Pathways to Palliative Care
Dr. Hibah Osman—From Social Justice to Palliative Care
Marcin Chwistek, MD FAAHPM
Osman (middle, bottom row) takes time to relax with her colleagues.
“It is very timely that we are having this discussion!” said Hibah Osman, MD MPH, with noticeable excitement in her voice. “Just yesterday I made the big step of sending an e-mail out to all of my family medicine patients that I’m no longer going to be practicing as a family physician. I am switching to full-time palliative care. It is a huge step in my life career.”
It was an early December evening in Beirut when we spoke via Skype. Osman is the head of Balsam (a word that has its roots in Greek and means “any agency that heals, soothes, or restores”)—the Lebanese Center for Palliative Care—a nongovernmental organization that she founded in 2010 with the help of just a couple of part-time volunteers. Over the last 7 years, she has transformed it into a highly functioning multidisciplinary team that now provides 24/7 outpatient palliative care in Beirut.