Pallium India-USA Volunteers Complete Stanford Mini-Fellowship

2014 February 4
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pallium_stanfordVolunteers from Pallium India-USA recently took part in a training to help them better serve the members of the community: Stanford University School of Medicine’s Successful Aging Mini-Fellowship Program. They joined together for a graduation ceremony at the James H. Clark Center on Stanford campus on November 21, 2013.

Under the direction of Dr. VJ Periyakoil, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine and Director, Stanford Palliative Care Education & Training, and Director, Stanford Hospice & Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program, the Program included a full day of training on July 26, 2013 in Successful Aging and End-of-Life Care. It also included training in ethnogeriatrics focused on Asian Indian and Chinese Americans.

“We knew that everyone would be creative, but we had never realized the extent to which they would do so,” said Dr. Periyakoil in her address to the graduating class. “It was wonderful seeing people reach into their own community and serve.”

The program culminated with mini-dissertation projects to build awareness among older adults of South Asian descent on healthy aging. These community-based projects included presentations on Bollywood dance, computer skills for seniors, effective communication with one’s physician, fall prevention, Indian Meals on Wheels, pet companionship, and Advance Health Care Directives to ensure end-of-life care wishes are respected.

Stanford’s Successful Aging Mini-Fellowship Program is a dynamic collaboration of educators and individuals committed to making a difference in our community, and a wonderful complement to the work of Pallium India-USA on issues of healthy aging and end-of-life care.

“This was an exemplary display of talent, skill and enthusiasm by our team members, and it demonstrated that much can be achieved by joint effort to serve the needs of our aging Indian community in a culturally sensitive manner,” said Pallium India-USA Founder and President Dr. Jerina Kapoor. “Thank you Dr. Periyakoil for inviting us. We learned a lot and hope to connect with our community with this knowledge.”

Congratulations to the 32 Pallium India-USA members receiving their Mini-Fellowship: Indira Anupindi, Asha Bajaj, Dinesh Bajaj, Abhay Bhushan, Cybele Bhushan, Ranjita Chakravarty, Kersi Daruwalla, Shilaja Deshpande, Sharvari Dixit, Gopi Godhwani, Lakhjinder Jauhal, Chandrika Kapadia, Jerina Kapoor, Anandi Krishnamurthy, Hema Kundargi, Sulochina Lulla, Meera Madan, Matra Majmundar, James Maloney, Rosaline Maloney, Rekha Marathe, Bhupen Mehta, Anoo Nathan, Radhika Padmanabhan, Zed Palkin, Smita Patel, Surjeet Patel, Sangita Seshadri, Alpana Sharma, Hetal Sheth, Priti Singh, Pushpa Sreeharsha.

Click HERE to view an album of the photos taken at the event.

– Written by: Pallium India-USA volunteers Smita Patel and Jay Maloney

Pallium India- USA kickoff event

2014 February 4
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usa_eventSaroj Pathak and Dr Jerina Kapoor, writing from Pallium India – USA inform us of the first meeting of the year of the Pallium core group at San Jose, California on Saturday 25th January, 2014.

The meeting celebrated the award of a mini–fellowship by Stanford University on Successful Aging and End of Life Care, a proud achievement for Pallium!

The meeting also developed goals and strategy for 2014 for Pallium India – USA. Pallium India – USA’s mission statement now reads ‘Healthy Aging and a life with Compassionate Care and Dignity for the South Asian community living with serious or advanced illnesses, whether in USA or India’.

Participants had a wonderful opportunity to listen to a motivational talk by Swami Prasannatmanandaji on the subject of ‘Aging and Spirituality’. He shared some inspiring thoughts and there was good dialogue. Swamiji said “Don’t believe that you are serving others, you are privileged that they are giving you the opportunity to serve”

