Coyne named a top 30 Visionary in Hospice and Palliative Medicine

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Patrick Coyne, clinical director at Thomas Palliative Care Service, VCU Medical Center, has been voted one of the top visionaries in hospice and palliative medicine in a recent poll conducted by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM).

Academy members nominated 126 of their colleagues and then cast more than 6,500 ballots to find the top 30. The AAHPM website says “Many common themes emerged in praise of the nominees – mentor, leader, big thinker, – but there was also great variety in how academy members described what these visionaries did or do to advance the profession, citing them for furthering research, communication or education, for advocating for public policy, or for their kindness and compassion.”

Coyne was instrumental in the initiation in 1994 of VCU’s palliative care service unit, which was one of the first of its kind in the nation. The center has subsequently become a leadership center in palliative care nationally, recognized internationally by the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care and was the first certified in Virginia for palliative care.

Coyne said the highlight of his work is easing the pain and suffering of people with life-threatening diseases, supporting their families and conducting progressive research to improve the quality of life for countless individuals.

“I believe this is a validation of the collaborative team with whom I work, specifically Virginia Commonwealth University/Massey Cancer Palliative Care Program,” Coyne said. “I have been fortunate to work with the greatest collection of intelligent, caring and passionate doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, as well as a talented group of volunteers who makes our impact on patients and families  so effective.”

Most of the Visionaries – 14 women and 16 men – are physicians, including nine Academy presidents. But several nurses were named, along with hospice pioneers such as British physician, nurse and social worker Cicely Saunders, credited with starting the modern hospice movement, and Elisabeth Kübler Ross, author of numerous books including the groundbreaking “On Death and Dying.” Five elected officials were nominated and one of them, former President Ronald Reagan, was named a Visionary for signing into law the Medicare hospice benefit in 1982.