Institute of Medicine report: In support of social work services

On Wednesday, the Institute of Medicine released its long awaited report, “Dying in America.”

The palliative social work voice is being heard.  With social work services and the social work profession identified and supported throughout the report, it is clear that the importance of the social work role is increasingly recognized by our interdisciplinary palliative care and hospice colleagues.

There is a synergy between the release of the IOM report and the theme of the 3rd Annual SWHPN General Assembly.  Topics highlighted by this report include challenges and opportunities for social work in advance care planning, the roles of social work in establishing goals of care, educational approaches to teaching inter-professional colleagues as well as social work health care colleagues, and social workers in other specialties.

All of these align well with our theme and goal for our 2015 assembly. We encourage you to browse and find your voice in these topics – and then, submit an abstract to continue these advances with us in 2015!

(We are also immensely appreciative of the strong social work representation of panel members – let’s give them a hand!  Judy Peres, SWHPN Board member, June Simmons, and Fernando Torres-Gil from UCLA were committee members; SWHPN Board Member Tracy Schroepfer served as a reviewer.)

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Journal of Social Work: new issue available now

We are enjoying the latest issue of Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care.

This issue’s topics include:

  • Dying Amidst a Primordial Dawn
    Glenn Meuche MSW, MA, LCSW
  • Becoming One with the Cosmic Dance and Flow
    Glenn Meuche MSW, MA, LCSW
  • When the Therapist Becomes the Patient
    Judith P. Delehanty & Roberta Rachel Omin
  • Burnout and Death Anxiety in Hospice Social Workers
    Lisa Quinn-Lee, Leah Olson-McBride & April Unterberger
  • The Attitudes of Social Work Students Toward End-of-Life Care Planning
    Sung Ae Kwon, Stacey Kolomer & Jamie Alper
  • Creating the Final Conversations Scale: A Measure of End-of-Life Relational Communication with Terminally Ill Individuals
    Mark Alan Generous & Maureen P. Keeley
  • Team-Based Volunteerism with the Seriously Ill: A Qualitative Analysis from 10 Volunteers’ Perspectives
    Casey B. Azuero, Grant M. Harris, Rebecca S. Allen, Beverly R. Williams, Elizabeth Kvale & Christine S. Ritchie

All SWHPN members have free access to the journal included with membership!

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Four weeks left: Call for abstracts

In only four weeks, abstracts are due for the 2015 SWHPN General Assembly. At this important time of health care transformation, help us to showcase the social work role, perspectives, interventions, leadership, innovations in hospice and palliative care: Submit your abstract today!

We welcome submissions for poster, oral or symposia presentations on topics such as:

  • Approaches for interprofessional collaboration within teams and across disciplines
  • Emerging policies, legislation, legal, and ethical issues
  • New research related to the impact of chronic and progressive illness, medical treatment, and palliative care on individuals, families, and communities
  • Cultural and structural perspectives in palliative and end-of-life care
  • Effective and innovative strategies or models for psychosocial care
  • Best practices in psychosocial and spiritual care

As a professional in the field of palliative and hospice care, your knowledge is valuable to our community. Submit today: Abstracts are due by September 30th!


P.S. Take advantage of the special SWHPN event hotel room rate: $149.00 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at Penn’s Landing. Conference registration rates to be announced soon!

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Q & A with Tracy: Submitting Abstracts

Hi all! As you know, the call is now open and you can begin submitting abstracts for the 2015 SWHPN conference, which will be held in Philadelphia February 23-24.  Our conference theme this year is “Championing Psychosocial Palliative Care and Interprofessional Collaboration” and I think lends itself to lots of interesting presentations.

Tracy_SchroepferLast year, the SWHPN conference in San Diego was a huge success due not only to your attendance and participation but also because of the many wonderful presentations made by our members. I know that this year can be even more successful if you, our members, submit an abstract and share with your colleagues the amazing work you are doing!

Some of you may have presented numerous times before and so are knowledgeable about writing and submitting an abstract. You know how to create measurable objectives, can clearly and concisely summarize your presentation, and know how to share your information in easy to read power point slides that can be viewed in the allotted time. Others of you may not have written or submitted an abstract before and so have questions about whether you could do so. Please know that each of us has much to share and we all have to write that “first” abstract so do not let this hold you back!

In order to insure that everyone has the support they need, I am taking questions on about writing and submitting a proposal for our 2015 conference, over on LinkingHealthProfessionals. This week, we are extending this to our blog audience.

I am very interested in reading your posts; by sharing our questions and comments with each other in the comments section below, we can all learn.

I am excited to co-chair the abstract committee with Gary Stein, and we look forward to being overwhelmed with abstract submissions so please submit, submit, submit!



Tracy Schroepfer, PhD
Co-Chair, SWHPN 2015 Abstract Committee

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Join the conversation: Abstracts for the 2015 General Assembly!

Our call for abstracts is now open for the 2015 SWHPN General Assembly!

Also, be sure to check out our Linking Health Professionals discussion board (member login required) for information about submissions, topics, structure, format and to share your ideas as well. The Abstract Committee co-chair, Tracy Schroepfer, will be leading the conversation.

Abstracts may be for a symposium, an oral presentation, or a poster presentation. The deadline is September 30, 2014.

We look forward to your thoughts – and submissions!


Gary Stein, JD, MSW
Tracy Schroepfer, PhD
Co-Chairs, SWHPN 2015 Abstract Committee


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Call for Abstracts: Now Open

The call for abstracts is now open for the 2015 Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network General Assembly! The theme is “Championing Psychosocial Palliative Care and Interprofessional Collaboration.”  With an interdisciplinary focus held once again in conjunction with the AAHPM/HPNA general assembly, the SWHPN conference will feature oral, panel, symposium, and poster presentations on key issues, research, and innovations in psychosocial practice, education, and policy. Presentations will showcase original research, innovative practices, educational strategies, policy and advocacy initiatives, or case narratives related to important aspects of palliative social work. Abstracts are due by September 30, 2014 and are open for the following sessions:

  • Oral Presentations: A 30-minute presentation including discussion.
  • Poster Presentations: Visual presentation of research or practice abstract. Awards given for best posters of 2015 General Assembly.
  • Symposium: A one-hour session organized by a primary author around a related overall theme, with 2-3 individual presenters.

For more details or to submit your abstract, visit or









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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 (, 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

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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