Hospice Community Presents Awards at National Conference in Washington D.C.

For Immediate Release:
March 28, 2014

Awards Presented for Outstanding Leadership, Global Vision, Philanthropic Inspiration and Exceptional Education through Art

(Alexandria, Va) – The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the hospice community honored some of its own during NHPCO’s 29th Annual Management and Leadership Conference held March 27-March 29 in Washington, DC.  The awards were presented at various times throughout the conference.

“During this year’s conference, we had the opportunity to honor hospice colleagues and champions who have had a positive impact on end of life care,” says NHPCO President and Chief Executive Officer, J. Donald Schumacher.  “We are so fortunate to have many skilled people support the work we do and it is truly a privilege to celebrate their achievements as we learn from their accomplishments.”

Galen Miller Leadership Award

The Galen Miller Leadership Award was created in memory of NHPCO’s Executive Vice President who died in August 2013. This award is presented to a hospice champion who exhibits the same dedication and passion for the hospice and palliative care community as NHPCO’s Galen Miller did.  Gretchen M. Brown, President and CEO of Hospice of the Bluegrass, is the recipient of the inaugural Galen Miller Leadership Award. 

Leading one of the first hospices in the United States, Brown was able to expand care and services in a rural area, making care available to everyone.  Hospice of the Bluegrass serves more than 900 patients daily in 32 central, southeastern and northern Kentucky counties. 

Philanthropic Inspiration Award

The Philanthropic Inspiration Award is presented to those who, by example, motivate others, and through passion and commitment, help engender a lasting culture of philanthropy-whether through work, wisdom or wealth.  This year’s award was presented to Dennis and Susan Gilardi. 

The Gilardis have remained committed to the hospice industry for over 35 years.  Dennis has been a part of significant milestones in the movement, including attending the first National Hospice Organization meeting in Washington, DC, and becoming a member of the original Healthcare Financing Administration’s Medicare Demonstration Project. The Gilardis made the largest personal contribution to The National Center for End of Life Care and elected to lend their name to the office of Senior Vice President, Office of Philanthropy.

Zachary Morfogen Art of Caring Award

Will Schwalbe, author of the book “The End of Your Life Book Club” is this year’s recipient of the Morfogen Art of Caring Award.  Schwalbe received this award because of his use of the arts as a means to inspire and increase awareness of end-of-life care and whose central focus of their art is related to end-of-life issues.

“The End of Your Life Book Club” is based on the experience he shared with his mother during her treatment for cancer.  The book is a moving memoir of caregiving, mourning, and love.

Global Vision Award

Becky McDonald received (posthumously) the Global Vision Award.  Her children were present to receive award on her behalf.    The Global Vision Award recognizes the efforts of an individual or organization whose dedication and innovation to program development and delivery profoundly affects the care and well-being of people around the world.   

McDonald was a champion not only in the states but around the world, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. She was a member of the NHPCO Board of Directors in 1988, and then the director of the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2002. She then served as vice-chair in 2002 to 2006, again in 2008, before taking the position of chairperson from 2009-2010.

Council of States Trailblazer Award

The Trailblazer Award was created on behalf of NHPCO’s Council of States to recognize state organizations demonstrating high levels of excellence, innovation and leadership that expand access to hospice and palliative care, promote quality, and increase awareness.

This year’s recipient is Florida Hospices and Palliative Care Association. Established in 1982, FHPCA Established in 1982, FHPCA is a unified voice for hospice programs in Florida with the mission to assure excellence and access to hospice care, and advocate for the needs of those in the final phases of life. 


About National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

NHPCO is the oldest and largest nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States. The organization is committed to improving end-of-life care and expanding access to hospice care with the goal of profoundly enhancing quality of life for people dying in America and their loved ones, www.nhpco.org.


Anita Brikman
Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications