National Symposium: Come for the Sunshine, Stay for the Program

Growing up in Colorado, I dreaded February. After the bitter cold of late January, February would bring a teasing thaw. The snow and ice would melt; sometimes even a sprinkling of cocky crocus would appear! The bright high-altitude sun was deceptively warm . . . and then BLAM! It would be winter again, for weeks. San Diego has given me a whole new outlook on February – no tease, all bright sun and ocean breeze, perfectly warm, not hot, not humid. Bliss.

There have been several months over the past 20 or so that have felt like those Colorado Februaries – teasing us with a promised “thaw” from restrictions – only to BLAM back into the pandemic “winter.” Here at the CSU Shiley Haynes Institute for Palliative Care, we’re counting on (with crossed fingers, toes, and eyes!) a San Diego February this year!

We invite you to our world of bright sun and mild breeze to emerge from hibernation or out from under avalanche, to thaw out of your pandemic and actual winters and join us at our National Symposium for Academic Palliative Care Education and Research.

This event is special for several reasons. It is the ONLY national gathering to focus on palliative care education and research in addition to clinical innovations. It brings together in an intimate mix faculty, students, scientists, clinicians, and advocates, making for an extraordinary exchange of ideas and findings, results and dreams, teaching and learning. With more than a little Southern California indulgence.

Early-bird registration is open through the end of December, discounts are available for students, and we have a limited amount of funding for scholarships! We also invite your support as an Exhibitor or Sponsor. Opportunities range from $150 small ad in the program to $500 for a nonprofit exhibitor to several $100 or $1000 for branded giveaways or break and meal sponsorships.

Our theme this year is “Palliative Care: Disparities, Distress, and Directions for the Future,” selected by our program committee to confront, even embrace the rough-strewn, often painful path we’ve all been traveling. Let’s face it – in many ways and for many people, it’s been hell. The pandemic cracked open our society to reveal divisions and disparities long evident but never before so obvious. The distress – physical, moral, spiritual, social – is real. But so is the promise. The pandemic will end! We will emerge and palliative care will be . . . what? What we make it, with the grit and commitment and passion that have carried us through these months.

To inspire and guide us, our Symposium presents a breathtaking line up of keynote speakers: Dr. Jean Watson, founder of Watson Caring Science Institute; Dr. Jeri Miller, chief of the Office of End-of-Life Research and Palliative Care Research of NINR; Deborah Grassman, NP, founder of Opus Peace; Dr. Joan Fisher, medical director of the George Mark Children’s House; and Ronit Elk, PhD, associate director of the Southeast Institute for Innovation in Palliative and Supportive Care. Each will address an aspect of the theme, offering wisdom, hope, and tangible tools to equip us for the future – stay tuned for “Speaker Features” over the next few weeks.

Come for the sunshine, stay for the program! Our call for abstracts has been extended to October 18, but from the proposals coming in, we can promise a stellar lineup of paper presentations, workshops, and posters – great conversation in a beautiful setting and, new this year, a place of peace and contemplation in which to reflect upon the losses and gains, chaos and clarity, challenge and opportunity since we last met in person. See you in February! In San Diego! For real!

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