ANMC Palliative Care Team wins 2016 Heroes of Healthcare Organizational award

April 22, 2016

ANMC’s Palliative Care Team was recognized as the winner of the Organizational Award at the 2016 The Heroes of Healthcare Awards held at Anchorage Marriott Downtown on April 16. The Organizational Award recognizes an Anchorage entity which actively promotes a healthy community and provides support through gifts of time, talent or treasure. The ANMC Palliative Care team is comprised of Dr. Chris Piromalli, DO, MPH (Palliative Care Medical Director); Rona Johnson, RN, BSN, OCN (Palliative Care Nurse); and Karen Hollar, LCSW (Palliative Care Clinical Social Worker). Palliative Care is also supported by shared staff members including Janeen Kairaiuak (Oncology Office Manager); Billie Kelley, MSW (Oncology Social Worker); Sara Stetson, ANP (Oncology ANP); Anne Marie Bott, Pharm D (Oncology Pharmacist); and Stacey Kelley (Cancer Partnership Program Coordinator). The Heroes of Healthcare Awards recognize individuals, teams, programs or organizations from the Anchorage community which exemplify significant contributions to providing hospice care. The awards ceremony is hosted by Hospice of Anchorage, a nonprofit organization playing a unique role in meeting the needs of individuals and families in our community with a life-limiting, progressive illness. “We appreciate the encouragement. We are so honored and humbled to be able to do this work,” said Dr. Piromalli. “It is wonderful that this work is making an impact, and we hope this award will lead to more awareness about the great needs for palliative care in our Alaska Native community.” Palliative Care is a new program at ANTHC; their mission is to facilitate and support an integration of palliative care philosophies and practices into the Alaska Native Tribal Health System aimed at addressing whole person care of the Alaska Native people. Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. Currently, the Palliative Care team is working to integrate primary palliative care services in Oncology to further support patients and families facing cancer. The goal is to expand primary palliative care services to support non-oncology patients with advanced serious illness, both in outpatient and inpatient settings. The palliative care team also plans to integrate telemedicine and tele-mentoring services to support CHA/P and sub-regional providers. The team will provide ongoing training opportunities and develop quality resources to support best practices for palliative care for Alaska Native communities. “This is just the beginning,” added Dr. Piromalli. “Again, thank you for thinking of us as we work together to build the palliative care network to serve our Alaska Native community.”

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