Upcoming Events

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has several upcoming events that might be of interest to SWHPN members. See below for details about their upcoming Virtual Conference: Hot Topics in Palliative Care (July 8-10, 2014) as well as their Clinical Team Conference (October 25-29, 2014). For more information about how to register, please visit the NHPCO website.

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2nd General Assembly Convenes 300 Social Workers

A SWHPN Press Release

Click here to read the Full Press Release

2nd SWHPN General Assembly Unites 300 Social Workers in Hospice & Palliative Care

March 28, 2014

The SWHPN General Assembly not only creates a forum for palliative social workers to learn from the extraordinary accomplishments of colleagues, it also provides visibility of our specialty in the larger palliative care community.”

— Grace Christ, SWHPN Chair

San Diego, CA —The 2nd annual Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network (SWHPN) General Assembly brought 300 social work and other health care professionals together to share innovations and opportunities in psychosocial care.


The assembly, held March 10-11 at the Westin San Diego in conjunction with the annual assemblies of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA), featured 90 plenary, symposium, workshop, breakout and poster presentations from across the nation and abroad. Building on the sense of togetherness and purpose generated at the 2013 assembly, this year’s event highlighted the diverse work of emerging leaders and new palliative social workers while honoring the career achievements of seasoned experts in the field.


For this era of health care reform, palliative social workers bring critical skills to care coordination, behavioral health care, and managing patients presenting complex medical, psychosocial, and community issues.  They promote the quality and efficiency of health care teams and service delivery.

— Gary Stein, SWHPN Vice-Chair

SWHPN Chair Grace Christ emphasized the importance of this annual event: “The SWHPN General Assembly not only creates a forum for palliative social workers to learn from the extraordinary accomplishments of colleagues, it also provides visibility of our specialty in the larger palliative care community.”




SWHPN, a professional organization for social workers in end-of-life, hospice and palliative care, emerged in 2007 from leadership-building initiatives spanning more than a decade, including the Project on Death in America’s Social Work Leadership Awards Program, funded by the Open Society Foundations. The overarching goal of that program, and now SWHPN, was to provide a forum for palliative social workers to collectively exercise leadership and develop and disseminate their knowledge and skills. SWHPN now boasts more than 550 members and 4,500 newsletter and social media subscribers.


SWHPN continues to forge collaborative partnerships with organizations that share its primary mission to advance psychosocial palliative care by connecting professionals in this specialty area to share knowledge and resources. SWHPN’s Board of Directors, consisting of leading social workers, nurses, physicians and other professionals in the US and Canada, convened on the evening of March 9 and unanimously approved the organization joining the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care (http://www.nationalcoalitionhpc.org), providing a social work voice in palliative care policy alongside other leading organizations in the field.

“For this era of health care reform, palliative social workers bring critical skills to care coordination, behavioral health care, and managing patients presenting complex medical, psychosocial, and community issues.  They promote the quality and efficiency of health care teams and service delivery,” said SWHPN Co-Chair Gary Stein of the Board’s decision to join the coalition.


“Our membership in the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care furthers recognition of our national constituency, our ability to support and promote policy as well as practice, education and research, and our enduring commitment to palliative care and hospice,” added SWHPN Chair Grace Christ.


To learn more about SWHPN and to become a member, visit http://members.swhpn.org.

Click here to read the Full Press Release

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SWHPN/PDIA Award Recipients Announced!

On behalf of the SWHPN Board and Awards Committee, we are pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s PDIA Career Achievement Awards, SWHPN Awards of Excellence, and SWHPN Emerging Leader Award! Join us in congratulating the Awardees and celebrating our collective achievements in Palliative Social Work!

These distinguished colleagues will be accepting their awards at the 2nd annual SWHPN General Assembly, to be held March 10-11, 2014 in San Diego. The two PDIA Awards will also be presented at the AAHPM Awards Breakfast on March 13th. There is still time to register!



Daniel S. Gardner, PhD,
LCSW Chair, SWHPN Awards Committee
Associate Professor, Silberman School of Social Work

Download the .pdf file: Awards announcement

PDIA Career Achievement Award
Iris Cohen Fineberg, PhD, MSW, OSW-C

Iris Cohen Fineberg has dedicated her career to advancing oncology social work, palliative social work, and social work education. She is Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Stony Brook University’s School of Social Welfare.

A life-long leader in our field, she is currently President of the Association of Oncology Social Work. Dr. Fineberg has taught social work and sociology to medical students, as well as health professionals from numerous disciplines.

She has worked at length in clinical and research ethics, serving on hospital ethics services and chairing the Institutional Review Board at the School of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University, England.

Dr. Fineberg directed an intensive International Palliative Care Research summer program for health care and community organization professionals from over 20 countries and 12 disciplines. She co-led the Masters in Hospice Leadership and the Masters in Health Research specializing in palliative care and helped design the first PhD in Palliative Care. Her research interests focus on palliative and end of life care, with specific attention to interdisciplinary education and practice, advance care planning, and family conferencing.

PDIA Career Achievement Award
Susan Gerbino, PhD, LCSW

Susan Gerbino, PhD, LCSW, Clinical Associate Professor at the New York University Silver School of Social Work, has dedicated her career for over three decades to professional practice, teaching, training, mentoring, and leadership development for social workers who practice with individuals with life-threatening illnesses and the bereaved.

Dr. Gerbino is an outstanding teacher, has held many leadership roles, and has received numerous grants for her palliative care initiatives. She is the founder and director of the Zelda Foster Studies Program in Palliative and End-of-Life Care, named for the pioneering hospice and palliative care social work leader. The program’s mission is to educate and mentor the next generation of social workers in palliative and end-of-life care.

She has contributed greatly to social work practice in palliative and end-of-life care, working diligently to build nationally recognized MSW and Leadership Fellowship programs, while actively contributing to scholarship in this specialty area. Her professional accolades include: Social Worker of the Year (2005), NYS Chapter of NASW; Distinguished Practitioner of the National Academies of Practice; Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and the Education Issues and Training Award at the 6th Annual International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health.

SWHPN Award of Excellence
in Psychosocial Research and Professional Education

Taryn Lindhorst PhD, MSW

Taryn Lindhorst is Associate Professor at the University of Washington, School of Social Work in Seattle, WA, and holds the Carol LaMare Term Professorship in Health Practice.

She is also a member of the Leadership Team of the University of Washington Palliative Care Center of Excellence, and a member scholar of the International Institute for qualitative Methodology, University of Alberta, Canada, documenting her research expertise in this area.

Dr. Lindhorst has devoted her career to advancing training and education in the field of palliative social work, has focused her scholarship on strengthening the knowledge base in palliative care, and has built an infrastructure of support and collaborative partnerships that will continue to benefit social work graduates in the field of palliative care for years to come.

SWHPN Emerging Leader in Professional Practice and Education Award
Christine Wilkins, PhD, LCSW

Christine Wilkins, Ph.D, LCSW is a Social Work Supervisor in Palliative Care at New York University Langone Medical Center. Her responsibilities include policy and program development, and hospital-wide education on palliative and end of life care.

She is also Adjunct Professor at NYU Silver School of Social Work. She received a Ph.D. in Clinical Social Work from NYU after undergraduate social work studies at the University of Malta, and an MSW from the University of Toronto.

She completed the End of Life Certificate Program at Smith College, and is currently enrolled in the NYU Zelda Foster Palliative Care Social Work Leadership Program. She is member-at-large on the NASW-NYC Chapter and the International Association for Social Work with Groups board of directors.

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Share the Love: Comment To Win a SWHPN Membership

Share the LOVE and win a FREE SWHPN membership!

What do you think we can do to move social work forward in our field?

Comment on this post between Feb. 7-15th and you will automatically be entered to win a free SWHPN membership, valued at $95!! [We will pick one entry at random]

Click here for details on SWHPN member benefits.

San Diego Conference 2014


Join us at the 2nd Annual SWHPN General Assembly

March 10-11th, 2014, San Diego, CA


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Meet the Experts and Share the Warmth in San Diego!

  • Meet with other experts
  • Network with colleagues
  • Lift the social work voice in palliative care
  • Connect with a mentor about your next career steps in practice or research
  • Learn about new approaches to assessment and interventions
  • Consider new teaching, social work and interdisciplinary education methods
  • Develop your practice and leadership skills!

