palliative Medicine? We are sharing her answer in this post.

“For me, the biggest opportunity in HPM is identifying, studying, and implementing natural moments in daily life and routine medical care to proactively incorporate palliative care and advance care planning. Many providers consider palliative care approaches only when a patient reaches late stage disease – a cancer patient has already progressed through three rounds of chemotherapy or the ALS patient is now possibly needing ventilatory support. The opportunity is to move “upstream” and to find new moments and ways to integrate HPM, particularly by primary palliative care providers. How can a primary care physician incorporate elements of advance care planning with any new diagnosis of prostate cancer? How might a surgical team include advance care planning into the medical workup prior to a colectomy? What simple things can ICU teams do to improve patient symptom experience? And, for whatever reason, if primary teams are unable to take these opportunities to improve patient care, then how can we build a system so that these issues are instead addressed by specialist palliative care providers? We need data to support that these “upstream” approaches improve meaningful patient, family, and healthcare system outcomes and then we need ways to disseminate both the data and the practices. These are immense opportunities to improve medical care experience by all patients and their loved ones!”

Advancement to fellowship status within the academy honors dedication to and scholarship in the field of the hospice and palliative medicine. This distinction represents a minimum of 5 years of membership, participation in AAHPM activities, letters of recommendation, and board certification in hospice and palliative medicine. Dr. Aslakson will receive the designation during the Annual Assembly of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association in Chicago, IL on Saturday, March 12, 2016.
Check back regularly for posts from other Fellows.

New FAAHPM – Kevin A. Ache, DO FAAHPM

Congratulations to Dr. Kevin Ache who recently earned the designation Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. This new Fellow of the Academy was asked – what brought you to the field of Hospice and Palliative Medicine? We are sharing his answer in this post.

“One morning on inpatient rounds, I walked into an elderly patient’s room in the beginning of my second year as a Family Medicine Resident. Her story was one that we as physicians hear much too often. She came into the Emergency Room with shortness of breath exacerbated by her congestive heart failure. It was her fourth admission in as many months.

I feel that as physicians we are trained to “fix the problem” at any cost. We continue to treat aggressively despite asking what the patient wants. We lose sight of the overall picture including the most important aspect, quality of life. Of course, this is different for everyone and I feel that it is our duty to explain to all of our patients and their families the different options they have in regards to their medical treatment. We need to present their disease process in a way they can understand, not just telling them that “their numbers are looking better/worse”. I want everyone to understand that they have the ultimate choice in how we treat their illness. Whatever decision they make I will respect, but I feel that as a profession we have lost sight of this and it is my job to help them maneuver down this journey we call life. This is what brought me into the field of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.”

Advancement to fellowship status within the academy honors dedication to and scholarship in the field of the hospice and palliative medicine. This distinction represents a minimum of 5 years of membership, participation in AAHPM activities, letters of recommendation, and board certification in hospice and palliative medicine. Dr. Ache will receive the designation during the Annual Assembly of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association in Chicago, IL on Saturday, March 12, 2016.

Check back regularly for posts from other Fellows.