2014 Award Winners

Awards of Excellence Logo


Orlando, FL. – On May 22nd, in conjunction with the 29th Annual Forum “The Journey Continues: Elevating Clinical Practice to New Heights”, Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association (FHPCA) announced the 2014 winners of the annual Awards of Excellence in Hospice and Palliative Care. The Awards of Excellence program was created to identify, recognize and showcase the outstanding and innovative work of individual staff members and hospice programs throughout the state of Florida. This award program aims to provide a venue for hospice professionals to honor their peers and highlight the very best hospice has to offer.


FHPCA is pleased to announce the 2014 winners:


The Barbara Janosko Excellence In Leadership Award recognizes an individual in a midlevel management position whose work has promoted the advancement of excellence in hospice and palliative care.

 Dr. Gail Cooney, Hospice of Palm Beach County

Since the beginning of her career in hospice and palliative care 20 years ago, Dr. Cooney has not only had her finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the field, she has worked tirelessly to improve the scope and quality of care for patients facing life limiting illness. Under her leadership, Hospice of Palm beach County has become one of the pioneers in Open Access, allowing patients to continue aggressive non-curative treatments while on hospice care. Dr. Cooney also helped to develop the Hospice Medical Director certificate program to demonstrate the knowledge and experience of hospice and palliative care physicians. The passion Dr. Cooney exudes for patients and families, manifested by her relentless efforts to improve the hospice and palliative care field are unmatched. Hospice of Palm Beach County proudly nominated Dr. Gail Cooney Barbara Janosko Excellence in Leadership Award in celebration of her continued dedication to improving and advocating for hospice and palliative care.


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The Excellence in Interdisciplinary Care Award recognizes an individual hospice and palliative care professional who has attained outstanding achievements in the direct provision of care to patients and families.

 Dr. Barry Miskin, Hospice of Palm Beach County

Dr. Barry Miskin has been a hospice physician at Hospice of Palm Beach County, visiting patients in their homes for seven years. Staff, patients, and families alike express an outpouring of admiration for Dr. Miskin with words like kind, compassionate, committed and hardworking.  Dr. Miskin sees every team member as being different, but equally valuable in assessing patient needs. He is always striving for the greater good, demonstrating passion about his work and his life. Instead of an open door policy, Dr. Miskin’s team says that he has an “open-heart policy” and exemplifies it in everything he does. It is not so much that he is there for patients, families and staff, it’s how he is there—he makes everyone feel needed and important. 


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The Catalyst Award recognizes an individual in any role within an organization who has consistently demonstrated leadership in forging the collaboration that makes hospice unique.

Pauline Taylor, Hospice of St. Francis

One definition of a Catalyst is a person whose talk, enthusiasm, or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic.  For Hospice of St. Francis, the Catalyst joined their organization five years ago, when Pauline Taylor, RN, BS, ACHE came on board as the Vice President of Business Development.  With over 11 years of working in hospice, Mrs. Taylor brought with her the knowledge of both business development and clinical services.  She has provided the arena for Hospice of St. Francis employees to thrive, contribute, enjoy the work they do and know they are appreciated.  She has been the Catalyst for growth and contributed to a strong sense of community throughout the organization!


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The Excellence in Program Innovation Awards, Clinical & Community Outreach, are presented to hospice and palliative care programs which demonstrate dynamic innovations or special initiatives.


Clinical Practice

The Clinical Ladder, Emerald Coast Hospice


Emerald Coast Hospice Clinical Ladder Program was developed to recruit and retain highly qualified staff in order to provide patients with excellence in clinical care and to be the employer of choice in the communities they serve. The Clinical Ladder Program includes both professional and paraprofessionals. The Ladder is structured to reward and incent behaviors which encourage clinical excellence in practice and in documentation and encourage the pursuit of continuing clinical education as CE credits, advanced degrees, and credentialing/certification in specialty areas of practice. Recognition and financial incentives are significant and substantial and equate to the commitment an individual makes in the Ladder. There are currently 103 Hospice employees participating in the Clinical Ladder. Emerald Coast’s commitment to hospice patients and families is reflected in the way they value their employees.


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Community Outreach

“What’s On Your Bucket List?”, Avow


Sometimes the easiest way to get people to talk about dying is to start talking about living. Avow discovered this while hosting their new community workshops called “What’s On Your Bucket List?” Staff were involved in support groups and heard the practicalities of group member’s dealing with the complication of grief on top of sorting out their deceased loved one’s remaining life affairs. In response, Avow created a life dossier for documenting information such as account numbers, documents and passwords. Additionally, they designed a fun and fact-filled session for community members to talk about where they find meaning in life and how they would like to be remembered. Combining joy (imagining travel plans and other adventurous activities) with thoughtful guidance was a winning combination for attendees. Materials were distributed in colorful plastic beach pails, and wine and cheese were served. The atmosphere was upbeat, informative and non-threatening: perfect for introducing many attendees to hospice for the first time.


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The Synergy Award recognizes a group of people in any role or configuration that has consistently demonstrated the ideals of collaboration and teamwork in working toward a goal or mission.

Haven Hospice Ambassadors, Haven Hospice


After a rigorous evaluation process, the Haven Hospice Executive Leadership Team chose Pam Giebeig, a hospice nurse; Tangela Wilson, a respiratory therapist; Vonceil Levine and Katie Alphahando, clinical social workers; and Arthur Clark, vice president and chief information officer to be Haven Ambassadors for a September 2013 exchange trip to Grahamstown Hospice. Upon their return, Haven Ambassadors created a presentation of photos, stories and music which they brought to all seven Haven Hospice offices that serve 18 counties across North Florida. With every story, our ambassadors have been able to remind Haven clinical and administrative staff about self-care — taking a moment in the day to slow down, being more present, and being patient with the pace of their day. Staff are now more mindful of the resources we have in the field and how to be better stewards of those resources.  They also raised awareness among the Haven employees of the challenges Grahamstown Hospice is facing and how their donations could uplift so many lives.


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The Hospice Story Award recognizes an individual in any role within a hospice organization who most creatively and effectively conveys what their hospice experience means to them.

“A Hospice Story – Mr. T” by Gail Gerntrup, Hospice of Okeechobee

 Gail Gerntrup tells the tale of an unusual patient and an unusual encounter. Like many hospice stories, this one has a little humor and a little difficulty, but ultimately demonstrates the impact of the things we do to reach even the most difficult patient. “This is for you, Mr. T.” 


Congratulations to the award winners for their dedicated work to quality hospice care in Florida!  


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