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Dr. Jessica Zitter is Latest Panelist at Palliative Care Symposium

CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care’s annual event draws faculty, researchers from across U.S.

Aug. 21, 2017 (SAN DIEGO) – Dr. Jessica Zitter, the compelling critical care physician and palliative care specialist leading a national conversation about changing the way we die, will be a special guest panelist Sept. 28 at the CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care’s annual symposium in North County San Diego.

Zitter is the author of the book, “Extreme Measures – Finding a Better Path to the End of Life, and was featured in the Academy Award-nominated short subject documentary, Extremis,” now streaming on Netflix.

At the symposium, she’ll talk about the challenges of medical aid in dying during a plenary discussion with Jennifer Moore Ballentine, incoming Executive Director at the CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care.

The two-day symposium features a stellar lineup of palliative care academic leaders and clinicians including Jean Kutner from the University of Colorado School of Medicine; Steven Pantilat from UC San Francisco; and Charles von Gunten from OhioHealth.

Zitter recently wrote a New York Times Opinion piece about the struggle some physicians face when critically ill patients seek help shortening their lives under the End of Life Option Act, which took effect in California last year. She says even doctors who support the law, as she does, might feel unprepared or reluctant to implement it.

“At dinner shortly after the law went into effect, I polled 10 palliative care colleagues on their impressions of it,” Zitter says in the Times. “There was a chorus of groans. Like me, they were being asked about it with increasing frequency, but hadn’t found an answer that felt right.”

The symposium offers faculty from across the country “a chance to help shape this important dialogue and prepare future clinicians,” said Helen McNeal, the institute’s founding Executive Director, who is set to retire Oct. 6.

The CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care’s National Symposium for Academic Palliative Care Education & Research takes place Sept. 28-29 at Cal State San Marcos. It’s the only gathering of its kind specifically for researchers and faculty who want to include palliative care concepts in courses for undergraduate and graduate students.

To register or learn more, visit or call 760-750-4006.

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