Bringing medical and spiritual communities together
VITAS employees with Dr. Sanders (l-r): Maureen Knips, V. President Operations, Mary Zalaznik, Sr. V. President, Marie Louisa, Community Liaison, President of the National Medical Association, Dr. Lawrence Sanders, M.D., Donna Borland, General Manager and Diane Deese, Community Affairs.
Deborah Mizell, RN, Community Liaison VITAS Innovative Hospice Care and Bobby R. Henry, Sr., Chairman of the VITAS African American Advisory Board
By Staff Writer
On March 24, 2015 at the Marriott Harbor Beach Hotel, there was a meeting of over 60 ministers, spiritual and community leaders and physicians to discuss the disparity of health care toward the end of life in our community.
“As I understand tonight our goal is to facilitate a dialogue with Black Ministers and Physicians from the community about the care of our community as one approaches the end of life (EOL). I want to suggest a protocol that I believe can facilitate the bridge building process between the Medical and the Spiritual and we move through the End of Life process. Naturally my discipline is tilted toward the Spiritual and that is where my prejudice lies as I enter this dialogue and make a few observations.,” stated Rev. Tony Dray-ton.
The program called, Bridging the Gap: “Bringing Medical & Spiritual Communities Together.” Diane Deese, Community Affairs, VITAS Healthcare states, “Through communication, VITAS is committed to building stronger communities by breaking down barriers that impede excellent healthcare.
The essence of Dr. Sanders’ speech was to move towards support for patients and their families with better communication between the medical and spiritual (faith based) communities.
“As Chairman of the VITAS African American Advisory Board, it is a welcoming pleasure anytime that an underserved community can receive well presented, informative information that can lessen the hardship for family, friends and the community as a whole when it pertains to end of life care,” said Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
Dr. Lawrence Sanders, the 115th President of the National Medical Association was the guest speaker. Other speakers were, Rev. Dr. Tony Drayton, of St. James Missionary Baptist Church, Rivera Beach, Fla. and Bobby R. Henry, Sr., publisher of the Westside Gazette.
The dialog centered on how to have the medical community and the faith community work together to help individuals and their families with difficult decisions with life limiting diseases or at life’s end.
“There will be follow up meetings and we invite more spiritual and community leaders to join in the conversation. It is important for the medical and spiritual communities to work together for the interests of the patients and families,” Mary Zalaznik, Sr. Vice President of VITAS Healthcare.
“We focus on the whole body of a person; physical, spiritual and emotional in providing high-quality health-care. My goal is to facilitate the conversation to “Bridging the Gap” in as many parts of Bro-ward County that I can. This is just the beginning,” Deborah Mizell, Community Liaison, VITAS Healthcare.
“From a humble clergy’s perspective the ideal of training, education, and exposure to thoughts and concept that can be used to bridge the gap between the Medical and the Spiritual Communities must be initiated within a dialogue such as the one that is set before us to-night… I am honored to be apart of the experience,” said Drayton.
Please look to the Westside Gazette in the coming weeks for several articles concerning end of life care and understanding the need to communicate medical and spiritual issues together as it relates to end of life care.