Pallium India’s visit to CFHI

2013 November 10
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The chairman of Pallium India Dr. M.R.Rajagopal and volunteer Sunshine Mugrabi were privileged to visit the offices of Child Family Health International (CFHI) in San Francisco, an organization created by Dr. Evaleen Jones when she was a medical student. We spent time with the director Dr. Jessica Evert and the team. It was a good exercise to review the program in all its aspects. Currently, four palliative care professionals from CFHI are with us in Trivandrum, going through their one month attachment.
alex macy
From one of the previous batches, two participants, Ms. Lindsay Brahm and Ms. Mary Macy Jacob (Alex) wrote narratives on their experience in Trivandrum which were published in an indexed journal – the Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy. In the picture you see Alex in our Pediatric Palliative Care clinic. Here are the abstracts, with the citation.
When two worlds meet: Lyndsey M Brahm
Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy. 2012;26:278–279.
The author is one of four American premedical students traveled to India to spend a month with Pallium India ( to learn about palliative care at Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences, in the south Indian state of Kerala. The program was arranged by Child Family Health International ( They attended classroom sessions and joined the palliative care team during home visits and hospital consultations. They learned not just what palliative care is, but also how to understand and adapt to another culture. It was shocking to learn that all health care expenses are often out-of-pocket for most of the developing world and to see the extent of the suffering involved in life-limiting diseases. The students saw how the medical professional could adopt a basic and simple approach to medicine, acting as a mix of scientist, humanist, and spiritualist. She concludes that we in the United States too seem to be learning the value of such an approach and to make better use of available resources to improve the quality of life of those who are suffering.
Through the Eyes of Child: Reflections on My Mother’s Death From Cancer. Mary A. Macy
Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy. 2013;27:176–178.
Before being exposed to palliative care, I had lived through 15 years of emotional suffering, beginning with my mother’s relapse of leukemia. My mother died 12 years ago; however, the suffering did not end there. Palliative care helped me find meaning and purpose in my suffering. During her illness I received no explanations about what was happening to my mother, and I felt utter emotional loneliness. I received no help in coping with the uncertainties of my mother’s life with cancer or of her dying process. The experience left me sad and angry.
Sheltering a child from truth does not lessen fear or alleviate pain; it only causes feelings of confusion, anger, embarrassment and shame.
You can also read Alex’s blog on her visit here.

Dr M.R. Rajagopal Inspires Packed Crowd

2013 October 28
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Ms Sunshine Mugrabi, Pallium India’s volunteer in USA, writes:
Dr M.R. Rajagopal, Pallium India Chairman gave an impassioned and inspiring talk to a standing room only crowd on October 24, 2013. Hosted by Dr. Jyoti Lulla and Dr. Jerina Kapoor of Pallium India-USA, the evening event was held at Kaiser in Santa Clara, California.Dr. Rajagopal spoke of the urgent need to bring pain relief and appropriate palliative care to the suffering millions in India. He also shed light on the ongoing struggle for a palliative care policy by the government of India, which is progressing but has also encountered frustrating roadblocks.

In his talk he recounted the stories of two women in India who embodied the two extremes of end-of-life care. This dramatically illustrated the need for appropriate palliative care in the country. First, the story of a woman who was subjected to a kind of “high tech medical torture” in a prominent, well-known hospital in India, where she lay dying in the ICU with bright lights and unnecessary machines attached to her. The doctors there were deaf to the pleas of her daughter–who happens to be a palliative care physician in USA–for a more humane last few weeks of life. Her wishes were not honored.

“Unfortunately advance care directives tend to be ignored in Indian hospitals,” said Dr. Rajagopal, who lauded Pallium India-USA’s work in bringing the issue of Advance Healthcare Directives to the Indian community in the USA, where such documents tend to be respected and honored.

Next, he told the story of a young woman who came to him writhing in pain from advanced pancreatic cancer. Pallium India’s doctors treated her pain with morphine, which is available in the organization’s home state of Kerala at a relatively low cost.

As Dr. Rajagopal explained, relieving her pain was the easy part–as it turned out, the patient was afraid to die in peace because of fear that her 8-year-old daughter would be returned to the father who had tried to molest her. Pallium India then stepped in and helped provide legal protections for the daughter, so the woman could leave this world without fear. The happy result is that the young girl is living with an aunt and grandmother and the father is not allowed near her.

As always, Dr. Rajagopal’s quiet yet insistent tone resonated with many in the room, who shared their own stories and concerns about the need for palliative care in India, and indeed throughout the developing world. Pallium India-USA’s contributions have enabled development of a palliative care facility in Jamnagar in Gujarat, with plans for development of two  training centers, one each in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

The event was hosted by Pallium India-USA, with the generous use of Kaiser by member Dr. Jyoti Lulla, with a delicious dinner prepared by women in the group. Also in attendance was Dr. Evaleen Jones, founder of Child Family Health International, which partners with Pallium India to raise funds and awareness of the organization.In all, an inspiring, well-attended event. Click here for pictures of the event.

Pallium India USA 2013 OCT 24

Seminar for Seniors on Advance Healthcare Directives, at ICC Cupertino on 7th.

2013 October 6
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There will be a Seminar for Seniors on Advance Healthcare Directives at India Community Center, Cupertino, California on Monday, 7th October, 12 noon.
Learn how to fill this important form and take charge of your health care!
20589 Homestead Road, Cupertino, Ca  95014.

(Located in in a building called International Oddfellows Lodge at the intersection of  DeAnza Blvd and Homestead Rd.)

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