The AAHPM Research Scholars Program facilitates participation for AAHPM members to attend the Annual Kathleen M. Foley Palliative Care Retreat and Research Symposium of the National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC), cosponsored by the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA), American Cancer Society (ACS), and AAHPM. The 2015 event was held October 20 – 22 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Below are some reflections from this year’s scholarship winners.

“This year’s retreat was by far the most inspiring conference I have attended thus far in my career. The location was serene and peaceful in Jackson Hole, and around every corner was a preeminent thought leader in palliative care. I was in awe of everyone’s tremendous accomplishments and passion for their work. I loved being able to bounce ideas off some of the most powerful minds in the field, and I felt honored that these individuals seemed truly interested in what I was saying. I felt that, by simple virtue of the fact that I was invited to be there, my views and ideas were important and worth listening to. It was a validating feeling. I left Wyoming with a renewed sense of energy to move my own work forward, and with many new colleagues and friends.”

Kavita V. Dharmarajan, M.D., M.Sc.
Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology and Palliative Medicine
Department of Radiation Oncology
Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine
The Mount Sinai Medical Center
New York, NY

“I wanted to thank AAHPM again for giving me the opportunity to attend the NPCRC retreat. It was a tremendous privilege to be able to attend and indeed one of the most valuable experiences of my career so far. I was in awe and near disbelief seeing the guest list for the conference – it was a who’s who of palliative care and was practically my PhD literature review come to life! I had the opportunity to meet privately with so many including Diane Meier, Scott Halpern, Joan Teno, Tony Back, James Tulsky and reconnect with others I hadn’t had the opportunity to see in a while such as Randy Curtis, Sydney Dy, Christine Ritchie, and many others. Thank you so very much!

Elizabeth Dzeng, MD, MPH, MPhil, MS
Assistant Professor of Hospital Medicine and Social and Behavioral Science
University of California, San Francisco

“I felt honored to be amongst so many palliative care expert researchers. I was very pleased with the welcoming spirit of everyone. The setting was perfect. Although an intensive two days, it was a relaxed atmosphere and the prodigious learning environment. It was well balanced with free time to explore the environment and also have the opportunity to get to know one another. As a new investigator, I was able to have discussions to assist me with moving my research forward. Hearing successful experiences of senior investigators gave me an atlas to navigate not only the scientific field of PC research but my individual career development. It was also good to interact with other junior investigators and develop possible, future collaborative relationships.

The overall wealth of information and research experience was infinite. Everyone was open to sharing their experience and made me feel as though I have something valuable to offer the field and know that there is support in my development.”

Danetta E. Sloan, PhD, MA, MSW
IRTA Post Doctoral Fellow
National Institutes of Health
Pain and Palliative Care Service
Bethesda, MD

“In October, I got to attend one of the most remarkable retreats in palliative care as an AAHPM Research Scholar: The Foley Retreat. Surrounded by the beauty and mountain air of Jackson Hole, the retreat fostered an unbelievable degree of connectivity so that more junior investigators, like me, were able to connect with a variety of individuals to learn from, develop collaborations that previously didn’t exist, and be part of conversations that felt like a form of improvisation. It was incredible. Thanks to everyone at AAHPM for supporting the research scholars program! I am very grateful to be a part of it.”

Carey Candrian, PhD
Assistant Professor | University of Colorado School of Medicine | Division of General Internal Medicine
Protocol Specialist | Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group (PCRC)

“Thank you so much for the opportunity of coming to the Palliative Care Research Retreat and Symposium—it was amazing! It was inspiring to be amongst the thought leaders in the field, and to see the innovative research that is driving the field forward. I look forward to being able to contribute. =)”

Jessica R. Bauman, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology/Oncology
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Philadelphia, PA