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March 13, 2014 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2014-03-13

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Before the program,
participants can
browse exhibits.




Corby ',How Comm

Our Services

Benefactors of "Caring Coalition Conference" guarantee annua
end-of-life educational symposium will continue in perpetuity.

Ronelle Grier

Contributing Writer


ow in its seventh year, the Caring
Coalition Conference presented
by the Jewish Hospice and
Chaplaincy Network (JHCN) has received
funding that will guarantee it continues
to educate hundreds of health care profes-
sionals into the future.
The event, set for March 19, has a new
name this year — the Shenkman Weisberg
Caring Coalition Conference, named after
two philanthropic local couples dedicated
to educating health-care professionals in
Southeast Michigan to ensure quality end-
of-life care.
Miriam and Jack Shenkman of West
Bloomfield were the original visionaries who
gave seed money to the Jewish Hospice and
Chaplaincy Network in January 2007 to edu-
cate staff members about end-of-life issues
pertinent to their jobs.
"They pushed us on education for our
team and then asked why limit this, why not
have an impact on all people in our region
caring for people at the end of life; they
made the conference possible," said Rabbi
E.B. "Bunny" Freedman, JHCN director, and
conference co-chair with Carolyn Cassin,
president and CEO of the National Hospice
Work Group.
The Shenkmans increased their gift toward
education in June 2008. Then, last September,
local philanthropists Alvin and Henrietta
Weisberg of Bloomfield Hills matched funds
already given to JHCN by their friends, the
"The Shenkmans, with their vision, and
the Weisbergs, who stepped in with their
significant gift to turn the caring conference
into a permanent learning event, have recog-
nized that the only way the community will
benefit from quality, compassionate care is if
we invest in long-term education that synthe-
sizes what's available out there in the greater
world," Freedman said.
"The conference brings the best people


March 13 • 2014

Miriam and Jack Shenkman

Alvin and Henrietta Weisberg

from around the globe to present and
expand on the conversation so we can
have the best care possible. The donors'
transformative gift will allow us to contin-
ue doing this into perpetuity and, thereby,
enhance the care for every end-of-life
patient in Southeast Michigan:'
The Weisbergs are ardent supporters
of programs serving the aging population
and have made many significant financial
gifts to further this cause, including the
funding of an acute care center for the
elderly at William Beaumont Hospital in
Royal Oak.
According to their son, Steve Weisberg,
they were impressed with the growth
and success of the annual conference and
decided to partner with the Shenkmans to
create an endowment.
"My parents are very grateful they are
able to take care of themselves:' said Steve
Weisberg. "Rabbi Freedman has done
such a fantastic job with the conference,
and they thought, what better way to help
serve this population:'
Jack Shenkman said, "The Caring
Coalition Conference is a very worthwhile
project. It is done in an organized and beau-
tiful manner, with outstanding speakers. It's
become a very important project for Jewish
hospice, and we're proud to be part of the
group that helps make it possible:'

"Coping with Pain, Loss and Suffering:
Our Patients and Our Own" will be the
topic for this year's conference from 8:30
a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, at
Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield.
The conference, which began as a small
lunch-and-learn event with one speaker in
2007, has grown over the years to include
a wider range of speakers and a larger
number of attendees. Last year's confer-
ence, "Values, Ethics and Culture at End of
Life drew 875 participants, and this year's
attendance is expected to exceed that
number. More than 60 sponsors from all
areas of the health care system, including
funeral homes, have pledged their support.
Past topics have dealt with ethical end-
of-life choices, grief and bereavement
rituals, dealing with pain, compassionate
caregiving, the science of comfort care and
patient-directed care.
"We've created a much bigger footprint:'
Freedman said. "Our mission is to improve
hospice care for the Jewish community,
and this conference helps enhance care for
the entire community. It's allowed us to
become a leader in the field:'
Freedman explained that the Jewish
Hospice and Chaplaincy Network plays a
pivotal role in making the conference hap-

Next Week's Conference

"We are neutral; he said. "We can bring
the entire community together on this
topic because we are not competitive with
the hospices and health care systems:'
The Caring Coalition is comprised of
a diverse group of Southeast Michigan
hospices, hospitals and other organizations
whose purpose is to educate health care
professionals and the general public about
end-of-life issues, such as hospice and pal-
liative care.
The conference is geared toward pro-
fessionals who serve the physical and
emotional health needs of thousands of
patients and their families, including
social workers, nurses, clergy, case man-
agers, nursing home administrators and
other health care providers from Southeast
Michigan and beyond.
Experts in various fields will present
information on topics such as pain man-
agement, palliative care, emotional and
spiritual aspects associated with serious
illness, and coping with stress, grief and
loss, said Cheryl Weiss, JHCN educa-
tion director. There also will be a panel
discussion on "Coping with Pain, Loss &
Suffering: A Team Approach:' moderated
by Hospice of Michigan Medical Director
Dr. Michael Paletta.
A new twist this year will be presenta-
tions by two speakers who will share
their heartrending personal stories of
loss, grief and renewal: Gary Weinstein, a
Farmington Hills jeweler whose wife and
two young sons were killed by a drunk
driver in 2005, and journalist Joshua
Prager, a former medical student who
had to reinvent his life when he became
a quadriplegic after a bus accident in
Jerusalem 22 years ago.
"Gary Weinstein has the ultimate story
of pain, loss and suffering; he is the brand-
ing symbol of the idea that one can get
beyond it:' Freedman said. "Josh Prager's
life was in shambles after the crash; he lit-
erally had to reassemble his body and soul.
These two extraordinary human stories
will touch every heart."

Conference Details

Continuing Education Credits (CEUs)
are available for nurses, social work-
ers and nationally certified counsel-
ors, case managers, nursing home
administrators and clergy who have
already registered and complete an
Sign in, exhibits and a continental
breakfast are at 7:30 a.m. at
Shaarey Zedek; the program begins
at 8:30 a.m. For information, visit
www.caringcoalition.org or call (248)

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