Significant gaps exist between cancer patients and their doctors – gaps in communication, information, empathy, and understanding. To address these gaps and support patients during their cancer journey, Dr. Cordovano founded Enlightening Results, a private, personalized patient advocacy service which specializes in the cancer arena. She is a champion for palliative care and wants to see it be incorporated earlier in cancer treatment planning paradigms. Dr. Cordovano is a member of the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates (APHA), the Society for Participatory Medicine (SPM), Health 2.0 NYC, and an ambassador for Citizen Health.
Sharon retired from a long career in the corporate world in 2014 to care for her mother full time. When Sharon’s husband was subsequently diagnosed with frontotemporal degeneration and she couldn’t find the resources or support she needed to best care for him, she had to create her own resources. Helping those recently diagnosed with early onset dementia and their caregivers has become a mission that is particularly close to Sharon’s heart. Sharon firmly believes that the palliative care services her husband has received since his diagnosis have lessened her stress and enhanced her husband’s life. She has shared her experiences as a care partner speaker at the NIH 2017 Research Summit on Dementia Care and Services, as well as at national caregiver conferences. She also facilitates a local support group and an online chat for care partners, and produces a monthly podcast with a dementia expert to give families much needed information.
Mary lives with chronic Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, a bacterium she acquired during a lifesaving hospital procedure. Pseudomonas is considered a “superbug” and resistant to antibiotics. She is on lifetime antibiotics to keep the bacteria out of her bloodstream and contained on the biofilm of her aortic graft and valve replacement. She is passionate about palliative care – it has helped Mary endure 98 x-rays, 20 CT scans, 14 ECHOs, heart failure due to the septic shock, and 6 rehospitalizations so far. She has also seen palliative care help her husband and others who are close to her. Mary lives in North Carolina with her husband, a dog and two cats.
Michelle (Shelly) Reinhart
Shelly’s experience as caregiver for her brother during his battle with cancer – during which palliative care services were never offered – activated her as a palliative care champion. For months, she questioned daily whether she was doing the right thing for her brother. She wonders now what his life and death would have been like if he and their family had access to palliative care services when they needed them. Shelly became a volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS-CAN) in 2009. She volunteers at Relay for Life events and has held numerous lead positions within the organization. Shelly has attended ACS-CAN State Lobby Day in Sacramento for many years, as well as National Lobby Day in Washington, DC, for the last 3 years. She uses her story to convince policymakers to pass beneficial legislation.
As a dually board-certified Clinical Healthcare Chaplain who has experienced two cancer events, chronic illness, and severe injury, as well as caring for family members through their illness and dying processes, Selene has a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities that people with serious, chronic, life-limiting illness or injury face. She is specially attuned to psychosocial-spiritual needs and their potential impact on individuals, their care partners, and healthcare teams. Selene’s mission is to educate, encourage and empower members of her community to explore ‘how to live fully when we realize we are going to die.’