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CSU Launches Palliative Care Institute at CSUSM

America’s largest university system tackles palliative care workforce shortage with innovative, statewide Institute model

SAN MARCOS, Calif. – Sept. 20, 2012 America’s first statewide educational and workforce development initiative dedicated to palliative care opened at California State University San Marcos in North San Diego County today.

With an aging society and significant increases in the number of individuals living with chronic and serious illness, health care systems are struggling to cost-efficiently meet the increased demand for quality, patient-centered care with a workforce that is short of the required skills.

The CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care at CSUSM will address the critical shortage of nursing, social work, spiritual and other professionals with palliative care skills and training. It will also educate the public about the value of palliative care and how to access it.

Palliative care improves quality of life for individuals facing serious illness and their families — whatever the prognosis. It prevents and relieves suffering by addressing pain as well as the physical, emotional, psycho-social and spiritual challenges associated with serious and chronic conditions. Palliative care uses an interdisciplinary team approach to help patients and their families, which can typically include a physician, nurse, social worker, pharmacist, chaplain and others as needed.

Launched by the largest higher-education system in the U.S., the CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care at CSUSM will create a model that can be replicated at any of the other 23 campuses across the CSU system, as well as other campuses across the country. It will offer continuing education courses for working professionals, academic curriculum for today’s students and programs to support palliative care awareness in the community.

“Palliative care reduces suffering and has been shown to significantly improve quality of life, patient satisfaction and health outcomes for people facing serious illnesses,” said CSUSM President Karen Haynes. “We are very pleased to be giving this important Institute its start here at Cal State San Marcos and to begin addressing this critical workforce need in not only our region but the state and nation as well.”

“More people than ever before are living with one or more chronic conditions, and while palliative care can do so much to help, its role and benefits are not well understood. The CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care will educate people and make them aware of their options and the resources available to them through our community partners,” said CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care Executive Director, Helen McNeal.

The Institute has received initial grant funding of a combined $1.2 million over three years from the Archstone Foundation and the California HealthCare Foundation.

“Our aging society requires a qualified palliative care workforce that can support people’s desire for quality of life, independence, and choice and control in their health care decisions,” said Archstone Foundation President and CEO, Joseph Prevratil. “The CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care shares our vision of the future and has a plan to help us get our workforce there.”

“The California HealthCare Foundation is committed to expanding access to palliative care as part of our focus on improving clinical outcomes and quality of life for Californians with chronic disease,” said Kate O’Malley, senior program officer for the California HealthCare Foundation. “We’re pleased to support the CSU Institute for Palliative

Care and its mission to educate health care professionals in all disciplines and expand awareness of palliative care in the community.”

To learn more about the CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care, visit


CSUSM was selected as the home of the Institute based on its history of innovation, successful continuing education programs, community engagement and mix of academic disciplines. Since its founding over two decades ago, California State University San Marcos has prided itself on being fully engaged in the community, technologically sophisticated, and dedicated to teaching future generations through a relevant curriculum with a global perspective. Currently, more than 10,000 students attend the 304-acre campus, located in the foothills of northern San Diego County.

About Archstone Foundation

The Archstone Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation whose mission is to contribute towards the preparation of society in meeting the needs of an aging population. The Foundation’s funding priorities seek to address emerging issues within the field of aging. On the web at

About California HealthCare Foundation

The California HealthCare Foundation works as a catalyst to fulfill the promise of better health care for all Californians. The Foundation supports ideas and innovations that improve quality, increase efficiency, and lower the costs of care. On the web at