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Why Study Hospice and Palliative Studies MSHP at Madonna University?

  • MU is centrally located in the midst of a wide range of hospice/EOL care settings where internship and employment opportunities abound in SE Michigan.
  • New MSW and Chaplaincy Certification programs at Madonna University provide the only opportunity in the nation where future social workers and chaplains can elect coursework in trauma/loss and end of life care, preparing them for work in hospice and palliative care in one degree!
  • Intensive, year-long clinical placements with well-defined capstone projects in hospice/palliative care settings bring the classroom theory to the real world and exposure and networking that lead to fulfilling careers!
  • Faculty teach interdisciplinary, cutting edge content with specialties in integrative medicine, clinical grief counseling/family therapy, nursing home administration, hospice and palliative care nursing, and management, facilitating a learning environment where students bring unique life experiences that enhance classroom discussion among like-minded classmates.

The Master of Science in Hospice and Palliative Studies (MSHP) degree prepares individuals to serve diverse client populations during the terminal phase of life, to perform effectively as members of an interdisciplinary team whose goal is to enhance the quality of life by focusing on the physical, psychological, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of the hospice patient and family, and to become leaders in the hospice movement by their expertise in their chosen cognate area and research/capstone projects.

Graduate students are exposed to the hospice philosophy from its very inception through current day trends and practices, synthesizing past hospice history and analyzing hospice models of care that support palliative, interdisciplinary interventions in an advanced hospice practice across disciplines.

A new specialty certificate in trauma, loss and grief provides cutting edge content including hands on practice using integrative treatment modalities in bereavement counseling and spiritual interventions in advanced hospice practice and related health care and clinical settings.

Faculty and students recognize that it is a privilege to be part of a hospice team, in service to patients and their families as they discover opportunities in relationships at the end of a life.

The course of study then, for the hospice student body, often becomes a spiritual quest and an individual, personal journey with the aim of discovering the transcendent in everyday life and in all human relations. Madonna University continues to provide this sacred teaching and learning environment where discussion about end of life care is supported and fully embraced.


Employers of Alumni

Graduate Schools

Bereavement Specialist

Angela Hospice and Home Care

Madonna University (Pastoral; Hospice; Social Work)

Volunteer Services Manager

Arbor Hospice and Homecare

Wayne State University

Hospice Nurse

Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care East Tennessee University
Palliative Nurse Practitioner Sand Castles Grief Support University of Minnesota
Spiritual Care/Chaplain Funeral Home/After Care Support South University
Social Worker Hospital Palliative Care Programs  
Education Liaison of Patient/Family Liaison

Residential Hospice and Palliative Care

University Professor

Compassionate Care Hospice

Ge Gao

Ge Gao "Melody" '13 is pursuing doctoral study at The Hormel Institute at the University of Minnesota where she has been researching cancer prevention and treatment. “We focus on determining the basic molecular mechanisms of cancer development, and then use our findings for developing nontoxic, natural compounds that can be used to prevent, control or cure cancer.”

While completing her Master’s in Hospice and Palliative Studies at Madonna University, Melody’s research focused on “music thanatology” which means utilization of music an aspect of comfort care for hospice patients, families, and staff. “Although my current study focuses on discovering anti-cancer agents, the basic goal is also helping patients to relieve the pain, and provide a better life for them. Nevertheless, if I had not studied hospice and palliative care, I may have only cared about how a new chemical works, or how effective it is in the cure for cancer. Now, I consider the bigger picture at a deeper level, i.e., how to avoid side effects of the chemicals, and what is the best way for individuals to take the therapy. Interestingly, when we hold discussions now in our lab meetings, the most frequent words from me have become, “If I were a patient….”

Upon completion of her Ph.D., and return to her home country, China, Melody plans to continue her hospice and palliative career focus through employment as a University professor within medical school. “I will help my students understand hospice and palliative care in the way I truly understand it, and as I now say, “how I fell in love” with this philosophy. I constantly promote this idea to family, friends, and… more and more people around me, as a way to promote this concept that is not fully embraced yet in the traditional Chinese culture. I think it’s a good beginning.”

Melody would like to begin a new curriculum related to hospice and palliative care, and integrative medicine, believing that dying and grief are universal experiences that need more education, counseling, and grief support across cultures. “Several years ago, I knew very little about hospice and palliative care. I chose this major just because I have a medical background and I thought it would lead to more career opportunities in China” (where hospice care is not always understood and practiced).

Since graduation with her MSHP, Melody has completed her Ph.D. and is a published author in The Molecular Cancer Therapeutics (IF:5.764). She is also pursuing a position at the Shanghai Tongji University (top 10 in China) where she is currently working as a post-doc fellow with Dr. Jialin Zheng's (the Dean of the Medical School) in the lab. Lastly, Melody is building upon her hospice experiences and creating a new introduction to hospice and palliative studies course at Shanghai Tongji University!

Mary KraftMary C. Kraft
What year did you graduate with degree/certificates?
2017 Master's Degree in Hospice and Palliative Studies
2017 Master's Certificate in Bereavement, Trauma and Loss

Where are you working now?
New Hope Center for Grief Support in Northville, MI

How has your hospice degree/certificate(s) helped you in your current work or related service role?
I am the Program Director for a grief support organization. We serve grieving children and families by providing special events and programs. We serve adults in grief by providing on-going support groups, seminars and workshops to help them understand and normalize grief and connect with others who have experienced similar losses at similar times in their lives.

In thinking about your time at Madonna University, what are the highlights? What stands out for you? What did you like about being a student at Madonna?
The staff, Dr. Kelly Rhoades, Dr. Kathy Aseltyne, Ms. Anna Kostaraff and others of the Hospice and Palliative program are genuine. They know and understand the grief process and work to help improve society by enabling students to do our best and serve the grievers who need to know that grief is normal not crazy. They are also great advocates for the hospice movement that helps provide a more humane and family focused life until death.