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Researchers to Present Results of Projects Funded by Seed Grant

Results of six projects aimed at expanding access to care that enhances quality of life for seniors and caregivers will be reported at the California State University Shiley Institute for Palliative Care’s National Symposium for Academic Palliative Care Education and Research Oct. 11-12, 2018, in San Diego.

Researchers were awarded seed grants, funded by the Gary and Mary West Foundation, to carry out one-year projects to design and test approaches that will lead to improvements in care or quality of life for those suffering from chronic, serious, or life-threatening illnesses.

Institutions represented, and studies being reported on, include:

  • Washington University in St. Louis’s Brian Carpenter, PhD, undertook a project to create a palliative care educational program for adults that includes a discussion and framework for advance care planning.
  • University of California Los Angeles’ Thanh Neville, MD, MSHS, and her team created, tested and implemented an intervention for older ICU patients to articulate three wishes, and then achieve them with the help of the staff.
  • University of South Carolina’s Ronit Elk, PhD, built training for culturally-based effective communication skills for physicians who work with rural African American patients with life-limiting illness.
  • University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus F. Amos Bailey, MD, FAAHPM, incorporated the use of technology in online graduate education to help students practice skills for difficult conversations with patients and families.
  • California State University Long Beach’s Joy Goebel, RN, MN, PhD, FPCN, created and delivered education to members of the Long Beach area Latino community on chronic disease, understanding medications, and getting the most out of their doctor and their life.
  • San Francisco State University’s Wendell Hanna, PhD, created a music and exercise program for bedridden, wheelchair, and ambulatory seniors in hospice to ease pain and improve joint motion.

The Gary and Mary West Foundation has provided seed grant funding through the symposium each year since 2016. Seed grants support projects that advance palliative care education and research with a focus on seniors or family caregivers of seniors.

Applications are now open for this year’s awards. Grants of $5,000 or $10,000 will be awarded to researchers from academic institutions for projects that aim to support seniors or family caregivers. Recipients will be announced at the 2018 Symposium, being held at the San Diego Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina. More information on the seed grants, eligibility, and how to apply can be found online at  

About Palliative Care and the Academic Symposium

The CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care hosts the annual academic symposium to bring together educators from universities, academic medical centers and clinical programs to focus on how to better equip new and existing professionals with skills in palliative care.

Palliative care optimizes quality of life for those with serious or chronic illness by anticipating, preventing, and managing suffering, from the time of diagnosis onward. It is delivered by an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists and other practitioners, and is designed to address the physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of patients and their families.

The number of health professionals trained in palliative care is growing, however, the demand is far outpacing the supply. As stated by the National Health Council, “Generally incurable and ongoing, chronic diseases affect approximately 133 million Americans, representing more than 40% of the total population of this country. This number is projected to grow to an estimated 157 million, with 81 million people having multiple conditions.[1]


[1] National Health Council, 2014. About Chronic Diseases

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