On November 22, 2015 Ardmore Presbyterian Church, in Ardmore, PA hosted its second annual worship service and luncheon celebrating the Pre-Med Hospice Program…. for which they serve as the spiritual sponsor with Program Director Rev. Dr. Graham Robinson as a Parish Associate under the leadership of Senior Head Pastor Rev. James Hodsden. Dr, Mary Van Leeuwen is an Elder at the Church and a key member of its Pre-Med Hospice Task Force overseeing the Program.
Addressing the congregation that Sunday, here is what Dr. Van Leeuwen told them about the Program:
"Good morning. My name is Mary Van Leeuwen. I'm currently one of the elders
Here at Ardmore Presbyterian Church. I'm also on the church's advisory committee for the Pre-Med Hospice Volunteer Program. You all have a copy of a brochure in your worship folder which outlines the broad contours of this program, and I've been asked to flesh that out a bit more for you.
The Program itself actually began in 2006 recruiting local Pre-Med students from Haverford, Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore Colleges. Nine years later, the Program has expanded to add Princeton, Villanova, Ursinus, University of Pittsburgh and Eastern (my old professorial stomping ground.) The recruited students are trained by local hospice institutions to visit regularly on a one-to-one basis with a person in a hospice setting who is close to the end of their life.
Although hospice volunteer programs are now not uncommon, two features make this Program unique. The first is it self-consciously recruits undergraduate PRE-Med students, who are much younger than post-graduate med students, and are more at the beginning of their vocational journeys. The second is that the Program's model involves a partnership among colleges, hospices, and churches. Thus, the students not only receive the requisite training from the hospice facilities where they will be volunteering, but also interact with dedicated university chaplains or local church pastors in order to meet the spiritual and psychological challenges of their participation in end-of-life care. By the way, the students come from many (and sometimes no) faith traditions.
The Program Director, Rev. Dr. Graham Robinson (who is now one of our own Pastoral Associates) will be meeting regularly with pre-med students from Bryn Mawr, Eastern, and Haverford -- some of whom are already with us here in the sanctuary this morning, and who will be joined by others later. After today's Church service, we will be honoring this new cohort of trainees at a lunch in our Mill Creek Room. I can testify from previous experience that it is a pleasure to meet and interact with them. If you are able to join us for that lunch, we will be more than happy to welcome you as well. "
Mary S. Van Leeuwen, Ph.D.
Professor and Dept. Chair (Emerita)
Eastern University. St. David's, PA
At the luncheon following the worship service, the Rev. Dr. Graham Robinson introduced Dr. Winnifred Cutler and the other Task Force members and welcomed the students who joined attending congregation members for the luncheon.