Faculty News

Dr. Susan Gerbino Advances Palliative and End-of-Life Care in Singapore

Esther Chachkes and Susan Gerbino at Assisi Hospice Bereavement Care Service Meeting. Photo courtesy of Andy Sim, MSW '13.
Esther Chachkes and Susan Gerbino at Assisi Hospice Bereavement Care Service Meeting. Photo courtesy of Andy Sim, MSW '13.

Clinical Professor Dr. Susan Gerbino and Dr. Esther Chachkes, the Director and Mentorship Program Director respectively of our Zelda Foster Studies Program in Palliative and End-of-Life Care (PELC), are concluding nine days in Singapore as Health Manpower Development Plan (HMDP) Visiting Experts on Palliative, End-of-Life, Grief, and Bereavement Across the Care Continuum. Their visit was also sponsored by the Lien Centre for Palliative Care at Duke-NUS Medical School.

Together, Drs. Gerbino and Chachkes have met with key leaders and presented lectures, seminars, and workshops for social workers as well as doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals at Singapore's National University Hospital (NUH), Alexandra Hospital, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), Tang Tock Seng Hospital, and Assisi Hospice. They have addressed topics including Training and Development Needs of MSWs in Palliative Care; Enhancing Healthcare Communication; Strengthening Social Work Leadership within Interprofessional Care Teams; Enhancing the Resiliency of Care Providers in the Face of Death, Dying and Suffering; and Ethical issues in the Care of the Dying and the Bereaved in the 21st Century.

Singapore-based NYU Silver and Zelda Foster MSW Fellowship alumni Alexis Koh, MSW '16; Andy Sim, MSW '13; and Terina Tan, MSW ’10, developed Drs. Gerbino and Chachkes’ agenda, coordinated the logistics, and secured the HMDP funding, which is made available by Singapore's Ministry of Health to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and skills amongst healthcare professionals of similar interest in hospitals and institutions across the public healthcare sector.

Koh is a Senior Medical Social Worker at NUH, where Tan is a Principal Medical Social Worker. Sim, who also completed our Zelda Foster Leadership Fellowship in May 2019, is a Principal Medical Social Worker at SGH. In their funding proposal, they noted that Singapore's Ministry of Health has sought to increase palliative care services, capabilities, and quality in recent years. They wrote that, through Drs. Gerbino and Chachkes' visit, "we endeavour to adapt and contextualize the knowledge and skills, frameworks, and experiences learnt from the overseas experts to provide timely, effective and seamless PELC services, and grief and bereavement care services for patients suffering from chronic and life-limiting illnesses, and their families across care continuum."