Created and funded by Athena Institute for Women’s Wellness, the hospice program is managed by its National Program Director, Rev. Dr. Graham Robinson who matches pre-med student volunteers with local hospices — to foster their sense of the spirituality, humanity, and concerns of end-of-life patients.
At its launch years ago, Dr. Cutler explained:
“The overall mission of the program has been to instill in pre-med students a sense of humanity and understanding towards the geriatric patient and 'end-of-life' care through hospice service... and to provide patients an opportunity to educate these young students in how to listen to their needs.”
Winnifred Cutler, Ph.D.
Founder Athena Institute for Women’s Wellness
Now in its 16th year, the program continues to grow and the mission remains steadfast. The volunteer pre-med students not only work with chaplains, hospices, and patients to enhance the delivery and service towards end-of-life humane care, they also earn medical school application credits for their potential future work in the underserved geriatric medical field.
In 2021 and 2022, COVID, restrictions blocked the trained students from their in-person hospice visits. Facing the challenge creatively, Dr. Robinson developed a series of "Spirituality Prompts” allowing the local chaplains to work with their volunteers online via zoom meetings. Instruction included reading impactful major authors relevant to the premed student’s engagement with death and dying…in turn, supporting their goals of gaining access to medical school and ultimately becoming more humane physicians.
This academic year we are pleased to have 108 students enrolled in the program from ten different colleges: Bryn Mawr College, Bucknell University, Haverford College, Johns Hopkins University, University of Michigan, Princeton University, University of Pittsburgh, Ursinus College, Swarthmore College, and Villanova University…