Alyssa L. Bogetz Educational Fund
The Alyssa L. Bogetz Educational Fund to Integrate Care for Patients with Mental Illness Into Hospice and Palliative Medicine aims to provide educational offerings for multidisciplinary clinicians from the field of hospice and palliative care at AAHPM events that specifically address the challenges related to refractory mental illness in patients and families served.
The inaugural Alyssa L. Bogetz Educational Fund Lecture will take place on March 24 at the 2023 Annual Assembly Hospice and Palliative Care. National expert on psychological and psychiatric issues related to serious illness patient populations, Susan Block, MD FAAHPM will be presenting during the Friday morning keynote presentation entitled: “Integrating Core Mental Health Competencies: A Growth Edge in Hospice and Palliative Care”. Dr. Block will address issues related to refractory mental illness within the broader field of palliative care. This presentation will stimulate discussion, debate, and learning for multidisciplinary clinicians aiming to advance the support for patients with mental illness and their families.
Our daughter and sister Alyssa was extraordinary in her passion, sensitivity, care and courage. Like countless others who have lost a loved one, our family dedicated itself to creating a legacy to honor Alyssa's lifelong values, character, and personal struggles as she faced death from more than 20 years of anorexia nervosa. Establishing the Alyssa L. Bogetz Educational Fund within AAHPM is Alyssa's legacy.
Alyssa passed away in the summer of 2021 at the age of 36. In her last few months, Alyssa came to understand and accept that she could no longer live with her disease. As she continued to lose weight, each member of the family stuggled to reflect her courage and accept her decisions. Alyssa was directed to outpatient palliative and home hospice care under the hospice rubric which was very rare for those with mental illness - even one where death is due to its medical consequences. The care was compassionate, but it lacked nuance in understanding the unique aspects of death from a primary mental illness.
As our family discussed Alyssa's legacy, it was clear that we needed to engage her values and dedication to medical education with her life experience, particularly at its end. Our daughter, Jori, a member of the Academy, recognized that the fund's purpose dovetalled with AAHPM, its members, and the patients it serves. The Alyssa L. Bogetz Educational Fund provides for at least 10 years of AAHPM educational activities that catalyze throught, discussion, debate, and learning about the role of hospice and palliative care in the context of those suffering from mental illness.
Our family is honored that this is the first such fund at AAHPM. The Academy welcomed our family and the legacy we wanted to created. In less than 4 months, the fund was created and supported through the generosity of our family, relatives, friends, members of AAHPM, and others who knew Alyssa. It was Alyssa herself who wanted these discussions to begin so that those unfortunate enough to follow in her footsteps might benefit.
The Bogetz Family
Karen, Martin, Jori, Shauna, Kevin and Alyssa
Help AAHPM continue to provide these educational offerings in the future by making a gift to the Alyssa L. Bogetz Educational Fund.