Mount Sinai School of Medicine Establishes National Palliative Care Research and Training Center

Christopher Angell, Esq., president of the Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Foundation, announced that the Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute of the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine has been awarded a $3.025 million grant to establish a National Palliative Care Research and Training Center. Palliative Care is the medical specialty that focuses on relieving suffering and achieving the best possible quality of life for patients and their family caregivers. It is offered simultaneously with life prolonging therapies for persons living with serious, complex and eventually terminal illness.

"To date, there has been no significant investment in building strong evidence based research needed to establish palliative care services as an essential component of our national health care system," said Angell. "We hope our partnership with Mount Sinai will quickly catalyze new investments in palliative care from private philanthropy and federal grants, notably the National Institutes of Health. We want to build national support for this effort to improve the quality of care for all patients with serious illnesses."

Angell added, "Palliative Care is at a crucial moment in its history of development. The Kornfeld Foundation is proud to be a pivotal funder at such an important time. We are also proud that our funding of the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins has provided an excellent, effective model for the creation of this new Research and Training Center."

Dr. R. Sean Morrison, Professor of Palliative Care, Geriatrics and Medicine at Mount. Sinai School of Medicine, will serve as Director of the new Research and Training Center. He explained, "The mission of the Research and Training Center is to bring together national leaders in palliative care research and to collaboratively develop a long term strategic plan that attracts the very highest quality investigators and provides them with technical assistance and research support. The Center's proactive focus will enable investigators to expedite shared research findings and to immediately translate those research findings into practice."

The operational goals of the new National Palliative Care Research and Training Center will be to 1) coordinate and establish priorities for research in palliative medicine; 2) coordinate multi-site research trials; 3) provide funding for research projects; and 4) provide annual career development awards to junior research scientists. The Research and Training Center is unique in that its funding will be equally available to Mount Sinai faculty and to faculty from other medical institutions.

"The new Research and Training Center will become a natural complement to the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC)," said Dr. Diane Meier, Director of CAPC and the Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. CAPC provides hospitals and other health care settings with the tools and technical assistance they need to start and sustain palliative care programs. Dr. Meier continued, "CAPC will be a major resource to the Research and Training Center for taking research into practice and The Center will provide a mechanism for evaluating CAPC programs. The focus of this collaboration will be to deliver findings directly to hospitals and to patients' bedsides."

Rosemary Gibson, Senior Program Officer at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a major funder of CAPC said, "This forward looking initiative will lay the groundwork for future generations of researchers in palliative care. This work will benefit patients and their families immeasurably."

The Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute, located at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, is one of the largest academic palliative care programs in the United States. It provides clinical care to over 1,000 patients and their families annually, educates students, physicians, and nurses in palliative care, and conducts groundbreaking palliative care research. CAPC has provided technical assistance to over a thousand hospitals starting palliative care programs. The Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Foundation was established by Emily Davie Kornfeld in 1979. The Foundation continues Mrs. Kornfeld’s personal philosophy of philanthropy by supporting initiatives in bioethics, palliative care, medical research and education.

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