Our Foundation| Volume 24, ISSUE 2, P20, March 2023

The Future of the Foundation

      My connection with the Foundation for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine has centered around its support for the Futures Program, which has been near and dear to my heart for many years. I clearly remember when Cheryl Phillips, MD, CMD, suggested that I fill her shoes and codirect the program with Cari Levy, MD, PhD, CMD. As I stepped into that role, I felt a strong desire to support the Foundation, especially as we moved away from pharmaceutical industry support in the early 2000s. Since I joined the Foundation’s board three years ago, I have come to appreciate the relentless volunteer efforts of board members and committee members that have shaped the Foundation.
      I cannot help but sing the praises of the current board members. Denise Wassenaar, RN, MS, NHA, who spent many years in PALTC as a nurse and most recently has been a leader within Matrixcare, has donated countless hours toward enhancing our development committees. Barbara Zarowitz, PharmD, MSW, BCPS, CGP, has led the effort to develop the committee responsible for reviewing research, clinical, and educational proposals. Jim Lett, MD, CMDR, excels in facilitating comradery in his efforts to grow and maintain the Industry Advisory Board, which connects the pharmaceutical industry, physicians, advance practice providers, and interdisciplinary team professionals in PALTC.
      Ken Brubaker, MD, CMDR, has faithfully served as secretary/treasurer of the Foundation board and led the financial committee, sharing a passion for good governance alongside Chris Laxton, CAE, the executive director of AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care. A year ago, we welcomed a new director, Victoria Hann, MPA, whose expertise in development is building on Chris Ewing’s previous work. I was delighted to learn that Victoria started her professional career right here at Duke University, where I work.
      And finally, I had the opportunity to follow Susan Levy, MD, CMD, in the pathway to the presidency of the Society (2017-2018), and I have been equally fortunate to follow her in the pathway to chairing the Foundation. Her dogged determination and endless good humor have blazed a clear path of progress.

      The Futures Program: A PALTC Workforce Development Initiative

      The Foundation has supported the Futures Program for over 20 years. The management of the program has been successfully transitioned over to the Society, where Chris Ewing continues to provide a steady guiding hand. Like all of us, the leadership of the Futures Program negotiated the COVID-19 pandemic, switching to an online program and then back to in-person in 2022. In March 2023, we will have the largest class yet of approximately 90 participants. Supporting workforce development is a key strategy of our Foundation, and the Futures Program will remain a large part of that strategy.
      The Foundation also has a growing portfolio that includes support for clinical education, development of clinical resources, and support for important research into our settings of care. It is positioned to provide exceptional stewardship of our financial resources.

      Thinking About Our Legacy

      As I take on the position of chair of the Foundation board this month, I will become a grandmother for the first time. This new role has me reflecting on my responsibility to provide a legacy for future generations, and it has also become a parallel experience to my work with the Foundation. As a grandmother, I aim to be adaptable, teachable, respectful, and supportive. Similar attributes are obvious among the board, staff, and committee members who are making our Foundation into an effective organization.
      As a grandmother, I hope to share my stories and experiences and serve as a link to my granddaughter’s cultural heritage and family history as I watch her grow and develop into a contributing member of the human race. The Foundation has a similar role, linking our historical values and mission to the future of our profession and practice.
      And finally, grandmas start as daughters, mothers, and friends; we grow into the role of grandmother. Similarly, as all of us make early investments now, we will build the legacy we aim our Foundation to provide.
      The Foundation is positioned to have an impact that will keep the practice of PALTC medicine relevant and sound — and that’s why our donations are important, however small. My own donations to the Foundation have been modest, but year after year they have added up. I am glad I have made the effort each year to contribute to the Foundation. I hope many new and existing members of the Society will systematically do the same. Together, modest but routine donations will provide a firm base of support in addition to the substantial contributions that some members have made and others are planning to contribute.
      Contributions are tax deductible and can be sent to the Foundation office or made online at
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      Dr. Heidi White (right) and her daughter, Hannah.
      Photo provided by Heidi White.
      Dr. White serves as vice-chief of Clinical Affairs in the Geriatrics Division at Duke University and senior fellow of the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. She also serves as geriatrics medical director for Duke Population Health Management Office, is a member of the executive steering committee for the Duke University Health System Geriatrics Operational Plan and is the medical director of Croasdaile Village Retirement Community. Dr. White is a past president of AMDA - The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine and will be chair of the Foundation as of March.