Childers' commitment to voluntary service as a student earned him a William H. Plater Medallion, an exclusive award that honors graduates who have excelled in their commitment to the community. After learning about hospice in a sociology course on death and dying during his sophomore year, he began serving as a patient visitor volunteer at Kindred Hospice. As a senior, he proposed the need for peer support for students pursuing health careers who are involved in hospice volunteering—a very intense, yet critically educative and important experience. As a result, a 1 credit experiential learning course was developed and is now in its third semester. “I’m convinced the mixture of active volunteering for hospice with discourse among students is a deeply potent, even life-changing, educational experience, particularly for future health care providers,” said Luonna Lancaster regarding the course.


I was quite surprised to receive the award, and while I’m happy to be recognized for my hard work, I’m even more pleased the course I helped create is receiving attention.

Chad Childers

Since graduation, Childers has remained engaged in health care and serving communities. He has worked in the business side of hospice care and as a camp counselor in Perth, Scotland, supporting children living with serious illnesses and their families. Recently, he rejoined the Medical Humanities and Health Studies program to serve as a co-facilitator of the hospice experience course and as a research assistant documenting oral history interviews for the Central State Hospital History Project. Last fall, he traveled to Peking University in Beijing, China, to present on the value of hospice volunteering in preparation for clinical practitioners—the topic of his paper co-written with Professor Emily Beckman. Childers plans to enter medical school within the next year to continue his journey in health care.

“We still haven’t figured out how to best care for patients at the end of their lives. . . but, an open willingness to understand mortality, academically and through service, can start us in the right direction," stated Childers.

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