And if you can stay a bit longer,  enjoy the warmth of southern CA and /or attend the AAHPM/HPNA with your team members! There are a host of extremely interesting posters and we will be giving awards to the top five!  Check them out at link at the end of the agenda.SWHPN General Assembly March 10-11, 2014 in San Diego.

San Diego Conference 2014

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Reminder Awards Deadline on Jan 31st – Nominations are easy

Honor a valued colleague in San Diego!  Just complete your recommendation in the online form, one other letter and the individual’s cv.  Nomination forms can be submitted electronically and can be accessed at http://swhpn.org/nomination/.

For further description of the awards go to

http://www.swhpn.org/social-work-leadership-awards/San Diego Conference 2014

The Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network (SWHPN) has presented the Project on Death in America (PDIA) Social Work Leadership Award to 7 outstanding social work leaders and 4 SWHPN Awards of Excellence. In order to recognize outstanding achievements in the advancement of social work in palliative care, the organization is  accepting nominations for awards in the following categories:

  • PDIA Career Achievement Award
  • SWHPN Emerging Leader in Professional Practice
  • SWHPN Awards of Excellence in Clinical Practice, Professional Education, Psychosocial Research, or Policy/Administration

Nominations can be made for a specific category or for general consideration across categories. Recipients will be selected by the Awards Committee and the SWHPN Board of Directors, and awards may also be presented at theSWHPN General Assembly March 10-11, 2014 in San Diego.

Grace Christ, Chair, SWHPN Board



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Help Lift the Palliative Social Work Voice in San Diego March 10-11

Dear friends,

San Diego Conference 2014

If you haven’t registered yet, we urge you to join your colleagues in San Diego for this remarkable second SWHPN General Assembly that brings together leaders in palliative social work for unparalleled networking. This conference provides a unique opportunity to expand social work’s voice and influence in the established palliative care forums.  We need your participation to maximize social work opportunities!

As you can see from the abstract presentations and the plenary speakers, this conference will bring together a broad range of social work programs and training initiatives, many for the first time, to find best ways to work together to make our voice heard.  Building on our increased visibility and successes from last year’s conference, we hope to further our initiative.

We need your support. Donate to SWHPN or consider sponsoring or exhibiting at the General Assembly.

Don’t forget to nominate a colleague for special recognition at the conference in San Diego.  The application is not complicated and the deadline is January 31, 2014!


Have you noticed the session on the New Palliative Social Worker to be led by Colleen Mulkerin and Susan Blacker?  This two-hour interactive workshop provides a unique opportunity to explore the challenges and joys of beginning to work in this emerging field with two of our most accomplished leaders. Colleen is the director of a palliative care consultation service and a frequent presenter in CAPC and other interdisciplinary forums. Susan is an administrator of an oncology and palliative care program at St. Michaels Hospital in Toronto and an educator in both social work and medical training programs including EPEC and CAPC.

This conference will provide you with unparalleled opportunities to network with colleagues on all the major issues in palliative social work today.

We are pleased to present cutting-edge speakers… a few highlights here:

  • A practitioner panel will discuss challenges and opportunities in the transformation of the health care environment from outstanding social work practice leaders and educators:
    • Terry Altilio, speaking from an established palliative care program integrated with hospice
    • Fran Eichholz Heller, representing a newly developing palliative care program
    • Sandy Jones-McClintic, chair of the NHPCO Social Work Section, who will share the perspectives and vision of hospice
  • An interdisciplinary session brings together two outstanding leaders in palliative care and hospice: Dr. Kathy Foley and Judi Lund Person reflect on the changes and innovations taking place in the field and opportunities for palliative care and social work in the emerging health care system.
  • Dr. Karen Bullock, frequently seen and heard in the national media on the issues of health disparities and growing cultural pluralism, will suggest new directions for social work in improving access and effectiveness.
  • Judy Peres, LCSW, a SWHPN board member and member of the Institute of Medicine Panel on Palliative Care, will describe our leadership on this important national forum.
  • Judy Citko, Executive Director of the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, will address new issues in advance care planning and specifically on new challenges and opportunities for the POLST initiative.

