At its annual meeting held virtually this morning, Hospice of Southern Maine presented Dr. Nirav Shah with its Pope Leadership Award, named and defined for its first recipient, Katherine S. Pope, MD. It recognizes, among other things, an individual of visionary leadership and commitment to healthcare quality who strives to forge partnerships for the betterment of hospice care and the community as a whole.

“As Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and our fearless leader during the pandemic, Dr. Shah has truly personified those characteristics,” noted Daryl Cady, CEO of Hospice of Southern Maine. “He has been Maine’s most trusted, informative, and compassionate source of COVID healthcare guidance. For that, we are humbly grateful and honored to recognize him as the recipient of this year’s award.”

Dr. Shah graciously accepted the recognition, sharing his personal story of hospice care provided during his father’s hospice experience. He also gave attendees a “State of Health in Maine” update, during which he said: “In looking forward to where things might be going, the pandemic is far from over. Although it is not ripping through states and countries as it was one year ago, it is still very much a phenomenon. In the US we are still seeing 250-300 deaths every day. In Maine right now, we have on any given day roughly about one hundred people who are hospitalized because of COVID-19.”

He also acknowledged the important role healthcare workers continue to play, saying, “COVID-19 has been joined up by other viruses now. For young kids, RSV continues to be a problem. Just in recent weeks, we’re seeing a significant increase in the rates of influenza across the state of Maine, so much so that we are starting to grow concerned about what that means for hospital bed capacity. You all rose to the challenge during COVID, in ways that frankly I don’t think anyone could have predicted before. But now that we are dealing with other health crises in addition to COVID-19, the work that you all do is more important than ever.”

Dr. Shah’s full remarks can be viewed on Hospice of Southern Maine’s YouTube page.

In addition to the presentation of the Pope Leadership Award, Daryl Cady provided a report to corporators at the meeting that detailed the organization’s successes in the previous year.

Over the course of 2021, Hospice of Southern Maine:
– Employed 153 healthcare workers
– Cared for 1,900 patients across 68 towns and islands in southern and western Maine
– Provided bereavement services to 4,287 people
– Engaged 122 volunteers contributing 7,151 hours

Hospice of Southern Maine is a non-profit organization with the mission to provide compassion, care, and comfort through end of life. Formed through a collaborative effort among York and Cumberland County leaders and health care providers, Hospice of Southern Maine (HSM) organized in 2001 and began providing direct patient services in 2004. Today, HSM cares for nearly 2,000 patients annually, at the patient’s home, current care facility, and Gosnell Memorial Hospice House, an 18-suite inpatient facility in Scarborough. HSM admits patients with a variety of diagnoses, including Alzheimer’s; heart, lung, and kidney diseases; stroke; Lou Gehrig’s disease; and cancer. Care is patient-centered with family support and provided by a comprehensive interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, aides, chaplains, grief counselors, and volunteers. Hospice of Southern Maine is a non-profit 501(c)3, Medicare certified state licensed agency, and the largest independent provider of hospice services in Southern Maine. To learn more, visit