NHPCO Honors Sandra Huster with Leadership Award at National Conference

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Sandra Huster’s dedicated service to NHPCO through her leadership of the National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals (NCHPP), profoundly improved the way NHPCO serves members; strengthened professionalism in volunteer leadership; and most importantly enhanced the experience of terminally-ill people, families, and their communities.

Among her numerous contributions to NHPCO, Sandi Huster was active with the organization’s National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals (NCHPP) which works to advance the professional disciplines integral to hospice and palliative care. Huster joined the NCHPP Volunteer/Volunteer Management Steering Committee in 2007, becoming Section Leader in 2011 and served in that role through 2016. In 2017, she became the Chair of NCHPP and joined the NHPCO Board of Directors.

Under her leadership the volunteer section grew to be one of the most actively engaged sections in NCHPP.

Sandi provided leadership for the development of the first virtual volunteer conference, helped establish a strong mentoring program for new volunteer managers, and worked with NHPCO to add new quality measures for volunteer service to the National Data Set. In addition, Huster was instrumental in the creation of NHPCO’s Hospice Volunteer Program Resource Manual, the essential guide for hospice volunteer managers. 

“Through her many contributions to our organization, specifically through her dedicated efforts serving other professionals in the field, Sandi has provided coaching and support to hundreds of volunteer leaders from throughout the country over the years,” said NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach. “As a volunteer manager in our field, who through her work within our organization, she is a testament to the amazing contributions volunteers contribute.”

Huster worked in hospice volunteer management for more than 17 years and began her hospice journey with The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, now Empath Health. In her tenure at Suncoast, she was responsible for leading the nationally recognized Hospice Teen Volunteer Program. The won an award from Florida Hospices for Lifetime Legacies, a life review program and was honored by President Bill Clinton for “Life, Camera, Action,” a teen video production of hospice patients and families sharing their stories.

As the Director of Volunteer Services for Covenant Care, she provided leadership for over 2700 volunteers. Under Sandi’s leadership, Covenant’s volunteer program received three awards of excellence from Florida Hospices and Palliative Care Association, and two volunteer awards from NHPCO. The Tuck-in volunteer program that she started at Covenant has been implemented in hospices nationwide. When Sandi Huster retired as the Director of Volunteer Services for Covenant Care, she provided leadership for over 2700 volunteers.

Huster frequently presented at state and national hospice conferences, has been published numerous times in hospice and volunteer management journals, and received the Award of Excellence in Leadership from Florida Hospices and Palliative Care Association in 2011.

She was also named as Florida, Alabama and Mississippi State Mentor for Faith in Action, a Robert Wood Johnson grant initiative to support interfaith volunteer support to help the frail elderly remain in their homes. In this role she helped hospices to apply for Faith in Action grants to support engaging faith congregations in hospice volunteerism.

More than 1,200 hospice and palliative care leaders, managers, and industry experts were in attendance at the conference hosted at the Washington Hilton where Huster was honored.

“Sandi has worked tirelessly on behalf of hospice at the local, regional and national level and reflects the highest levels of professionalism and dedicated throughout her career,” added Banach.

Created in memory of Galen Miller, NHPCO’s executive vice president who died in August 2013, this award recognizes a champion and advocate from the field who has demonstrated the highest levels of dedication and passion for the hospice and palliative care community and the patients and families that receive care.

During the conference where Huster received the leadership award, NHPCO launched the My Hospice Campaign to reinforce the value of hospice care. Learn more MyHospiceCampaign.org