Soon after the deaths of James Madison, MD (left) and Robert Deane, MD (right), their widows, Joan Madison and Estelle Deane, sought to memorialize their husbands’ shared vision of providing exceptional care to those who are dying.

The men, who lost their battles against pancreatic cancer within months of one another, had recognized the need to expand educational opportunities for physicians, clinicians and caregivers supporting those at the end of life.

In 1997, the Madison-Deane Education Fund (formerly the Madison-Deane Initiative) was born. The Fund is the educational arm of Home Health & Hospice’s Hospice and Palliative Care program. Its work includes supporting continuing education for clinicians and other care providers, producing the award-winning documentary, “Pioneers of Hospice: Changing the Face of Dying” and presenting the annual Madison-Deane Award for Excellence in End-of-Life Care. Know a worthy recipient? Nominate them here.

The Fund’s Mission

Improve end-of-life care through inspiration, education and collaboration by:

  • Being a catalyst for the acceptance of death as a natural part of life.
  • Being a leader for education, information and resources relevant to end-of-life issues.
  • Supporting those who create and encourage dialogue about how individuals and families face life-threatening illness.


For two decades, Madison-Deane was a sponsor, collaborator and leader in end-of-life educational initiatives. It highlighted the most sought-after voices on these issues, drawing renowned speakers such as Balfour Mount, Florence Wald, Timothy E. Quill, MD, Ira Byock, Marilyn Webb and others to Vermont through its “Knowledge is Power” series.

Madison-Deane produced the award-winning documentary, “The Pioneers of Hospice: Changing the Face of Dying,” an historical narrative of the modern hospice movement.

Additionally, Madison-Deane supported students at The Robert Larner College of Medicine at The University of Vermont in an educational series on palliative care in their Reflections Ceremony. It also sponsored the Vermont Hospice Study to understand barriers to hospice utilization and find possible solutions to the problem.

Shift to Madison-Deane Education Fund

In 2017, the Initiative’s 20th anniversary, it transitioned from being a Home Health & Hospice program, with a volunteer advisory council, to an educational fund within our Hospice and Palliative Care program. The Madison-Deane Education Fund continues the legacy and impact of the Initiative’s mission through educational initiatives supported by the work of the Hospice and Palliative Care team and through continued community partnerships.

Home Health & Hospice is proud of the Initiative’s work and honored to continue the legacy of educating health care providers about the importance of quality patient-centered end-of-life care. We’re also pleased to honor others supporting the Initiative’s vision and mission through establishment of two awards: the annual Madison-Deane Award for Excellence in End-of-Life Care and the Betsy Gardner Scholarship.

Excellence in End-of-Life Care Award

The Madison-Deane Award for Excellence in End-of-Life Care is given annually to a Vermont individual, group or organization that exemplifies the vision of Drs. Madison and Deane and its mission to help others accept death as a natural part of life and encourage education and dialogue about facing life-threatening illnesses.

Learn more about the award and nominate an individual, group or organization.

Betsy Gardner Scholarship

Betsy Gardner, RN and Joan Madison, MD

Awarded to Vermont registered nurses with the purpose of supporting the continued professional development. The scholarship was established in 2017 in honor of Betsy Gardner, RN, a skilled, compassionate hospice nurse and friend of Drs. Jim and Joan Madison. Gardner cared for Jim at the end of his life and changed the course of his illness.



‘Pioneers of Hospice: Changing the Face of Dying’

Four visionaries stand out in the history of the modern hospice movement. What they saw of the process of dying changed their lives. They were appalled, not by the natural act itself, but how our society hides it, denies it, misunderstands it and fails to cope with it. The makers of this film traveled to three countries to capturing stories from hospice’s original pioneers: Dame Cicely Saunders, Florence Wald, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and Balfour Mount.

The award-winning documentary, originally produced in 2005 by the Madison-Deane Initiative, in collaboration with filmmaker Terrence Youk, was updated in July 2017. The later edition features newer voices of the hospice movement, including B.J. Miller and Christopher Kerr.

To purchase a DVD of this film, please visit: