San Diego Business Journal “Women Who Mean Business” Luncheon Spotlights Area Contributors
CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care Executive Director Helen McNeal was honored on Nov. 9 with a “Women Who Mean Business” award, given annually by the San Diego Business Journal. Nominations are submitted by businesses and organizations to spotlight women leaders who have broken new ground, significantly contributing to their industry and to the community.
McNeal was one of 25 awardees among a field of 227 nominees. California State University San Marcos President Karen S. Haynes nominated McNeal.
“Helen has a heart for educating the public about the value of palliative care,” President Haynes said. “She understands the importance of focusing on quality of life for patients who are suffering from serious or chronic illness. She focuses on what gives meaning to the lives of each palliative care patient.”
The awards luncheon, which was held at San Diego’s Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, featured a moving address by Irene Oberbauer, dedicated volunteer and philanthropist, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Oberbauer movingly shared her philosophy on living life after losing her sister to breast cancer and her personal experience living with cancer.
Under McNeal’s leadership, the CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care has had an amazing, constantly progressing journey. The Institute was launched four years ago as a system-wide initiative of the California State University system thanks to the vision of President Haynes, who understood the need for supportive care for an increasingly aging and chronically ill population. Haynes appointed McNeal as the founding executive director with the charge to increase awareness of and access to palliative care by educating current and future healthcare professionals and community members.
Through its work, the Institute is impacting the critical shortage of nursing, physician, social work, spiritual and other professionals with palliative care skills and training. Under McNeal’s leadership, the Institute has pioneered a groundbreaking educational model that delivers best practices while expanding the base of professional care providers who embrace an interdisciplinary standard of care.
The Institute leverages the strength of CSU’s system through its 23-campus workforce development infrastructure and solid community relationships to fulfill the Institute’s mission.
“While I am thrilled to be honored in this way, the credit for the Institute’s accomplishments go to the wonderful team at the Institute who are not only passionate about palliative care but also educators committed to ensuring every professional, student and community member get the palliative care knowledge they need,” McNeal said. “Without their hard work and dedication, we would not have been able to accomplish so much in such a short period of time.”