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Three Physicians Receive the NYC H+H Palliative Care ‘Success Award’

Dr. Fay Rim receives the Success Award from the chairs of the NYC H+H Palliative Care Council, Dr. Susan Cohen (left) and Dr. Tita Castor(right)

New York City Health + Hospitals has given its Success Award to three PAGNY physicians for promoting awareness and education of Palliative Care services at Metropolitan, Lincoln and Coney Island hospitals.

Dr. Marina Ivanyuk celebrates her Success Award with her Coney Island colleagues

The recipients were Dr. Fay Rim, Chief of the Department of Pain and Palliative Medicine at Metropolitan; Dr. Puneeta Sharma, Program Director and Chief of Palliative Care Services at Lincoln; and Dr. Marina Ivanyuk, Palliative Care Director at Coney Island.

The awards recognize the increasing importance of Palliative Care in treating patients at PAGNY-affiliated hospitals over the last decade. Palliative medicine focuses on improving the quality of life for people living with serious illnesses by providing relief from the symptoms and stress of serious illness.

The Success Awards are issued by the NYC H+H Palliative Care Council through a grant from the New York Community Trust and are aimed at improving quality of life for seriously ill patients through Palliative Care.

The awards are given to hospitals where medical professionals record a high level of participation in an online Palliative Care course created by the Center for the Advancement of Palliative Care. Metropolitan, Lincoln and Coney Island all had a high participation rate because Drs. Rim, Sharma and Ivanyuk promoted the online course and encouraged their colleagues to take part in it.

“Our goal is to maximize the quality of life regardless of how much time patients have left,” said Dr. Rim of Metropolitan, which was the first public hospital to create a Palliative Care Department in 2007. “It’s not about treating pain. It’s about giving patients quality of life.”

Dr. Puneeta Sharma

Dr. Sharma of Lincoln said, “We provide an integrated multidisciplinary service to our patients and their families to guide them through difficult times when their loved ones are faced with life-threatening illnesses.” Lincoln first began offering palliative care services in 2005.

Dr. Ivanyuk of Coney Island said she is proud that so many of her residents choose to apply for Palliative Care Fellowships. “We are a known service in our hospital,” she said. “Residents and physicians call us when they need us because they know whom to call.” Coney Island opened its Palliative Care unit in 2010.

The Palliative Care doctors said caring for patients with serious illnesses can be a very uplifting experience. “It gives a completely different outlook to appreciate the little things,” Dr. Sharma said. “Being able to help patients through their tough times is very rewarding and professionally very satisfying.”

Dr. Rim added, “What we do is try to celebrate life and focus on the very small moments that make life meaningful.”