In recognition of National Palliative Care Month, Cooper University Health Care in conjunction with Cooper Medical School of Rowan University and the New Jersey Department of Health sponsored “Innovative Approaches to Advanced Illness Care – A Palliative Care Symposium for Physicians and Health Care Professionals” on Wednesday, November 13, 2013, at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU) Auditorium. The purpose of the event was to highlight the importance of palliative care in the health care spectrum. Among those in attendance was NJ Commissioner of Health Mary O’Dowd, MPH, who has made palliative care initiatives a top priority for health in New Jersey.
“Palliative care is not brink-of-death care intended for the last days of life only,” said Mark Angelo, MD, Chief, Division of Palliative Care at Cooper University Health Care. “It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis — rather than a cure. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.”
David Casarett, MD, MA, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of Hospice and Palliative Care at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, was the keynote speaker. Dr. Casarett’s presentation was followed by an interdisciplinary panel discussion with Dr. Angelo; Mary O’Dowd, MPH, NJ Commissioner of Health; Stephen Goldfine, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice; Barbara Sproge, MSN, RN, OCN, CHPN, Clinical Educator for Palliative Care Program, Cooper University Health Care; and Kava Schafer, M.Div, MA, Chaplain/Spiritual Provider, Division of Palliative Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System. Paul Katz, MD, Dean, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, served as moderator.