Death and Dying Fellowship Launches Virtually in 2021

Death and Dying Fellows engage in a group discussion during their first virtual session.

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF)'s 2021 Death and Dying Feinstein Fellowship began with the first session on January 25. The Death & Dying Fellowship takes on a key challenge: the reality that professionals are not well prepared to deal with death, dying, and grieving families, especially during an era of COVID-19. The Fellowship allows participants to learn, confront, and discuss the legal, medical, social, cultural, familial, and spiritual aspects of death and dying within a multi-disciplinary group in a low-pressure environment. The 2021 Fellowship will take advantage of a virtual world's opportunities, as the program will welcome speakers from outside of Pittsburgh, while Fellows will attend virtual site visits.

This year's fellowship welcomes 37 Fellows, who represent 15 degree programs (from nursing and occupational therapy to social work and public health) and hail from seven universities in Pittsburgh, Toledo, and San Francisco.

During the first session, JHF President & CEO Karen Feinstein provided an overview of the JHF and its operating arms with an emphasis on the 2021 FCP strategies, and the heightened awareness of death and dying experienced as a result of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. She also provided background on JHF's interest in improving care at end-of-life care through our Closure initiative, and encouraged the Fellows to become active in changing systems of care that do not meet the needs of patients and families. Dr. Robert Arnold, Chief, Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics at the University of Pittsburgh presented on the importance of relationships and communication in end-of-life care. JHF COO and Chief Program Officer Nancy Zionts and Judy Black, MD, Medical Advisor to JHF introduced the 9-week Fellowship agenda and led students in a discussion around their individual goals and aspirations for the fellowship. 

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