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SWHPN Virtual Summit: Addressing Equity and Representation in Hospice and Palliative Care
Friday, May 21, 2021, 12:00 PM - 4:30 PM EST
Category: Conference

Join us for our next half-day virtual conference of 2021, featuring the leading research, innovative practices, educational strategies, policy initiatives, and case narratives from leaders in the field of hospice and palliative care. 

Registration for the SWHPN Virtual Summit includes:

  • 3 Continuing Education (CE) hours for social workers
  • Live Q&As with the presenters
  • An opportunity for social workers to connect with peers at our Virtual Social Hour
  • Recordings and slides from all sessions and presentations (where applicable)

The May 21, 2021 SWHPN Virtual Summit will focus on Addressing Equity and Representation in Hospice and Palliative Care. Register here.

Keynote: What Happens When There is a Lack of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) in End-of-Life Care?

Despite tremendous growth in palliative care and hospice use, there is a pressing need to address racial disparities in end-of-life care. The apprehension of hospice and palliative care staff being culturally congruent has effects on how people die. Ashley Johnson will offer a presentation on strategies to improve access to end-of-life care among historically underserved populations and how practitioners can approach disparities in end-of-life care.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Better understand how to approach disparities in the provisions of end of life care.
  2. Increase their strategies to improve access to end-of-life care among historically underserved populations in African American, Hispanic and Native American communities will close disparity gaps.

About the Presenter:

Ashley Johnson holds an anthropology degree from the University of Florida, and is a trained and certified End of Life Doula. She is a licensed Direct Disposer. Ashley has earned a NEDA proficiency badge, belongs to the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), the National Funeral Home Alliance (NHFA), and the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA). Additionally, she holds certifications in Emotional CPR, and counseling grief clients. With more than a decade in the death care industry, Ashley is the founder of Loyal Hands End-of-Life consulting agency. Currently serves on the executive board with National End of Life Doula Alliance. She has been published in several publications.


Breakout Sessions I

Session 1A: The Impacts of Social Determinants of Health on Palliative Care During COVID-19: Two Realities from the Frontlines

Fiona Bullock, MSW, DAAETS and Nicole Bullock, LCSW 

A mother-daughter duo will share the experience of practicing social work from two diverse palliative care settings and explore the differences between the palliative care responses in the most and the least healthy counties in California. Geography is Destiny and social determinants of health have impacted end of life care in the era of COVID. 

After attending this session, participants will be able to:


  1. Increase their knowledge regarding how social health determinants have factored in COVID-19's impact on diverse communities. 
  2. Increase knowledge on developing continuity of care strategies to meet changing health care needs during times of crisis.
  3. Recognize the role of palliative care social workers in advocating for equality, access to health care, and social justice.

About the Presenters:

Fiona Bullock, MSW, DAAETS has spent her social work career focusing on issues of loss, grief, and trauma through her work in academia and direct practice, She currently works as a social worker at a rural, critical access hospital in Northern California and is developing and implementing its inpatient palliative care program.

Nikki Bullock, LCSW is a palliative care social worker in Marin County, CA. She has practiced social work in the United Kingdom, Marin and Lake Counties. Her areas of expertise include medical social work, dementia care, palliative and end of life care.

Session 1B: Addressing the needs of those who identify as 2SLGBTQ+ people living with advanced illness

Susan Cadell MSW, PhD; Angus Campbell; Albert McLeod 

The concerns, challenges, and needs of two-Spirited LGBTQ+ people living with advanced illness are poorly understood and often underserved by palliative care. This session will highlight new tools available to healthcare providers to improve the provision of 2SLGQTB+ person-centered care.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Articulate common concerns, challenges, and needs of those identified as 2LGBTQ+ people face when accessing palliative care.
  2. Identify strategies for providing safe, respectful, and responsive care to those identified as 2SLGBTQ+ people, their family and the care community.
  3. Access resources to support their practice and empower those identified as 2SLGBTQ+ people to access and receive quality palliative care.

About the Presenters:

Susan Cadell MSW, PhD is a Professor at the School of Social Work at Renison University College, University of Waterloo, and an Associate Professor and Director of the Manulife Centre for Healthy Living in the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. Susan's research concerns positive aspects of stress and coping in various health situations, particularly posttraumatic growth. She is a member of several multidisciplinary research teams in grief and beravement. Current research includes memorial tattoos and grief after an assisted death (Medical Assistance in Dying or MAiD). Past projects include posttraumatic growth in parents caring for a child with a life-limiting illness, couples coping with caregiving together as well as undertaking an exploration of family bereavement over time when a child dies. Susan was also a member of a team working to increase social work education in palliative care through the development of social work competencies.

