HPCC 2024 Award Winners

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Each year, the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center (HPCC) announces Certificant of the Year Awards to recognize certificants for their contributions to advancing expert care. Eligible certificants include currently certified individuals from all programs. HPCC also recognizes the Employer of the Year Award for employers that have provided sustained support to their employees through education and certification programs for hospice and palliative caregivers.

“We are so excited to see another outstanding group of HPCC award winners this year,” said HPCC Senior Vice President, Chad Reilly, MBA, CAE. “Each certificant and organization selected for an award personifies excellence in hospice and palliative care. HPCC congratulates all winners and looks forward to continuing to highlight the accomplishments of our certificants and employers for years to come.”

HPCC congratulates the following individuals, who were selected as 2024 Certificants of the Year and Employer of the Year.

Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (ACHPN®) of the Year:
Julie Findley, ACHPN®

Julie Findley is a family nurse practitioner for Hospice of the Western Reserve in Ohio. She is a mentor for new hires within her company, a trainer for the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC), and a subject-matter expert for an online modular program. In her work and community, she advocates for integrating palliative topics in primary care.

Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN®) of the Year:
Mary Mack, MSN, RN, PHNA-BC, CHPN®

Mary Mack is a level IV palliative care staff nurse at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California, where she is known for excellent patient care and the ability to educate her patients and families with compassion. As a public health nurse, she created a brochure on comfort feeding to assist families with this challenging topic. She is involved in her institution’s ethics committee and local community.

Certified Hospice and Palliative Pediatric Nurse (CHPPN®) of the Year:
Jennifer Palmer, RN, CHPPN®

Jennifer Palmer is known for providing pediatric palliative education at the local, state, and national levels, including regular, ongoing pediatric ELNEC training, to a local children’s hospital and care facility for severely developmentally delayed children. She supports continuing education and advancement of the specialty by contributing to the education and revisions of a local fellowship program and providing one-on-one mentorship to two fellows annually. In addition to her work educating, she orients new hires and provides support for her team with complex clinical scenarios.

Certified Hospice and Palliative Licensed Practical Nurse (CHPLN®) of the Year:
Dianna Leitch, LPN, CHPLN®

Dianna Leitch is employed by the Hospice of Western Reserve in Ohio and has been a hospice aide since 2010 and certified since 2015. She is involved in an End-of-Life Doula Program, spiritual care, and music therapy. She is often referred to as “the calm within the storm” and is highly regarded among her patients and their families as well as her peers and colleagues.

Certified Hospice and Palliative Nursing Assistant (CHPNA®) of the Year:
Ryann Demshar, CHPNA®

Ryann Demshar works at Hospice of the Western Reserve in Ohio and has been an aide for 15 years and certified for 11. She is recognized for her exceptional care and the time she spends bedside with her patients and families. She is committed to hospice and palliative philosophies and encourages and supports others to obtain additional training and certification.

Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Administrator (CHPCA) ® of the Year:
Jason Colbert, CHPCA®

Jason Colbert is the chief executive officer of Community Hospice in Vidalia, Georgia. He is a well-respected member of the community, and he has been dedicated to the hospice and palliative care community for many years. His positive outlook toward the end of life influences all he encounters.

Certified in Perinatal Loss Care (CPLC®) of the Year:
Sheree Young, RN, CPLC®

Sheree Young is the creator of the Help Endure a Loss (HEAL) program and has spent her time revising the program and working with thousands of families during their times of suffering and loss. She has worked to bring her program to several institutions since its inception in 1988.

Advanced Palliative Hospice Social Worker – Certified (APHSW-C) of the Year:

Jessica Curd is currently pursuing her PhD and is a professor at Ball State University in addition to her clinical practice. She is actively engaged in the community and political spheres, attempting to initiate change and health care reform from a variety of levels and approaches. She is also involved with those who are marginalized and vulnerable, most often with limited access to palliative and hospice resources.

Employer of the Year
Hospice of Central Ohio

Hospice of Central Ohio strives for excellence in patient care, staff, and professional development. The organization strongly supports certification by requiring full-time and part-time employees to make at least two certification testing attempts once they reach their second anniversary. Hospice of Central Ohio supports these efforts by covering the cost of a review course and using a Core Curriculum resource book. As of the March 2023 testing window, 72% of eligible teammates had obtained HPCC certification. Hospice of Central Ohio believes that to personify excellence, they need to balance and stretch efforts between both evidence-based practice standards and new and exciting innovations.