First Hospice/Palliative Medicine Fellowship in New Jersey Announced

Jennifer Chiesa, DO, Named by Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice in collaboration with Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine

Article ID: 606207

Released: 6-Aug-2013 1:15 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: Rowan University

Newswise — Marlton, NJ – Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice, in collaboration with Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM), has announced Jennifer Chiesa, DO, as the first Hospice/Palliative Care Fellow in New Jersey in a one-year fellowship program accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). The program began July 1 – the day that the former UMDNJ-SOM in Stratford became RowanSOM.

Chiesa, originally from Stewartsville and now residing in Marlton, NJ, is a 2010 graduate of the Stratford medical school. She completed her residency at Christiana Care Health System, Newark, Delaware.

The New Jersey Fellowship represents a proactive response to changes in national training requirements, effective in 2014, that will require all AOA candidates for Board Certification in Hospice and Palliative Medicine to complete a one-year fellowship after having successfully completed a residency training program in one of four AOA specialties: Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation or Psychiatry.

The program is academically sponsored by RowanSOM and the Osteopathic Postdoctoral Training Institution of New Jersey (OPTI). Joanne Kaiser-Smith, DO, FACOI, FACP, RowanSOM’s assistant dean of Graduate Medical Education and executive director of OPTI, said, “We are excited to partner with Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice on this academic venture. Patients receiving palliative care benefit by increased communication, care plan guidance, discharge planning and pain and symptom management. It is our belief that this type of patient care is desperately needed, especially in the face of our growing geriatric population.”

Samaritan, which, in 1980, became the first hospice to serve southern New Jersey and remains the largest, will serve as the program’s principal training site. Samaritan hospice and palliative physician Marianne Holler, DO, FACOI of Delanco, a clinical assistant professor at RowanSOM, will serve as the Palliative Medicine Fellowship Director. Holler was recently named NJ Biz’s Physician of the Year in its 2013 Healthcare Heroes Award. Additional participating training sites include Virtua and Lourdes Health System.

Additional Samaritan faculty for the program includes Chief Medical Officer Stephen Goldfine, MD, DABHPM; Ira Smith, MD; Sara Pagliaro, DO and Palliative-trained Advanced Practice Nurse Jeannette Kates, MSN, APNC.

Holler said, “It’s so exciting after 18 months of planning to see this program approved and operational. It’s a very positive first step in addressing a huge shortfall within this new medical specialty. Samaritan is uniquely positioned to provide this training with three full-time board-certified hospice and palliative physicians and one board-eligible physician and an Advanced Practice Nurse. No other hospice in south Jersey has this depth of physician resources.”

RowanSOM Dean Thomas Cavalieri, DO, FACOI, FACP, AGSF, called the program a “dream come true. As a geriatrician, I’ve long recognized the need for quality palliative care. Finding the right hospice partner in Samaritan offers a tremendous opportunity to enhance education in an area where it’s greatly needed to impact quality of life throughout the course of chronic illness and at the end of life.”

Chiesa will benefit from lectures, evidence-based reading and research and field experiences in home and inpatient hospice and palliative care consultations, long-term care/rehabilitation and geriatrics and out-patient clinic/bereavement support.

Dr. Holler noted special care in selecting Chiesa as the first Fellow. “We needed to find the right person to set the bar high – someone with academic excellence, a good clinician, an empathetic communicator with patients and families and someone with a true interest in pursuing a career in hospice and palliative medicine.”

Statewide and National Impact:This Fellowship, one of only eight affiliated with osteopathic medical institutions in the US, is the only osteopathic or allopathic-affiliated Palliative Medicine fellowship in New Jersey. As a new medical specialty – and one of the fastest growing according to the Center for the Advancement of Palliative Care (CAPC) – Palliative Medicine faces a shortage of board-certified physicians to meet the mounting need.

This need, reports the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Physicians (AAHPM) in its 2012 Progress Report, stems from “an increasingly aging population, continued segmentation of care and limited funding for programs to train hospice and palliative physicians. Even as the awareness of and demand for clinical resources continues to rise nationwide – today more than 80 percent of midsize to large US hospitals have palliative care programs – the number of physicians specifically trained to treat these patients falls far short of demand.”

CAPC reports only 6500 US certified Palliative Medical specialists. AAHPM estimates only one board-certified HPM physician for every 20,000 older adults living with chronic illness or one for every 11,074 Medicare deaths.

About Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice:Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice is the regional leader for hospice care, palliative (comfort) medicine, geriatric care management, grief support and counseling and end-of-life education, research and advocacy. In addition to hospice services covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers, Samaritan’s Family of Services also provides more than $1.2 million each year in essential, yet non-reimbursed, services through generous community support.

Samaritan is a not-for-profit, non-sectarian, independent organization accredited by The Joint Commission, a member of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and its’ We Honor Veterans program created in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Samaritan serves people in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Mercer counties who are coping with the stresses of aging, serious illness or grief. For more information, visit

About Rowan University Rowan University is a state-designated public research institution with campuses in Glassboro, Camden and Stratford, N.J., that offers bachelor’s through doctoral programs to 14,000 students. In the past two years, Rowan created a School of Biomedical Sciences; opened the Camden-based Cooper Medical School of Rowan University; and incorporated the School of Osteopathic Medicine, which was a part of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, making Rowan only the second university in the nation to grant both M.D. and D.O. medical degrees. Rowan also is slated to collaborate with Rutgers-Camden to create a new College of Health Sciences in Camden, with degree programs related to the growth of medical services needed in the future. Recently designated by the State as only the second comprehensive public research institution in New Jersey, Rowan plans to increase sponsored research to $100 million per year. These new initiatives will add to Rowan’s Rohrer College of Business and colleges of Communication and Creative Arts, Education, Engineering, Graduate and Continuing Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, Performing Arts, and Science and Mathematics.


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