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Palliative and End of Life Care

The Evolution of the Field: A Tribute to Zelda Foster

December 10, 2010

Zelda Foster was a pioneer in the founding of the hospice movement in the United States and a national leader in bringing Palliative and End of Life Care to veterans and their families. Zelda's 1965 seminal article about the social work role in helping veterans and their families manage a life-threatening diagnosis was read by Dame Cicely Saunders in Great Britain, the founder of St. Christopher's Hospice, the first modern hospice in the world. Cicely and Zelda became fast friends and, together with Florence Wald, the hospice movement in the U.S. was born.

This conference is a tribute to Zelda, who died in 2006, leaving behind an enormous network of colleagues and friends as well as a loving family. All proceeds from the conference will benefit the Zelda Foster Studies Program in Palliative and End of Life Care at the Silver School of Social Work. The Program’s mission is to develop and mentor social work students and leaders in the areas of clinical practice, education, research, publication, and administration. This program was established by Zelda's family and friends after her death and was inspired by Zelda's life-long commitment to mentoring social workers both here and abroad.

In addition to keynote addresses by Terry Altilio and Joan Berzoff, the conference will also include a performance by Taren Sterry of her one-woman, Off-Broadway show, "180 Days". This humorous and poignant show is about Taren's first six months working in hospice - it is not to be missed.


The conference was made possible by generous grants from

The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation

The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation

The Zelda Foster Fellows Program is supported by

The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc. & Jewish Foundation for Education of Women


Jewish Foundation for Education of Women The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation


The Zelda Foster Studies Program in Palliative and End of Life Care at the NYU Silver School of Social Work was begun and is sustained by donations from Zelda's family, friends and social work colleagues.