Angus Campbell recently retired as Executive Director of Caregivers Nova Scotia. As a former caregiver himself, Angus has shown his commitment by sitting on a number of boards and committees: Canadian Frailty Network, NS Provincial Palliative Care Advisory, NS Centre on Aging Advisory, NS Health Authority prideHealth Advisory, NS Seniors Mental Health Network, NS Dementia Strategy Advisory, and NS Hospice and Palliative Care Association.He has collaborated with researchers on projects including Care and Respect for Elders in Emergency (CARE), Caregiver Telegroup Support evaluation, and Knowledge to Action: Caregivers, the lynchpin to homecare clients remaining at home.Mr. Campbell has given presentations and workshops discussing Caregiving Issues, Resources for Caregivers in Nova Scotia, and Safe Medicines for Seniors and Caregivers to audiences of caregivers, seniors, Geriatric Grand Rounds, Telehealth, and Emergency Medical Services.

Breakout Sessions II

Session 2A: A Case of Dual Distress: When Distress at End-of-Life Includes Concerns About Racism

Jill Dovale, LMSW

This presentation highlights a difficult case that reflects the challenges of supporting and navigating end-of-life conversations with a family coping with a double blow: the rapid decline of a loved one and the perception that their loved ones’ decline resulted from substandard care as a result of her race. The presentation will explore strategies to communicate with sensitivity, critically reflect as a clinician, and catalyze dialogue on how to better serve BIPOC patients and families at the end-of-life.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  1. To identify the complexities of navigating goals of care discussions with patients or families who perceived that substandard care occurred due to racism.
  2. To critically reflect as a clinician with race privilege providing care to a patient and family with a targeted racial identity.  
  3. To catalyze dialogue on how to serve, support, and empower BIPOC patients and families in end-of-life settings.

About the Presenter:

Jill Dovale, LMSW, completed her Master of Social Work at NYU, where was selected for an American Cancer Society training grant in oncology social work and a three year mentorship program in palliative and end-of-life social work (Zelda Foster MSW Fellowship).  She was selected for the 2020-2021 Palliative Care Social Work Fellowship at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.

Session 2B: Understanding and Respecting Sexual and Gender Diversity at the End-of-Life

Luisa Kcomt, PhD, MSW, BSW; Nancy Sherman, MSW, MSM, LICSW

Sexual and gender minorities are medically underserved populations and experience widespread discrimination. This course provides a historical context of their oppression, explores the barriers they experience in accessing hospice and palliative care, and offers concrete strategies for hospice professionals to create a safe and inclusive environment.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Define sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
  2. Discuss the barriers experienced by sexual and gender minorities in accessing hospice and palliative care.
  3. Provide strategies for creating a safe and inclusive environment for sexual and gender minorities during end-of-life care.

About the Presenters:

Luisa Kcomt, PhD, MSW, BSW has over 20 years of clinical and leadership experience in the social work profession. She is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan and the chairperson for Funeralocity's Professional Advisory Council. She holds an active license as a Licensed Master of Social Work in the State of Michigan.

Nancy Sherman, MSW, MSM, LICSW has been a social worker for over 40 years, receiving her undergraduate degree from the U of Michigan, her MSW from Boston University, and Masters in Management from Lesley University.  The last 20 years of her career were in health care, with the last 17 in hospice care. She served on the Bereavement Steering Committee of the NHPCO and is published in the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Social Work.

Date: Friday, May 21, 2021

Time: 12:00 - 4:30 p.m. EDT / 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. PDT

Target Audience: All levels

Cost to attend: $79 for current SWHPN Members / $99 for Nonmembers / free for current SWHPN, Friend of SWHPN and Retiree Members

** SWHPN Members: attend this Summit for only $49 when you register for all eight Summits being held in 2021! See the full 2021 SWHPN Summits Schedule at www.swhpnsummit.org.



To earn CE credit, social workers must log in, attend the entire summit and complete an online course assessment and evaluation.

Certificates of completion will be emailed immediately following the completion of a webinar evaluation. Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network aka SWHPN, #1716, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network aka SWHPN maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 7/18/2020 – 7/18/2023. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in a summit can receive 3 continuing education clock hours.

Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0503.

Contact: [email protected]