Chaplain-Educator to Receive 2022 Doris A. Howell Award for Advancing Palliative Care

Cibelle Burger
CSU Shiley Haynes Institute for Palliative Care

For the first time in the award’s 6-year history, a hospital chaplain, spiritual care educator, researcher, and leader has been named the 2022 recipient of the CSU Shiley Haynes Institute for Palliative Care Doris A. Howell, MD, Award for Advancing Palliative Care.

Allison Kestenbaum, MA, MPA, BCC-PCHAC, is the supervisor of Spiritual Care and Clinical Pastoral Education at UC San Diego Health. She holds advanced certification as a hospice and palliative care chaplain and works with the Doris A. Howell Palliative Care Service at UCSDH. Allison conducts research about spiritual palliative care education and was the first chaplain to receive a Cambia Health Foundation Sojourns Scholars Palliative Care Leadership Award (2018). She earned her MA in Judaic Studies and MPA in Non-Profit Management and Public Policy from New York University. Allison is a Board Certified Chaplain (NAJC and APC) and a Certified Pastoral Educator (ACPE). 

According to her nomination, Allison has “brought her prodigious palliative care skills not only to the bedside but as importantly has used these and her organizational and teamwork skills to enhance the understanding . . . of not only palliative care but also of the importance of spiritual care.”

“Chaplains occupy a special place in the palliative care clinical team, often providing as much moral and spiritual support to their team members as to patients and families,” said Jennifer Moore Ballentine, executive director of the Institute “The role is often underutilized and underfunded even on robust hospital or community-based palliative care teams. We’re delighted to highlight the importance of spiritual care and chaplains in honoring Ms. Kestenbaum.”

The Howell award is named after the late Dr. Doris Howell, a legendary physician and pioneer in pediatric hematology, oncology, and community medicine who in 1977 founded San Diego Hospice and the Institute for Palliative Medicine (SDHIPM). The award will be presented at a reception honoring both Ms. Kestenbaum and Dr. Ami Doshi, the 2021 award recipient, on March 22.

A $25,000 gift in Dr. Howell’s honor from philanthropist Darlene Marcos Shiley accompanies the annual award and is bestowed on a local healthcare organization with ties to the selected recipient. This year’s gift will be shared by the UCSD hospital and ACPE, a national organization promoting spiritual care and chaplaincy education.

For more information about the Institute and/or the Howell award, visit

About the CSU Shiley Haynes Institute for Palliative Care

The CSU Shiley Haynes Institute for Palliative Care provides high-quality education to healthcare professionals and students, builds advocacy, and promotes research to advance the care of persons living with serious illness and their communities. A workforce initiative of the California State University system, the Institute is headquartered at CSU San Marcos.

About Palliative Care

Palliative care is personalized care that expertly manages the physical, emotional, and spiritual symptoms of serious illnesses. It incorporates a wide range of evidence-based therapies, delivered by an interdisciplinary team of specially trained clinicians, to address common symptoms like pain, nausea, anxiety, and depression, so people can have the best quality of life based on what matters most to them. Palliative care is for anyone living with a serious or chronic illness, from the moment of diagnosis onward. It can be offered alongside treatments like chemotherapy or can be provided on its own, for patients of any age at any stage of illness, and provides support to family and caregivers. 

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