Producers nominated for AAHPM Humanities Award
Last week, producers Michael Bernhagen and Terry Kaldhusdal were informed by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) that they are among the nominees for its 2017 Humanities Award for their work on the Consider the Conversation film series.
This award recognizes people whose work has advanced the relationship between the humanities and palliative care, and who have employed the discipline of the humanities to improve end-of-life care through community or professional education.
Past winners include Christina Pulchalski, MD, FACP (2015); Atul Gawande, MD (2011); Rachel Naomi Remen, MD (2010); Randy Pausch, PhD and Jeffrey Zaslow, authors of The Last Lecture (2009); and Bill Moyers (2006).
Bernhagen and Kaldhusdal’s first project – Consider the Conversation: A Documentary on a Taboo Subject – was greatly influenced by their own personal experiences with loss and highlights important questions for contemplation and discussion as shared by terminally ill patients and the medical professionals who care for them. On September 18, 2010, Mike wrote a moving editorial about his mother’s death for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel titled A Sad Goodbye, But Life Changed. In that same issue, Terry shared the powerful story of how he learned about his brother’s terminal prognosis in New Perspective from Tragic News.
Their second project – Consider the Conversation 2: Stories about Cure, Relief, and Comfort – was inspired in part, by bearing witness to the slow, incremental decline of their fathers-in-law. It explores some of the unintended consequences of American medicine’s success at fighting disease/extending life and sheds light on the important role of the patient/doctor relationship and patient/doctor communication when living with severe chronic disease.
Kaldhusdal’s father-in-law, Chuck, who appears in both films, died on January 10, 2016. Bernhagen’s father-in-law, Gene, was admitted to hospice on August 26, 2016.
The winner of the 2017 AAHPM Humanities Award will be honored at the AAHPM Annual Assembly in Phoenix, Arizona in late February 2017.