Blog Archives

2017 Palliative Care Seed Grant Recipients Announced

Awards designed to advance palliative care research

Five innovative and diverse research projects were awarded $45,000 in Seed Grants last week by the Gary and Mary West Foundation, in collaboration with the CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care.

The winning proposals – aimed at expanding the availability and efficacy of palliative care, in ways that enhance quality of life for seniors and caregivers – were announced Friday, Sept. 29, at the Institute’s National Symposium for Palliative Education and Research, at Cal State San Marcos.

Four proposals were awarded $10,000 grants, and one received a $5,000 grant. They ranged from a project to increase palliative care in the Latino community to one designed to create a more meaningful end-of-life experience for ICU patients at a major metropolitan hospital.

Grants Focus on Improving Care, Quality of Life

The recipients were announced at the symposium by Brenda Schmitthenner, Program Officer with the Gary and Mary West Foundation, whose mission is to enable seniors to successfully age in place and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence.

“In our call for proposals, we asked researchers and faculty to submit innovative educational and research projects … that advance the field of palliative care and the work of dedicated faculty,” said Schmitthenner. “The responses exceeded our expectations.”

“We couldn’t be happier that these seed grants will foster exploration, innovation and research at our nation’s colleges and universities,” she said.

Proposals Highlight Diverse Fields, Institutions

Adam Shapiro, PhD, Director of University Relations & Research at the Institute, said the mix of grant recipients underscores the power in approaching palliative care from multiple fields of study, in ways that deeply benefit vulnerable patient populations.

“What I love about this year’s winning proposals is that they really reflect the inter-professional, multidisciplinary nature of palliative care,” Shapiro said. “These diversity of these projects is outstanding – not only are they serving diverse patient populations, but they’re showcasing talents of researchers at both state and private research-intensive and comprehensive universities.”

Seed Grant Recipients 2017

2017 Seed Grant Recipients

The grant recipients were selected after a nationwide call for research proposals from faculty working in medicine, nursing, social work, communication and speech disorders and other disciplines. Their projects demonstrate new ways to improve and advance the field of palliative care, to address patients’ physical, psychosocial, emotional and spiritual needs and optimize quality of life by preventing and managing suffering.

This year’s Seed Grant winners are:

  • Joy Goebel, RN, MN, PhD, FPCN, of CSU Long Beach – $10,000. Dr. Goebel’s project, “Palliative Care Within the Latino Community,” focuses on training promotores de salud (community health workers) to educate members of the Long Beach area Latino community about chronic disease management, getting the most out of their doctor, life balance, understanding medications and understanding palliative care;
  • Brian Carpenter, PhD, of Washington University – $10,000. Dr. Carpenter’s project, “Enhancing Palliative Care Knowledge through a National Lifelong Learning Network,” is focused on creating a palliative care educational program for adults that includes a discussion and framework for advance care planning.
  • Thanh Huynh Neville, MD, MSHS, of UCLA – $10,000. Dr. Neville’s project, “Creating a Meaningful End of Life Experience for Older Patients,” centers on implementing a “3 Wishes” intervention for older patients likely to die in the ICU. In the study, the care team will help patients articulate three wishes, then the team will try to implement them. The study will later evaluate how the intervention affected family and clinician satisfaction.
  • Ronit Elk, PhD, University of South Carolina – $10,000. Dr. Elk’s ongoing project, “Community-Engaged Hospitalists Training,” was also a 2016 Seed Grant recipient. It’s aimed at promoting culturally-based effective communication skills, including goals of care discussion, for rural South Carolina African American patients with life-limiting illness;
  • Wendell Hanna, PhD, of San Francisco State University – $5,000. Dr. Hanna’s project, “Somatic Movement and Music Protocol for Seniors in Hospice Care,” aims to ease pain for bedridden, wheelchair, and ambulatory seniors in hospice. Somatic movements are non-strenuous and designed to increase flexibility and range of motion in joints.

About the CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care

The CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care is dedicated to increasing access to and awareness of palliative care by educating current and future professionals as well as community members. It offers palliative care-focused professional development and continuing-education courses that are enhancing the skills of current and future healthcare professionals across the country and around the world. Housed within one of the largest university systems in the United States, the Institute leverages the strength of the CSU to deliver evidence-based online and in-person palliative care education to healthcare professionals working in health systems, hospices, skilled nursing facilities, health plans, case management, and physician practices.

About West Health and the Gary and Mary West Foundation

Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health includes the nonprofit and nonpartisan Gary and Mary West Health Institute and Gary and Mary West Foundation in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. These organizations are working together toward a shared mission dedicated to enabling seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. For more information, visit and follow @westhealth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *