Foundation Establishes Palliative Care Nursing Education Fund at St. Luke’s

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The Judith Adele Agentis Charitable Foundation (JAACF), a Bethlehem-based nonprofit, has established The Judith Adele Agentis Palliative Care Nursing Education Fund at St. Luke’s University Health Network.

The education fund will provide scholarships that help make it possible for nurses to participate in professional certification programs, attend conferences and seminars, and earn continuing education credits in the field of palliative care. Three nurses are pursuing their Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing Certification with support from the fund.

JAACF St. Luke's Palliative Care Nursing Fund

Credit: St. Luke's University Health Network

From left to right: Christine McCausland, RN; Kimberly O’Connor, MS, RN and Susan Rodriguez, RN, are the nurses who received support from the new education fund.

“JAACF is committed to supporting educational opportunities to expand the impact of pain management through palliative care,” said Robert Agentis, founder and chairman of JAACF. “It is an honor to have the opportunity to offer scholarships to health care workers seeking higher education and certification. Our mission is expanding to help advance pain management services through palliative care.”

Robert Agentis founded JAACF in honor of his late wife, Judith, who passed away in 2013 of pancreatic cancer. The organization’s mission is to help others cope by delivering hot meals, hope and fellowship for patients and their families at St. Luke’s Brian D. Perin Hospice House. The foundation has delivered more than 20,000 meals since its inception in addition to early cancer detection education for pancreatic, liver and colon cancers.

The foundation has a goal to build an endowment fund that will support annual educational opportunities within the palliative care program, as well as ambitions to establish a fund for a Palliative Care Advanced Practice Fellowship Program at St. Luke’s, which would be the first of its kind in this region.

“We look forward to future opportunities to expand our educational assistance,” said Agentis.

“Throughout the pandemic, our palliative care teams worked around the clock, tending to their patients and keeping them in good spirits,” said Dr. Erin Bendas, DO, MA, Section Chief, St. Luke’s Palliative Care. “We are so fortunate that this fund was established to support the growth and development of these talented and devoted nurses, who are so passionate about the care they provide. It is this kind of generosity that powers our work.”

Contributions to the fund can be made payable to St. Luke’s JAACF Palliative Care Nursing Education Fund and sent to St. Luke’s Development Office, 801 Ostrum St., Bethlehem, PA 18015. Donations may also be made over the phone by calling 484-526-3067.

Note: This local health news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.

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