Two Hospice Programs Recognized for Their Efforts in Supporting Their African Partner Programs

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The Community Hospice of Albany, NY and The Denver Hospice Awarded FHSSA Global Partnership Awards

The Community Hospice and The Denver Hospice are to be commended for fostering partnerships that will have a lasting effect on each of their African partners.

The second FHSSA Global Partnership Award was presented today to The Community Hospice of Albany, NY and The Denver Hospice during the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s (NHPCO) Management and Leadership Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

FHSSA, which began as the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa, is an affiliate of NHPCO. It supports the development of partnerships between US organizations and African hospice and palliative care providers. The Global Partnership Award is an opportunity to recognize outstanding efforts by those partners.

“Reading through the applications submitted by our US hospice partners really drives home the importance of this partnership program. Each program approaches their partnership in a unique and meaningful way, making it so difficult to choose a winner for this award,” said John Mastrojohn III, executive director of FHSSA. “The Community Hospice and The Denver Hospice are to be commended for fostering partnerships that will have a lasting effect on each of their African partners.”


The Community Hospice partners with three African hospice programs: Island Hospice in Zimbabwe and South Coast Hospice and Tapologo Hospice in South Africa. The review committee was particularly impressed by three aspects of The Community Hospice’s partnership efforts: employee engagement, tailored partner visits based on the specific needs of each partner, and meaningful collaborations with each African partner.

“It’s a profound privilege to help people help themselves. We’re all in this together, and there’s real need in sub-Saharan Africa, but focusing on the despair would be missing the point. We need to focus on the living and the hope and the real spirit of the people, which has inspired us all,” said Ron Watson, CEO of The Community Hospice.

The Community Hospice went above and beyond to engage their health system’s 4,500 employees, using multiple creative ways to reach employees with the message about supporting the partnership including web banners, emails and sharing compelling stories during staff meetings about how the funds raised help the African partner.

Visits to their African partner programs were strategically planned by The Community Hospice to meet the unique needs of those partners. A staff visit to Island Hospice centered around a training on infant massage to benefit the large number of “failure to thrive” babies cared for by the program. Nurses at the South Coast Hospice received training in patient care, and a social worker/bereavement counselor provided bereavement training at Tapologo Hospice while a massage therapist offered a demonstration of the palliative effects of massage.

Collaborating with their African partner is an important aspect of FHSSA partner program. The Community Hospice collaborated with each of their partners to support the programs and projects that needed help the most. These included a Memory Box Project for children at South Coast Hospice, funding for a Children’s Shelter at Tapologo, and a significant financial contribution to Island Hospice to keep the program viable. The Community Hospice also funded travel expenses for the CEO of South Coast Hospice to attend NHPCO’s Management and Leadership Conference in the US.


The Denver Hospice partners with Selian Lutheran Hospice in Tanzania. It was clear to the review committee that this long-standing partnership has moved on to advanced stages of their collaboration. The Denver Hospice demonstrated in their application that they have achieved an impressive level of staff engagement in the partnership. The commitment to helping their African partner was evident in the time and effort spent consulting with Selian staff. Particularly impressive was an initiative spearheaded by two Denver Hospice nurses to visit, consult and advise Selian on how to improve their expertise in pediatric care. This effort was developed in response to a specific need in this area expressed by the African partner.

“Our 10 year partnership with Selian Lutheran Hospice has been one of the most profound undertakings of our organization. We have gained much love, wisdom and joy from our experiences with the Selian staff and community. Our employees are enriched by this mission that knows no borders,” said Bev Sloan, president and CEO of The Denver Hospice.

Fundraising efforts by The Denver Hospice were very successful and creative, including a community event that featured two local gospel choirs and two charismatic nurses from Selian Hospice, both of whom spoke and sang. Attendees had the opportunity to meet the nurses and learn first-hand the value of the partnership to Selian. Denver also held several fundraising luncheons and events at which they sold hand-made African gifts.

One of the most impressive features of this partnership is that it clearly demonstrated that their support of Selian has improved the sustainability and expertise of the African partner. Selian was able to raise $12,000 in support of their program through a local event. This is a significant amount of money in Tanzania. Not only will the funds raised support their critical programs, but Selian has garnered the expertise needed to raise funds in the future. This will be a long-lasting benefit from their partnership with The Denver Hospice.

For more information about FHSSA, contact Erinn Nanney at enanney(at)fhssa(dot)org or (703) 647-6684.

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