Two Hospice Pioneers Honored at Annual Gala Celebrating Heroines

For Immediate Release:
April 3, 2012

Two Hospice Pioneers Honored at Gala Celebrating the Heroines and Humanitarians of Hospice and Palliative Care
Bernice Catherine Harper and Ann Morgan Vickery Helped Shape Hospice Care from its Early Days – Eleanor Clift and TODAY Show also Honored

(Alexandria, VA) – Two outstanding leaders in hospice care were honored tonight by the National Hospice Foundation at its 8th Annual Gala, “Celebrating the Women of Hospice: A Salute to Heroines and Humanitarians,” an event held as part of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s 27th Management and Leadership Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, Md.

Bernice Catherine Harper “Global Vision Award”

Bernice Catherine Harper received the Global Vision Award in recognition of her work in expanding access to palliative care in Africa. Ms. Harper toured hospices in Zimbabwe and South Africa with other American hospice leaders in 1999 and recognized the tremendous impact that the burgeoning AIDS pandemic was having on African hospice leaders and their programs. Many countries and regions had no hospices, while the hospices that did exist were severely challenged. In response, Dr. Harper and her colleagues formed the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa, now known as FHSSA.

Trained as a social worker, Dr. Harper has dedicated her career to critical healthcare issues including minority health issues and hospice care.

Don Schumacher presents the Global Vision Award to Bernice Harper.

Among her many leadership positions in the healthcare field, she served as the Medical Care Advisor to the Health Care Financing Administration, and was the first chair of a national task force to improve access to hospice care by minorities.

“Bernice’s vision for caring has had a far-reaching impact and created a lasting change in Africa. Thanks to her dedication, we are changing the way pain is managed and improving the care and support people receive at the end of life in Africa,” said John Mastrojohn, executive director of FHSSA.

Ann Morgan Vickery “Healthcare Architect Award”

Ann Morgan Vickery was given the Healthcare Architect Award, which is granted to those who have made a significant impact on the delivery and understanding of hospice and palliative care. A partner at the international law firm Hogan Lovells in health practice, Ann often counsels clients regarding the impact of federal laws, regulations and policies, with a particular emphasis on Medicare and Medicaid. She was involved in the enactment of the Medicare Hospice Benefit in 1982 and continues to have a special interest in end-of-life care.

Prior to her work at the law firm, Ann served for a number of years in the executive branch of the government, at the U.S. Department of Treasury and as a White House staffer.

Congressman Bill Gradison
presents Ann Morgan Vickery with the Healthcare Architect Award

It is through Ann’s mission that the vision of a world filled with the best care humankind can offer will become a reality,” said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. “We are grateful to both of these outstanding leaders for their dedication and leadership.”

Eleanor Clift Receives the “Buchwald Spirit of Caring Award”
The mistress of ceremonies for the gala was Eleanor Clift, Newsweek correspondent, author, political commentator and member of the NHF Board of Governors.

Clift was presented with the final award of the evening, the Buchwald Spirit of Caring Award for Public Awareness. This award was created in 2008 to honor author and columnist Art Buchwald for the positive public voice he gave to hospice as he lived the final year of his life. 

In the presentation of the Buchwald Spirit of Caring Award, NHF President and CEO J. Donald Schumacher said, “Through her poignant memoir, Two Weeks of Life, many articles and commentaries as well as her speaking engagements and interviews, she has raised the awareness of many Americans regarding care of the dying. We are truly honored to have Eleanor as our champion.”

TODAY Receives “Buchwald Spirit Award”

Earlier in the evening, NHPCO and NHF hospice ambassador Torrey DeVitto presented the Buchwald Spirit of Caring Award to the TODAY Show. NBC’s landmark morning news program has a history of producing outstanding stories about hospice care and the powerful impact hospice can have on patients, family caregivers and the community.

“TODAY hosts Matt Lauer and Ann Curry have both shared their very personal family experiences with hospice care and have helped raise awareness teaching millions of viewers about all that hospice offers,” said DeVitto as she presented the award which was accepted by producers from the Washington bureau.

More than 600 people attended the gala that celebrated heroines and humanitarians from among the hospice community.


Jon Radulovic
Vice President, Communications
Ph: 703-837-3139