Nurturing the Future of End-of-Life Care

“I learned to take into consideration how the patient’s illness is affecting the family.”
– Student who participated in Alive observational experience
“Anyone who is privileged to utilize Alive’s services will have the best care, compassion, and dignity in the moments when they need those things the most.”
– Student who participated in Alive observational experience

One of the things that makes Alive so special is that we are a nonprofit. The highest quality medical care is just the start of what we offer. Supporters of the Alive Institute help ensure that our Middle Tennessee community receives end-of-life education. Now, we have expanded our formal training of students across a broad range of disciplines fulfilling our mission to improve care around the world for generations to come.

Responding to demand from local colleges and universities, Alive recently hired an academic coordinator to facilitate observational experiences for students of medicine, nursing, social work, chaplaincy, and pharmacy. Participating local colleges and universities include Cumberland, Belmont, Lipscomb, and Vanderbilt, among others. A generous grant from the Memorial Foundation has made this program possible.

Under the direct supervision of an Alive mentor, students are introduced to the principles and practices that Alive uses to provide excellent end-of-life care to our patients and their families. Some of these students will pursue careers in hospice care. Others will bring our holistic, quality-of-life centered philosophy into their own professional specialties.

Hospice care was born from the need for a fundamentally different approach to medicine. Traditional medicine aggressively seeks treatments, even when no cure is possible, regardless of the toll on patients and their loved ones. Hospice makes quality of life the most important goal. Hospice pioneered the use of inter-disciplinary teams (doctors, nurses, aides, pharmacists, social workers, chaplains), so that the whole person and their family are cared for.

Jennifer Marciano
Jennifer Marciano, Alive’s academic coordinator

“We are changing the culture of medicine and end-of-life care by bringing the hospice discussion to students,” says Jennifer Marciano, Alive’s academic coordinator. “These students have the potential to make major improvements to the entire health care system, as they learn the value of our approach.”

Alive has already trained more than 200 students this year, and with the summer program in progress as well as the fall semester in the planning stages, that number is expected to double for 2018.

Contact us if you are interested in participating or want more information: 615.327.1085.

Health Care Professionals Learn How to Tackle Tough Topics
with Alive

The Institute of Medicine has stated that greater understanding of end-of-life options is needed among professionals, and not enough attention is paid to “developing clinicians’ ability to talk effectively to patients about dying,” in its report Dying in America.

The Alive Institute is working to bridge this gap by training health care professionals to provide better care and to be skilled in difficult conversations around the end of life. Building on the SHARE program, the Institute recently held a new CME/CMU training, Let’s Talk: Communication-Techniques for Difficult Conversations. The first presentation was made by Dr. Robert Berkompas, Alive’s chief medical officer, to a group of Tennova health care employees this spring.
If you are interested in learning about our training programs or scheduling a session, please contact Betsy Bond, director of education, at or 615.346.8408.