Medical professionals and elected officials gathered Nov. 9 at the Student Center at Bowie State University to participate in Hospice of the Chesapeake’s community roundtable, “Hospice and Palliative Care in Prince George’s County.”
The panel was moderated by Hospice of the Chesapeake’s Director of Nursing and Clinical Advocacy Rachel Sherman, DNP, FNP-BC, who is passionate about bringing health equity to the county where she grew up and calls home. Also on the panel were community professionals and leaders, including Dr. Alvin Reaves III with U.S. Acute Care Solutions; Jacqueline Hill, PhD, RN, CNE, of Bowie State University; Prince George’s County District 9 Council Member Sydney Harrison; Maryland State Senator Michael Jackson; and Chaplain Robin Walker, MDiv., BCC, of the University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center. Hospice of the Chesapeake team members speaking on the panel included Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marny Fetzer; Nurse Practitioner Ashley Kinnally; Vice President of Hospice Operations Kristin Williams; Professional Liaison Miriam Rendon-Ponce; and Bereavement Counselor Jennifer Ward.
Noting that Prince George’s County residents’ utilization of hospice services is one of the lowest in the state, Sherman said the roundtable was refreshing as it was the start of a collaboration to overcome barriers in the community. “I left Bowie State University with an overwhelming sense of pride knowing that I work for an organization that truly wants to make a difference in Prince George’s County,” Sherman said. “We had a robust discussion, and the vision is clear. Together, we are ready and willing to do the work.”
The panelists addressed multiple topics including lack of awareness, cultural differences, myths and misunderstandings, religious implications, physician engagement and educational program gaps.