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Founded in 2007, Cambia Health Foundation is the corporate health foundation of Cambia Health Solutions. Since its inception, the foundation has invested over $30 million to advance palliative care awareness, access, and quality. Perhaps most notable has been the foundation’s work on the development of national leaders to advance and expand the field.
Armed with a vision of strategic philanthropy improving access to person-centered care and a personal commitment to palliative care, Mark Ganz, President and CEO of Cambia Health Solutions, helped launch the original Sojourns program, which funded the development of hospital-based palliative care programs in the Pacific Northwest while honoring the contributions of established leaders and raising awareness of the field. Today, Sojourns has expanded to include the Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program.
Based on learnings from the Project on Death in America Faculty Scholars Program from the 1990s, the program offers emerging palliative care leaders a two-year, $180,000 grant to conduct an innovative clinical, research, education, or policy project and complete a personal leadership development plan. Indeed, an advisory board, composed of national leaders, helps guide the program, mentors the scholar, and scholars gather for an annual two-day summit to share their work, collaborate, and receive training. The program emphasizes shared-learning and building connections between leaders and communities.
“Sojourns Scholars was the first program to invest in me as a person and as a leader,” said Arif H. Kamal, a scholar and board-certified palliative care physician from the inaugural cohort. “It was the spark that lit my fire, and now it’s clear to me what my trajectory is.”
Engagement with scholars continues beyond the two-year initial grant. Graduates are invited to serve as future mentors, present at subsequent summits, and review new scholarship applications. As of June 2017, the program has graduated four cohorts with ten leaders each, for a total of $7.2 million in grants. These scholars are now doing groundbreaking work across the palliative care field. The Foundation was honored by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine with a Presidential Citation in 2017.
In 2018, Cambia Health Foundation expanded eligibility for the program to include social workers, physician assistants, chaplains, psychologists, pharmacists and other health system professionals. The expansion reflects growing recognition that quality care involves all members of the interdisciplinary care team and system-wide reform. “Cambia Health Foundation is committed to building the palliative care workforce of tomorrow by investing in emerging leaders across many different disciplines,” said Peggy Maguire, President and Board Chair of the Foundation. “Our ultimate goal is to improve the patient and family experience by serving as a catalyst for system and culture change.”
Learn more about Cambia Health Foundation here.