Reception honors Goldhagen, Community Hospice and new professorship

A decade-long partnership between Community Hospice of Northeast Florida and the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville has made Jacksonville a national leader in pediatric palliative care.

Now, the Community Hospice of Northeast Florida/Neviaser Family Professorship in Pediatric Palliative Care is the latest milestone in that partnership.

The professorship has been made possible through the Neviaser Family Foundation’s $2.5 million endowment to Community Hospice, and subsequent commitment of Community Hospice to the UF academic, research and service mission.

As a priority, the professorship will help the UF division of community pediatrics develop a fellowship program in the growing specialty field of palliative care for children. The fellowship is expected to begin in 2013, said Robert C. Nuss, M.D., associate vice president for health affairs and dean of the regional campus, Jacksonville.

Jeffrey L. Goldhagen, M.D., M.P.H., chief of the division of community pediatrics, will hold the professorship position.

The college, Goldhagen and hospice officials celebrated the professorship this week with a reception on campus.

"There is so much knowledge to be created in palliative care and we’ll get to be a part of creating that knowledge," said Susan Ponder-Stansel, Community Hospice President and CEO. "That’s an exciting thing you don’t get to do very often in life."

This will be the sixth endowed professorship on the Jacksonville campus and the second in pediatrics.

"The professorship will establish a national precedent for how we move forward in the future to build a pediatric workforce that is capable of taking care of the palliative care needs of children," Goldhagen said.

Goldhagen said it is the first palliative care professorship in the nation funded by a hospice organization. When news of the professorship spread last week with media coverage, Ponder-Stansel said she received e-mails and calls from colleagues across the country congratulating her for linking the program with the University of Florida and local children’s hospitals.

"This endowed professorship is the next step in the evolution of our efforts to fully integrate palliative care into our pediatric healthcare system here in Northeast Florida and improve quality of life for children and their families," Ponder-Stansel said. "We are thankful for the continued generous support of the Neviaser family, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen our special partnership with UF–Jacksonville."

Community Hospice of Northeast Florida was one of the first in the nation to create a special pediatric palliative care program for children 12 years ago.

Now it is again first in the nation to endow an academic professorship to ensure children and families in our community have sustained access to the highest quality of palliative care into the future.

Now, Goldhagen will serve in that role – as well as his traditional academic and clinical duties.

Goldhagen said he just returned from a palliative care conference in Boston and discussion there was about starting work that was being done in Jacksonville 10 years ago.

The professorship is another example of the important collaboration between UF and Community Hospice. Ponder-Stansel thanked UF leaders and Goldhagen for their willingness "to dare to have the aspiration in little old Jacksonville to be a national model."

Beginning this year, pediatricians cannot take their Boards to become certified in pediatric palliative care without having done a fellowship. There is only a handful of fellowships in the country and there will soon be one here – thanks to the professorship, Goldhagen said.

Two UF pediatricians on the Jacksonville campus – Kelly C. Komatz, M.D., M.P.H., and Susan E. Krieger, M.D., – are among less than 100 in the country board certified in pediatric palliative care.

Goldhagen said at the reception that the evening should be dedicated to the children and families that allow UF physicians and the Community PedsCare team to care for them in the most trying times of their lives.

"Their love, their faith, their resilience are lessons to us every day," Goldhagen said.

UF physicians provide comprehensive pediatric palliative care services as part of the Community PedsCare program in multiple sites, including the child’s home and community, local hospitals and an outpatient clinic. The program is also expanding its use of alternative medicine to complement traditional treatments.

"We are proud to have established among the few comprehensive pediatric palliative care programs in the country," Goldhagen said.

Featured Faculty

Jeffrey L. Goldhagen, MD, MPH

Jeffrey L. Goldhagen, MD, MPH

Professor - Community Hospice of Northeast Florida/Neviaser Family Professor in Pediatric Palliative Care
Chief, Division of Community and Societal Pediatrics

Kelly C. Komatz, MD, MPH, F.A.A.P., F.A.A.H.P.M.

Kelly C. Komatz, MD, MPH, F.A.A.P., F.A.A.H.P.M.

Associate Professor
Program Director, Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship