Each year the Hospice Foundation of America (HFA) presents a nationally recognized distance learning program, live via satellite and webcast, to more than 125,000 people in 2,000 communities. For more than a decade, this annual educational program has been instrumental in educating health care professionals and families on issues affecting end-of-life care. The program provides an opportunity for a wide variety of professionals including doctors, nurses, funeral directors, psychologists, educators, social workers and bereavement counselors to share and exchange ideas and obtain continuing education credits.

This year HFA's 17th Annual National Bereavement Teleconference focuses on "Cancer and End-of-Life Care." The teleconference will address care options related to cancer diagnoses as well as loss and grief reactions for patients, families and professional care-givers. The teleconference will also examine psychosocial aspects of cancer, pain management and ethical issues related to the disease. Moderated by Frank Sesno, Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University, the program will be broadcast Wednesday, March 24, from 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Sesno will lead the panel of noted authorities that includes: Yvette Colón, Director of Education & Support at American Pain Foundation; Malene Davis, President & CEO at Capital Hospice; Kenneth J. Doka, Professor of Gerontology at The College of New Rochelle; Richard Payne, Director, Institute on Care at the End of Life, Duke University; Sherry R Schachter, Director Bereavement Services at Calvary Hospital/Hospice; and Brad Stuart, Medical Director at Sutter VNA & Hospice.

Each year this award-winning, televised broadcast is seen in more than 2,000 communities across North America, reaching an estimated live audience of 125,000 people. The teleconference is produced by Hospice Foundation of America, a not-for-profit organization, which acts as an advocate for the hospice concept of care through ongoing programs of professional education, public information and research on issues relating to illness, loss, grief and bereavement.

St. Luke's Hospice will host the teleconference from two locations - Priscilla Payne Hurd Education Center, Lecture Room 1 on St. Luke's – Bethlehem Campus and St. Luke's Hospice office, 777 Blakeslee Blvd, Suite 6, Lehighton. A panel discussion featuring local noted authorities will take place for 30 minutes immediately following the conclusion of the national teleconference. Local panel participants at the Bethlehem session include: Ric Baxter, MD, Director, Palliative Care, St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network; Rev. Anne G. Huey, BCC, Manager, Spiritual and Bereavement Care, St. Luke's Hospice; Roderick Quiros, MD, Surgical Oncologist, St. Luke's Cancer Center; Jennifer Sinclair, MEd, NCC, LPC, Program Director, The Cancer Support Community (formerly The Wellness Community). Local panel participants at the Lehighton location are being confirmed.

Registration is not required. For additional information on the Bethlehem session, please call Wendy Littner Thomson, M.Ed., NCC, St. Luke's Bereavement Coordinator & Counselor, at 610-997-7121. For additional information on the Lehighton session, please call Janie Connor, RN, OCN, St. Luke's Hospice, at (570) 645-1840.