See the full agenda for additional details.

Join your colleagues in San Diego so that together we can shape the future of Palliative Social Work.  Register today.

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A Letter from the SWHPN Board…

Dear Palliative Social Work colleagues!!
We are thrilled to direct you to the agenda for the 2014 SWHPN General Assembly, to be held on March 10-11 @ the Westin San Diego

Thank you for your over 100 abstract proposals, your continuing enthusiasm and registration for the conference as well as reserving hotel rooms in the beautifully located Westin San Diego Hotel.  The rooms and conference facilities there are first rate. We want to draw your attention to a couple of special features of the program and the hotel.

    • 27 breakout sessions/symposia of two presentations each, some symposia with 3 presenters
    • 9 outstanding plenary speakers poised to address the innovations and opportunities of the current health care transformation, including an stellar palliative and hospice social work practitioner panel.
    • Over 25 poster presentations.
    • A 2-hour workshop on The New Palliative Care Social Worker facilitated by Susan Blacker, MSW, RSW and Colleen Mulkerin, MSW, LCSW.
    • A mentorship matching opportunity.
    • Hotel charges include free shuttle service to and from the airport.
    • Registration includes breakfast and lunch each day.

This is an exciting time for palliative social work as we continue to strengthen our collaborative efforts with each other and with our interdisciplinary colleagues in this vital area of practice.   Please join valued colleagues and friends in celebration of the second annual Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care General Assembly at the Westin San Diego.

The SWHPN Board of Directors


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The Buzz about Decision Making

Recent posts on the SWHPN Discussion Forum and also on the Social Worker’s in Palliative and End of Life Care Listserve reflect a current focus on decision making in many different forms within the popular culture. How do surrogate decision makers respect—or not—the wishes of the patient? What are the ethical priorities? Whose interests matter most? Is it ever a reasonable choice to opt for suicide in the face of terminal illness, physician assisted or otherwise? What stance should a social worker take in regard to these issues? What is the collective wisdom to be gained from the experiences of social workers in the trenches? Media sources including the New York Times and the Huffington Post have been discussing palliative care: when should someone choose to go into palliative care? What values drive decisions made by diverse groups, including African Americans? Our area of practice seems to be hitting the mainstream consciousness. These are the kinds of challenges that social workers see in practice and navigate every day. Many of these issues and more will be discussed at the upcoming SWHPN Conference in San Diego. National experts and experienced practitioners will meet and share their knowledge and reflections on these and many other important topics. We want to include you in the conversations. Join us!

For information about the conference, go to:

Stacy S Remke, LICSW, ACHP-SW

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Support the 2014 SWHPN General Assembly as You Ring in the New Year

It’s almost 2014. Tax-deductible donations must be received by December 31 to be recognized as donations made in 2013.

We’d love your support in any amount. These year-end contributions really make a difference in our efforts to introduce new member benefits and educate and advocate for our members.

The Deadline for the General Assembly
Early Bird Registration has been extended
to January 31, 2014.

Before you ring in the New Year…

Join us at the SWHPN General Assembly
March 10 – 11, 2014 at the
Westin San Diego Hotel

Exhibit and Sponsorship Opportunities are available for your organization.

Have You Considered Nominating a Colleague
for an Award of Excellence?

SWHPN is committed to fostering and encouraging social work excellence in psychosocial research, education, and clinical practice in palliative care. Since 2007, we have presented the Project on Death in America (PDIA) Social Work Leadership Award to 7 outstanding social work leaders and 4 SWHPN Awardsof Excellence. In order to recognize outstanding achievements in the advancement of social work in palliative care, the organization is now acceptingnominations for awards in the following categories:

  • PDIA Career Achievement Award
  • SWHPN Emerging Leader in Professional Practice
  • SWHPN Awards of Excellence in Clinical Practice, Professional Education or Psychosocial Research or Policy and Administration.

Awards will be presented at the 2014 SWHPN General Assembly.  Selected award recipients are required to attend, at their own expense, the SWHPN Assembly.

The deadline for submitting nominations is January 31, 2014.  Click here to complete a nomination form.

Thank you for supporting our initiative.

Warmest wishes,

Grace Christ, DSW/PhD

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