Amy Berman prepares for her image guided radiation therapy.
I live with stage IV cancer—cancer that has spread to the far reaches of my body, an incurable disease, a terminal diagnosis. But if you saw me—if our carts randomly bumped into each other in the supermarket—you would never think I live with serious illness.
And let me add that I feel as well as I look, just great.
The latest cohort of fellows in Sigma Theta Tau International’s Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy pose for a group photo with their leadership mentors, faculty, and representatives of Sigma Theta Tau and the Hartford Foundation.
The Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy aims to prepare and position geriatric-expert nurses as leaders within the interprofessional health care delivery environment. The fellows I had the honor of meeting expressed an unwavering commitment to developing their influence and impact in hospitals, nursing homes, and home health to benefit vulnerable elders.
Amy Berman speaks at TEDMED’s Great Challenges in Health Care in 2013.
Editor’s Note: In this post, originally published on Health Affairs Blog, Amy Berman shares more of her story as a person living with stage IV cancer who has chosen a palliative care approach.
She contributes regularly to Health AGEnda about her experiences and how they relate to the John A. Hartford Foundation’s support for palliative care for older adults facing serious illness. In March 2014, the Hartford Foundation awarded a new grant to the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) to build on the successful spread of hospital-based palliative care and move these services into care settings outside the hospital.
Change is hard. It takes leadership to drive change. Robert Jarvik—a former John A. Hartford Foundation grantee and inventor of the artificial heart—once said, “Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them.”
Today’s successful leaders need that same vision, but they also require a set of skills that go far beyond their clinical training and experience. They need strategies to address policy and payment methodology. They need to engage stakeholders. And they need to measure what matters in terms of cost and quality.
In order to develop this new kind of leadership, people capable of driving health care redesign for vulnerable elders, the Hartford Foundation funds—in partnership with The Atlantic Philanthropies—the Practice Change Leaders Program.
Amy Berman, left, and her daughter Stephanie at the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides event in New York’s Central Park.
Maggie Mahar is an influential blogger on topics from health care reform to the economy. Maggie and I agree that we are not making sufficient strides in the war on breast cancer. We disagree that I chose life over longevity. I chose life and longevity.
In honor of breast cancer awareness month, Maggie has allowed us to repost a blog she featured in HealthBeat on Oct. 11th. I am grateful that she uses her potent prose to draw attention to the needs of older adults. Cancer is, after all, primarily a disease of aging. Two-thirds of those living with cancer are age 65 or older.
Jürgen Unützer, MD, brings the IMPACT model of depression care to Casper, Wy.
Given the John A. Hartford Foundation’s focus on improving the health of older Americans, it should come as no surprise that the Foundation has looked for opportunities to create a more comprehensive, coordinated and continuous health care delivery system.
Since the 1990s, we’ve done this by investing in the development, testing, and spread of effective and affordable Models of Care to address barriers to the provision of high-quality, cost-effective care for elders.
Amy Berman, right, with surgeon, author, and “Twitter rock star” Atul Gawande.
I tweet therefore I am. That is quite an overstatement. But it’s true that my life has been greatly enriched by Twitter. I continually learn and grow through engagement with an incredibly robust network of people found in the Twittersphere.
I have blogged about Twitter on HealthAGEnda before. It is the fastest growing form of social media—launched just seven years ago—and now has more than 500 million users. Sharing 140-character “byte-sized” messages is just enough to make a point, share a link, and be engaged.
Amy Berman’s daughter, Stephanie, with her greatgrandparents, Herb and Julia.
It tickles me to report that I live with incurable cancer and I am expecting. I am expecting that the cancer will take its toll, that I will need to make choices about my health and care, that I will need the support of my family, and that I will need resources.
Imagine if everyone understood that they are expecting. We should all plan for great beginnings and endings.