Transforming the Future of Palliative Care with Sojourns Scholars

August 23, 2016

Cambia Health Foundation's 2016 Sojourns Scholars

Imagine you are diagnosed with a serious or long-term illness. Fear is often a natural first reaction. Or, imagine your child or spouse is diagnosed with a chronic condition. For the caregiver, coping with a family member’s serious illness can be as overwhelming and stressful, navigating the complexities of the health care system and worrying about your loved one’s pain management and emotional health.

It’s especially when facing serious illness that you want and need the “care” in health care most. That’s why palliative care was Version 1.0 of Cambia’s focus on improving the health care experience for patients and their families.

Cambia Health Foundation, Cambia’s 501(c)(3) grant-making organization, in 2014 began targeting a key consumer pain point in the palliative care landscape: currently there is just one palliative care medical professional per 1,200 people facing serious illness in the United States. To address this gap in person-focused care and develop the next generation of palliative care leaders, Cambia Health Foundation developed the Sojourns Scholar Leadership program. This week the Foundation named the 10 physicians and nurses selected from around the nation for its 2016 cohort of Sojourns Scholars. Meet the talented men and women who represent the future of palliative care.

Like the members of the 2014 and 2015 cohorts, each individual receives a two-year, $180,000 grant to fund a project to advance palliative care and their development as a leader. Each scholar is also assigned a national palliative care leader to act as a mentor. We could not be more excited about what the future holds as we all work to advance patient-centered care for individuals and their families.

Cambia Health Foundation’s focus on palliative care started nearly a decade ago, with the first grant directed to funding Dorenbecher Children’s Hospital and its Bridges pediatric palliative program. Since then, the Foundation has invested more than $27.4 million in more than 90 grants to support organizations and initiatives committed to improving the practice of palliative care.

While some aren’t familiar with the term at all—and others associate it with hospice, the elderly and end-of-life—Cambia believes palliative care is so much more. We believe it’s about supporting patients—of all ages—and their loved ones through some of life’s most difficult times. We know that quality palliative care can provide people and their families with emotional, physical and spiritual support.

The goal of Cambia’s investments in palliative care is to change the experience of people with serious illness by giving more control to them. It’s about delivering a return on humanity.

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