A virtual coming together – building on foundations from 2020 – The US World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Celebration returns

Categories: Care and Featured.

Author: Billy Rosa, PhD, MBE, NP-BC, FAANP, FAAN 

Chief Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospice and palliative care community – like many others worldwide – has had to create new ways of connecting, growing, and sharing best practices. Last year, an interdisciplinary team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York launched the inaugural U.S. World Hospice & Palliative Care Day Celebration: A Virtual Coming Together. Two main objectives provided the vision for the event: community building and wisdom sharing. Unlike a traditional academic conference, the Course Director, Billy Rosa, PhD, NP, and collaborators, Shila Pandey, MSN, NP, and Andrew Epstein, MD, sought to create a space for recognition of both art and science, offering a forum that highlighted the best available empirical evidence alongside narratives of human-centered care in the context of serious health-related suffering.

Billy Rosa – course director

The 2020 event attracted 260 registrants from at least 15 countries and showcased 23 professional and patient/caregiver speakers who presented 9 diverse sessions about the state of hospice and palliative care and the myriad lessons learned during the pandemic. Topics ranged from leadership and advocacy efforts to serious illness disparities for a number of marginalized and minoritized communities. Keynote speakers included Dr. Felicia Knaul, Chair of the Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief, and Dr. Katherine Pettus, the International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care Advocacy Officer. A defining feature of the day was an intimate conversation with a patient who had received palliative care toward the end of his cancer treatment and shared about his then current experiences with hospice. His wife joined him in a dialogue that was tender, moving, and allowed attendees a rare glimpse into the daily lived experience of suffering, resilience, and the benefits and limitations of hospice.

The 2nd Annual U.S. Celebration of World Hospice & Palliative Care Day will take place October 5 and 6, 2021. The theme is in alignment with the World Hospice Palliative Care Alliance – “Leave No-one Behind: Equity in Access to Palliative Care.” Full schedule, speaker, and registration information can be found at www.mskcc.org/whpcd.  This year’s event will be delivered over two half-day sessions with rotating times to reach as many global regions as possible with the live presentations. Registrants will be able to access recorded versions of the sessions if they are unable to attend live.

Colleagues residing in low-and-middle-income countries, as well as interdisciplinary palliative care students, residents, and fellows can email:  uswhapcday@mskcc.org  to receive instructions for  free registration.

Some of this year’s speakers include globally recognized leaders, including Dr. Stephen Connor (WHPCA), Dr. Julia Downing (ICPCN), Liliana De Lima and Dr. Lukas Radbruch (IAHPC), Joan Marston (PallCHASE), and Dr. Betty Ferrell (City of Hope/ELNEC). Our sessions will address implications for all disciplines, including social work, chaplaincy, psychology, nursing, medicine, pharmacy, and clinical ethics. In addition, faculty will discuss global palliative care initiatives in various regions of Africa, India, the U.S., and describe efforts that promote universal palliative care access for all people, particularly the marginalized and the minoritized.

We look forward to seeing you in October!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *