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UM Geriatrics Program to Host Premiere of Drama on Palliative Care and End of Life issues

A new theatrical presentation titled Palliative Care: A Bridge of Compassion Between Curing and Caring will premiere at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy on Oct. 13. It will be part of a program organized by the University of Maryland Geriatrics and Gerontology Education and Research (GGEAR) Program directed by Reba Cornman, MSW.

"The issue of the absence of humanity in providing care for the gravely ill - as expressed in literature as well as anecdotally by many - has inspired author Naomi Greenberg-Slovin (pictured right) to express the emotional toll of families and practitioners involved with their respective inability disguised as indifference in caring for people with grave illness," says Cornman.

The reading by Vivienne Shub, 92, (pictured left) of the Everyman Theatre repertory company in Baltimore, will be followed by a panel discussion with the author; School of Pharmacy professor Lynn McPherson, PharmD, BCPS, CDE; and Debra Wertheimer, MD, director of hospice and palliative care at the Maryland Veterans Affairs Health Care Center.

Greenberg-Slovin says, "Because most of my writing is associated with the theater, it was an interesting challenge when I was asked to write about palliative care and end of life issues. From the abstract point of view, it would be hard to find anyone who would actually deny that the concept of palliative care was anything but good. It ranks up there with such virtues as motherly love and telling the truth.

"But in practice over the centuries, and up to the present day, it has been one of the most controversial and divisive topics among those affiliated with the health and medical professions - not to mention politics. It is this incredible paradox that I want to bring into focus for the audience," she explains.

"The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy is delighted to be co-hosting this important program," says McPherson, who in addition to her School duties serves as a consultant pharmacist for local and national hospice and palliative care programs. "Health care professionals are trained with an eye toward preventing and curing illnesses, but we must be equally skilled at caring for body and soul when patients have an advanced illness. This is an excellent opportunity for students, practitioners, administrators, and the entire University of Maryland family to participate in this extraordinary event where author and actress will providing a reading regarding the caring and compassionate use of palliative care for people struggling with grave illness. As an academic institution we feed our brains regularly; isn't it time to nourish your heart and soul?"

The program Palliative Care: A Bridge of Compassion Between Curing and Caring will be held on Oct. 13 at 3 p.m., Pharmacy Hall, Room N103 and Atrium.

"The reading and discussion will provide insight and hope to practitioners, trainees, and the lay public in confronting the issues surrounding the treatment and support needed by those seeking comfort of care physically and emotionally," says Cornman.

Posting Date: 10/10/2011
Contact Name: Ed Fishel
Contact Phone: 410-706-3801
Contact Email: efishel@umaryland.edu