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Galinson endowment helps Rady Children’s enhance care for children with serious illness

Experiencing a life-limiting or terminal illness is difficult for anyone, but when a child receives this kind of diagnosis, the fear and trauma can be especially overwhelming. Pediatric palliative care is specialized care that supports young patients and their families, providing symptom relief, counseling and referrals to services. It also supports patients’ and families’ emotional, developmental and spiritual needs. Palliative care is helpful for patients with any serious or complex illness, not just those nearing the end of life.

At Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, improving life for pediatric palliative care patients and families is a high priority. Recently, La Jolla philanthropist Elaine Galinson helped advance this critical work.

Fueled by compassion and dedication to serving the community, Galinson made a significant leadership investment to create the Galinson Family Endowed Chair in Palliative Care. The palliative care program is led by Ami Doshi, MD, FAAP, a board-certified pediatric hospitalist and palliative medicine physician who has been named the first Galinson Family Endowed Chair in Palliative Care.

“I am thrilled to be able to support Rady Children’s through this endowment to provide guidance and comfort to families as they navigate difficult care decisions,” Galinson says. “To do that at the highest level means the Hospital has to be able to recruit, or in this case, retain outstanding medical leaders like Dr. Ami Doshi. Her work has such a profound impact on families who often may feel lost in a complex system of appointments, decisions and unknowns.”

A devoted community leader, Galinson’s extensive philanthropic efforts have helped improve quality of life for children who cope with challenging health issues. Her gift to Rady Children’s, which comes from a donor-advised fund managed by the Jewish Community Foundation, is shedding light on this care area that is often overlooked.

In the U.S., about 500,000 children face the challenges of life-threatening conditions each year. According to the Center to Advance Palliative Care, more than 4 in 10 of these pediatric patients are under age 1.

At Rady Children’s, more than 20,000 patients facing complex conditions are admitted to the Hospital each year. Its palliative care program has already served 700 families and that number is expected to grow with the endowment.

Dr. Doshi joined Rady Children’s in 2007 and is passionate about providing exceptional care for every child. In 2021, she received the CSU Shiley Haynes Institute for Palliative Care Doris A. Howell, MD, Award for Advancing Palliative Care to honor her achievements in the field.

Under Dr. Doshi’s direction, Rady Children’s palliative care team coordinates inpatient programs for young patients with life-threatening illnesses and connects families with outpatient and home-based services, with a priority on giving children and parents a voice in their care goals.

Consulting with families and specialist physicians, Dr. Doshi’s team focuses on finding solutions that ease symptoms and providing emotional support to patients and families at every stage of a life-limiting illness.

“I believe families must have access to services that are intuitive, seamless, comprehensive and nurturing,” Dr. Doshi says. “Continuity of care is critical, and this endowment helps ensure that Rady Children’s will have a leader now and in the future who will provide intentional care for medically complex and terminally ill children. I am honored by Elaine’s investment in me and in our program.”

Since palliative care is often not reimbursed by insurance, “philanthropic support is vital to ensuring every child has our full support whenever and wherever they need it,” says Patrick Frias, MD, president and CEO of Rady Children’s. “Through Elaine’s generosity and Dr. Doshi’s leadership, Rady Children’s palliative care program is poised to provide an enduring resource for patients and families.”