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SWHPN Welcomes New Members to Board of Directors

SWHPN held elections for new members of the Board of Directors in July 2020 and is excited to announce the addition of six new members to the SWHPN Board. Members of the Board of Directors are elected to two-year terms.

Liz Anderson, Ph.D, joined Western Carolina University in 2016 as Assistant Professor of Social Work. Dr. Anderson is a 2018 recipient of the Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program Grant, one of the first of two social workers to receive the award nationwide, for her research and leadership in family engagement in palliative care for rural persons with kidney disease.  She has worked as a hospice and palliative care social worker and was the former Social Services Director for Mid-Atlantic Renal Coalition.  Dr. Anderson was the Field Director and an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Mars Hill University as well as former Women’s Studies Coordinator. She collaborates with George Washington University and Coalition for Supportive Care of Kidney Patients in research and clinical practice on advance care planning, motivational interviewing, and supportive care for with persons diagnosed with kidney disease. In addition, Dr. Anderson's other research area includes campus sexual assault. She integrates her practice and research experience in the classroom, teaching Integrated Health, Social Work Practice: Individual Interventions, Research Methods, and Human Behavior in the Social Environment.


Danielle Jonas, MSW, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in psychotherapy with children, adolescents and families. Danielle earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and in history from Indiana University. She continued her education by earning a master’s degree in social work from Indiana University with a concentration in pediatrics. She went on to complete an interdisciplinary pediatric palliative care social work fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital/Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Harvard School of Medicine. She is currently at PhD candidate at NYU Silver School of Social Work.

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How SWHPN Is Addressing Diversity

Last month, more than 125 SWHPN members, social work professionals, and students joined together for our virtual June Summit, “Cultural Competency in Hospice and Palliative Care.” Held on Juneteenth and during Pride month, we wanted to use the day as an opportunity to go beyond didactic presentations to showcase meaningful, actionable steps social workers could take to address racism, explicit and implicit bias, intersectionality, and more. During the post-Summit “networking happy hour,” attendees stayed online for an extra hour and a half to continue the discussion. It’s clear there is a hunger for more information about how to dismantle inequitable systems that harm Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color (BIPOC), whether they are patients, families, or social workers.

Post-Summit, what is SWHPN doing to address the changes that are needed?

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SWHPN Supports Day of Mourning and Lament

Today, the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network (SWHPN) joins religious communities throughout the United States, as well as the U.S. Conference on Mayors, in support of a nationwide Day of Mourning and Lament. On this day, we recognize and mark the collective suffering faced by individuals and families throughout the country as we passed the 100,000 deaths due to COVID-19.

We recognize that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, Asian-Americans, and other people of color. From the higher death rates among communities of color, to the pandemic-related job losses and lack of healthcare access and insurance, to the increasing rates of the disease among the incarcerated, we are seeing the ongoing impacts of COVID expose the lasting effects of racism in our country. The suffering felt by African-Americans and people of color cannot be minimized.

Further, COVID-19 is having a lasting impact on how we grieve these losses. Towards that end, we are proposing the creation of a National Grief Strategy. We are advocating for the development of a comprehensive plan to support and expand grief services and resources throughout the country. We want to proactively identify and address the health and mental health effects of grief due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so that we may begin the process of collective healing.

We encourage you to join us today in recognizing a Day of Mourning and Lament. Read our Call for a National Grief Strategy, and then add your name to support it. Then please share with others.

For questions and comments, please email us at [email protected].

Statement on Hospice and Palliative Care Social Work Practice In Times of Health Care Crisis

The words "essential" and "non-essential" may become two of the most repeated words of 2020. We hear them in press conferences, read them in work e-mails, and see them on chyrons posted across the bottoms of our TV screens. For many of us in the Hospice and Palliative Care Social Work (HAPC-SW) field, these words have also been applied to our jobs in ways that, as many of us have discussed at our nightly support calls, have provoked conflicting feelings of both guilt and relief (when labeled non-essential) or fear and pride (when labeled essential).

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Update on Social Work Open Discussions

Over the past month, our weeknight Social Work Open Discussions have been attended by social workers and psychosocial professionals from over thirty states and four countries! Thanks to all who participate and make these meetings the dynamic discussions they are during this critical time.

We are updating our schedule over the coming weeks to consolidate these meetings, as well as provide some discussion around specific topics. As always, these remain informal gatherings and safe places for clinicians and colleagues to share feelings and fears in an effort to find renewal, support, and social connection.

Beginning Tuesday, May 5th, please join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00 pm EST. You can register to participate here. Come as little or as often you need.

See the updated schedule:

  • Thursday, April 30th: Topic: Grief and Trauma with special guest April Naturale. Looking to the future, there will likely be some level of grief and trauma for our colleagues and a large portion of the world that exists for a long time. What are we going to do about that as a field and as individuals?
  • Tuesday, May 5th: Open Discussion
  • Thursday, May 7th: Topic: New Normal. What does the "new normal" for hospice and palliative social work look like, and what can we do to ensure that our field is equipped to support patients, families, and colleagues? What are you hoping for, what are you worried about?
  • Tuesday, May 12th: Open Discussion
  • Thursday, May 14th: Topic: Transitions. How has your role changed since COVID-19? If you're working from home or have changed locations, what support do you need? How are you adapting? What things will remain post-COVID? 

You can find our most updated list of events and Social Work Open Discussion topics on the SWHPN Events Calendar.





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SWHPN Announces New Leadership

Though our field is facing unprecedented challenges, we are pleased to announce several exciting leadership changes taking place the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network (SWHPN) to lead our members through these uncertain times.

SWHPN appointed Jessica Strong as permanent Executive Director, after serving in the role of interim Executive Director for the past year. This appointment followed an organizational search and board voting process. In addition to leading the outstanding team of professionals who have implemented SWHPN’s annual General Assemblies over the past five years, Jessica led SWHPN’s most recent strategic planning process that initiated the formalization of SWHPN’s current organizational structure. The goals set in that process have helped to provide extraordinary growth of SWHPN this year and have set the course for a bright future. One of her first initiatives was successfully securing a two-year grant from the Cambia Health Foundation to provide educational webinars to support the professional development needs of hospice and palliative care social workers. We are grateful to the Cambia Health Foundation for their continued support which will support these new initiatives.

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