The Madison-Deane Education Fund, formerly the Madison-Deane Initiative, is the educational arm of the UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice’s Hospice and Palliative Care Program.


The mission of the Madison-Deane Education Fund (MDEF) is to improve end-of-life care through inspiration, education and collaboration in the following ways:

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

The History of Madison-Deane Initiative (MDI)

Dr. James Madison

Dr. Robert Deane

In 1997, the idea of creating a program that would transform end-of-life care through education, collaboration and inspiration began to take shape following the deaths of James Madison, MD, and Robert Deane, MD, who died within months of each other from pancreatic cancer. Through the experience of their illness, Joan Madison and Estelle Deane set forth to realize their husbands’ shared vision to expand education for physicians and caregivers in advancing quality care for those who are dying.

The Impact of MDI

For two decades, MDI was a strong sponsor, collaborator, and leader in end-of-life educational initiatives across the state of Vermont and beyond. MDI offered yearly speaker events for the community with the most sought-after voices on end-of-life care issues. This “Knowledge is Power” series brought internationally known speakers such as Balfour Mount, Florence Wald, Timothy E. Quill, MD, Ira Byock, Marilyn Webb and more to Vermont. MDI also produced the award-winning documentary, “The Pioneers of Hospice: Changing the Face of Dying,” an historical narrative of the modern hospice movement capturing stories from the original pioneers: Dame Cicely Saunders, Florence Wald, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and Balfour Mount.

Additionally, MDI supported the medical students at the Robert Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont in an educational series on Palliative Care and in their Reflections Ceremony, and sponsored the Vermont Hospice Study to understand the barriers to hospice utilization in the state and to find possible solutions to the problem.

The Transition to Madison-Deane Education Fund

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

The UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice is proud of the work of MDI and is honored to continue the legacy of educating healthcare providers about the importance of quality patient-centered end-of-life care. The UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice is also excited to honor others doing similar work supporting the MDI vision and mission through establishment of the annual UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice Madison-Deane Award for Excellence in End-of-Life Care and the Betsy Gardner Scholarship.


UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice Madison-Deane Award for Excellence in End-of-Life Care

This award is given annually to a Vermont individual, group or organization that exemplifies the original mission and vision of MDI, thereby continuing the legacy of Drs. Madison and Deane and their original intent. Dr. Madison wanted to see physicians educated about pain assessment and control, and Dr. Deane wanted to see education about advance directives and hospice and palliative care, so as to prevent unnecessary suffering for patients at the end of life.

If you know of someone you feel should be nominated for this award, click here for more information, nomination criteria and a nomination form.


Betsy Gardner Scholarship

Betsy Gardner, RN, & Joan Madison, MD

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

To learn more about this scholarship, click here.



An Evening of Gratitude

In October 2017, guests of the UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice gathered at the Burlington Country Club for “An Evening of Gratitude” celebrating MDI’s 20 years of transformative work in the field of end-of-life care. Below are some photos from the event.


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 interview these remarkable pioneers.

The award-winning documentary, originally produced in 2005 by MDI in collaboration with filmmaker Terrence Youk, was updated in July 2017. The new edition features new voices of the hospice movement, including BJ Miller and Christopher Kerr.

To purchase a DVD of this film, please visit: