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A New Partnership on Researching the Virtues in Palliative Care

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June 24, 2016

A New Partnership on Researching the Virtues in Palliative Care

The ISHF is pleased to partner with Dr. Lucy Mkandawire-Valhmu, Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in her research on the experiences of palliative care patients in Malawi. As part of her research, Dr. Mkandawire is examining the impact that the nine virtues promoted by the Institute has on their lives.

I am excited about partnering with the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing at the University of Oklahoma. I am an Associate Professor at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the College of Nursing. The purpose of the current study on which we are partnering investigates the lived experience of female palliative care patients in rural Malawi, and their caregivers. Our objective is to understand and delineate women’s experiences within the context of a resource poor environment with the ultimate goal of offering policy recommendations for effectively scaling up the provision of palliative care in rural Malawi. In Malawi, AIDS is still the leading cause of death (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). For women, who are already disproportionately affected in the HIV epidemic, cervical cancer is also a major cause of death with mortality rates estimated at 80% (Munthali et al., 2015). As interventions are underway to improve prevention and treatment efforts of both cervical cancer and AIDS-related illness, the current need for palliative care at end of life particularly for women in rural areas, where 80% of the population is located, is great.  Introduced to the country in 2002, palliative care is a relatively new concept and there is a dearth of literature on best nursing practice for palliative care patients in the country. The need to rapidly scale up palliative care services is therefore urgent.  

This partnership fosters a multidisciplinary collaboration involving professionals in nursing and philosophy to innovatively strategize on how to preserve the dignity of women with limited resources at the end of their lives. The study is being conducted at a time when institutions of higher learning in the United States are striving to become more globally engaged in an effort to contribute to the development of citizens with a deeper global consciousness. This partnership between University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Nursing and the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing at University of Oklahoma enhances our capacity to contribute to the development of better informed global citizens among the students that attend our respective academic institutions. Through our partnership in conducting this study we can together attain the common goals of educating our students but also contribute to the development of knowledge that would enhance dignity and respect for human life.

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