Abby R. Rosenberg, MD, MS, MA named a top leader in hospice and palliative care

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Abby R. Rosenberg, MD, MS, MA, Chief of Pediatric Palliative Care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Director of Palliative Care at Boston Children's Hospital, was named one of the most influential leaders in hospice and palliative care, a field focused on relieving suffering and improving quality of life for people with serious illnesses by the American Academy of Hospital and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM).

The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine is the professional organization for physicians specializing in hospice and palliative medicine (HPM), committed to improving quality of life for seriously ill patients and their families. The organization asked its more than 5,000 members to nominate who they think are the leaders – or Visionaries – in the field.

Rosenberg is one of those physicians, nurses, and healthcare professionals recognized by their peers for the important role they played in advancing the specialty of Hospice and Palliative Care.

"What would happen if palliative care focused not only on alleviating suffering, but also on bolstering patient and family resilience?" asked Rosenberg. "Would we be that much better at achieving our goal of improving patient and family quality of life?"

To answer this question, Rosenberg and her team created scalable, evidence-based programs to support patient, family, and clinician-resilience. These programs have improved person-centered outcomes in a range of populations, including youth with cancer, type 1 diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and chronic pain; adult caregivers of patients with cancer, serious neurological impairment, or acute critical illness; adult patients with heart disease; healthcare workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic; and children/teachers in urban public schools. The team has shared this work in more than 250 peer-reviewed articles and more than 100 international conferences.

Rosenberg is also known for her advocacy for women in medicine, including advocating for gender equity in the field of hospice and palliative care. She has received numerous awards for her scholarship, mentorship, and advocacy, including the 2021 Award for Mentoring Women Faculty (University of Washington), the 2022 Trish Greene Lifetime Achievement Award for Quality of Life Research (American Cancer Society), and the 2023 Pathfinder in Palliative Care Award (American Cancer Society).

"Receiving this 2024 Visionary Award from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine is an incredible honor," said Rosenberg. "I am grateful for the mentors and palliative care champions who led the way before me and humbled to be in their company."

Hospice and palliative medicine is the medical specialty that focuses on improving quality of life and relieving pain and other symptoms in seriously ill patients. Palliative care can and should be provided to patients who continue to receive treatments to try to cure or control their disease, regardless of their prognosis. Hospice is a specific type of palliative care for patients whose life expectancy is likely to be six months or less. Hospice and palliative care also helps patients and families understand their treatment options and make decisions about their care, and provides information on spiritual and psychosocial services, support for family and caregivers, and grief counseling.

"These visionaries represent thousands of clinicians, educators, and researchers who continue to innovate and lead the field to provide the highest quality care and support for those living with serious illness and their caregivers," noted Vicki Jackson, president of AAHPM. More information on the Visionaries project, including the list of the award winners, is on the Academy’s website

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Palliative Care
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Abby R. Rosenberg, MD, MS, MA