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Palliative care expert Jennifer Tjia named Cambia Health Foundation Sojourns scholar

By Megan Bard

UMass Medical School Communications

September 17, 2015
  Jennifer Tjia, MD, MSCE
 

Jennifer Tjia, MD, MSCE

The Cambia Health Foundation has named Jennifer Tjia, MD, MSCE, one of its 2015 Sojourns scholars, recognizing Dr. Tjia for her work in the field of palliative care.

The Sojourns Scholar Leadership program provides palliative care leaders with a two-year, $180,000 grant to support research, clinical, educational or policy projects. National leaders will mentor Tjia and nine other Sojourns scholars, further broadening their learning and leadership development opportunities.

Tjia, associate professor of quantitative health sciences, said she is grateful for the honor and the opportunity it allows her to work to implement her vision for the field of palliative care.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans have had a personal or family experience with palliative care, end-of-life care or hospice care; however, only half said they were prepared for the experience, according to Cambia. Tjia will use the grant to support her role as a leader of in the field of palliative care to further efforts to engage the community in the process of improving patient-centered advance care planning in the health system.

“Those in the field of palliative medicine are gaining a better understanding of what interventions improve outcomes for patients with serious illness,” Tjia said. “Integrating these practices into individual health care systems nationwide remains a significant challenge. Local adaptation, ownership, and support are essential for successful evidence-based practice change.”

The grant will help Tjia work closely with the Elder Services of Worcester Area, Inc., to develop culturally sensitive approaches to public health education and provider training for advance care planning.

The Sojourns scholars will gather in Portland, Ore., to be officially recognized at the 2015 Sojourns Awards and Palliative Care Summit on Oct. 29.

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