Timothy E. Quill, M.D., an internationally recognized pioneer in palliative care and end-of-life decision making, was named one of the 30 most influential leaders in hospice and palliative medicine, the medical specialty focused on relieving suffering and improving quality of life for people with serious illnesses. Quill is professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, Medical Humanities, and Nursing, and the director of the Palliative Care Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
In celebration of 25 years serving the profession, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) asked its 5,000 members to nominate visionaries in the field, and then had them vote for the top 10 from the 111 nominated. Quill is among the physicians, nurses and authors recognized by peers for the important role they played in advancing the medical specialty of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
Hospice and palliative medicine focuses on improving quality of life and relieving pain and other symptoms in seriously ill patients. Palliative care can be provided to patients who continue to receive treatments to try to cure or control their disease, regardless of their prognosis. Hospice is a type of palliative care for patients whose life expectancy is likely to be six months or less. Both hospice and palliative care help patients and families understand treatment options and make decisions about care. It also provides information on spiritual and psychosocial services, support for family and caregivers, and grief counseling.
“It is a great honor for me to be included in this list of influential leaders in our field,” said Quill. "The work of palliative care and hospice both locally and nationally involves a large cadre of dedicated, extremely skilled professionals from a wide range of fields who team up together to serve the needs of our most seriously ill patients and their families. It is a great privilege for me to serve such patients and their families, and to work with such a dedicated team of professionals all of whom deserve to be recognized.”
Quill is past president of AAHPM, and a regular, invited contributor to respected publications such as the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine. He has written several books on end-of-life issues, including Physician-Assisted Dying: The Case for Palliative Care and Patient Choice, and Caring for Patients at the End of Life: Facing an Uncertain Future Together.
Locally, Quill’s leadership has influenced the growth of palliative care community-wide. As a result, URMC and its community affiliates have more than 20 board-certified physician specialists in palliative care as well as nurses, nurse practitioners, researchers, fellows, social workers, chaplains, a music practitioner, massage therapists, and a bereavement coordinator. Additionally, under his direction, in 2009 Strong Memorial Hospital opened the region’s only hospital-based palliative care unit.
AAHPM’s Visionary program “recognizes key individuals who have been critical in building and shaping our field over the past 25 years,” said Steve R. Smith, AAHPM executive director and CEO. “These individuals represent thousands of other health care professionals in this country that provide quality medical care and support for those living with serious illness each and every day.”
The Visionaries are physicians, nurses and hospice pioneers, such as British physician, nurse and social worker Cicely Saunders, credited with starting the modern hospice movement, and Elisabeth Kübler Ross, author of numerous books including the groundbreaking “On Death and Dying.” Five elected officials were nominated, including former President Ronald Reagan who signed into law the Medicare hospice benefit in 1982.
More information on the Visionaries project, including the list of 30 Visionaries, may be found at www.aahpm.org.
About AAHPM: The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) is the professional organization for physicians specializing in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. AAHPM’s 5,000 members also include nurses and other healthcare providers who are committed to improving the quality of life of seriously ill patients and their families. For more than 25 years, the Academy has been dedicated to expanding access of patients and families to high quality palliative care, and advancing the discipline of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, through professional education and training, development of a specialist workforce, support for clinical practice standards, research and public policy. Learn more at www.aahpm.org.