Transformative Gift from Jo Elyn Nyman Allows Hospice of Michigan to Expand Pediatric Services, Research Statewide

Respected U of M Pediatrician Dr. Kenneth Pituch Joins HOM

DETROIT, October 2, 2015 – Hospice of Michigan will be able to expand its pediatric hospice, palliative support and research programs statewide – thanks to a transformative gift from Jo Elyn Nyman, a pediatric psychotherapist and supporter of children’s causes.

The Nyman gift allows the organization to offer care services free of charge to children and families across the Lower Peninsula under a new umbrella program called the Jo Elyn Nyman Anchors Programs for Children. Her gift was made possible by funds from a foundation established by her parents, the Samuel and Jean Frankel Foundation.

The donation, which was announced at last night’s Chandeliers in the City gala, gives Hospice of Michigan a significant start on a planned $25 million expansion of its pediatric services.

In addition to the statewide growth of pediatric hospice and palliative support programs this fall, the organization is also working to establish the Center for Pediatric Research and Education under the umbrella of the Hospice of Michigan Institute. This will be a first-of-its-kind research center in the nation dedicated to exploring and educating on the unique end-of-life issues faced by children and their families.

“We are deeply indebted to Jo Elyn Nyman for her incredibly generous financial support, which will allow Hospice of Michigan to expand our services and offer pediatric palliative support and hospice care to families across the state,” said Robert Cahill, president and CEO of Hospice of Michigan. “Her vision will allow us to better meet the needs of Michigan families facing the toughest of challenges: the serious illness or death of a child.

“Since the inception of our pediatric programs in 1995, we have served nearly 1,200 children and families. Jo Elyn’s gift will ensure that all parents and children who need and seek compassionate care and support will be able to receive it at no charge.”

As part of this expansion, Hospice of Michigan will welcome Dr. Kenneth Pituch, professor of pediatrics and medical director of the Pediatric Palliative Care Program at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, as the program chair for the expanded pediatric program. He joins a team of 16 physicians, nurses and social workers focused on pediatric palliative support and hospice care for more than 220 pediatric patients and families, primarily in West and Southeast Michigan.

A resident of Birmingham, Nyman supported the organization’s initial expansion of pediatric palliative services to Southeast Michigan in 2013.

The Nyman Family Anchors Programs include:

  • James B. Fahner Pediatric Hospice, which was established in 1995 and named for Dr. Fahner, a pediatric oncologist at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital who started the program. One of the only resources nationally to offer a dedicated pediatric care team, the Pediatric Hospice Care program provides comfort care, nursing, spiritual, emotional and grief support for children facing a terminal illness and their families.
  • Compass Palliative Support for Children, formerly known as the Pediatric Early Care program, which is designed for children, adolescents and young adults with potentially life-limiting illnesses who want to continue curative treatment and are not eligible for traditional hospice services. As the name implies, Compass Palliative Support is a social work-based initiative that works to help families navigate the complex and often confusing healthcare system while providing necessary social and emotional support, along with connections to essential community resources. This allows families to experience improved quality of life and spend more special moments together.
  • Perinatal Hospice Care, which offers medical, emotional and spiritual support for families anticipating life-threatening conditions for their unborn child. A specialized care team walks with the family through pregnancy, labor, birth and bereavement, ensuring parents have the support they need during this most difficult of times.
  • Center for Pediatric Research and Education, which will conduct research initiatives based on best practices at the bedside with opportunities for end-of-life care training programs for students, residents and fellows. The new Center will be a program of the Hospice of Michigan Institute, which is the only research and innovation center in Michigan focused on end-of-life care.

More information is available by visiting Parents and families seeking services can call a toll-free number dedicated to pediatric programs at 1.888.247.5704.

About Hospice of Michigan
A nationally recognized leader in end-of-life care, Hospice of Michigan is the original – and largest – hospice in the state. The nonprofit cares for more than 1,700 patients each day, raising more than $4 million each year to cover the cost of care for the uninsured and underinsured. HOM offers a broad range of services to enhance the quality of life at the end of life, including At Home Support™, our advanced illness management program, community-based palliative care and pediatric care programs. HOM provides grief support and counseling, caregiver education and support, and education programs for physicians and health care professionals through its research, training and education arm, the Hospice of Michigan Institute. For more information, call 888.247.5701 or visit