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Who We Are

We are a group of heart-centered hospice + palliative care social workers and clinicians intent on making an impact.

The world we imagine


All people living with serious illnesses have access to compassionate, comprehensive, whole-person care that honors lived experiences and is accountable to historical harms.

What we stand for


SWHPN enhances hospice and palliative care social work through mentorship, education, community building and advocacy as change agents committed to equity and anti-racism. We start with ourselves to dismantle harms perpetuated within the systems in which we exist.

Interested in improving hospice + palliative care and getting support for a meaningful and sustainable career? 

2024 Executive Officers

Board of Directors

Inpatient Palliative Care Social Worker

UC San Diego Doris A. Howell Palliative Care Teams

Chris Onderdonk, MSW, LCSW, APHSW-C

SWHPN Board Chair

PhD Candidate, Associate Faculty

Indiana University School of Social Work


SWHPN Board Chair-Elect

Sr. Executive Director, Palliative Care

Providence St. Joseph Health

Russell Kieffer, LCSW, APHSW-C

SWHPN Board Secretary

Director, Bioethics, Palliative Care and Journey (bereavement) Programs

Seattle Children’s Hospital

Arika Patneaude, MSW, LICSW, APHSW-C

SWHPN Board Treasurer

Clinical Social Worker & Health Educator

UCSF Health & Mettle Health

Bridget Sumser, LCSW, APHSW-C

Lead Palliative Care Social Worker, Senior Ethics Consultant

Legacy Health

Lori Eckel, LCSW, APHSW-C

Assistant Scientist

John Hopkins University

Danetta Sloan, PhD, MSW, MA

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Director, Palliative Care & Family Guidance

Stanford Children’s Health

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital

Esther Ammon, LCSW, APHSW-C

Clinical Supervisor

Ohio Living Home Health & Hospice

Maxwell Cleary, MSW, LISW, ACHP-SW, APHSW-C

Pediatric Palliative Care Social Worker

Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychotherapist

Caitlin Scanlon, MSW, LCSW

Jennifer Christophel Lichti, LICSW, APHSW-C

Clinical Oncology Social Worker

Palliative Care 

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Clinical Therapist

Associate Research Scientist

Guidance Through Grief Counseling Center, PLLC & Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation

Liz Anderson


Governance Committee
Education  Committee
Annual Assembly & Conference Committee
Finance Committee
Nominating Committee
Membership Committee


2024 SWHPN Committees

Applications for Board of Directors and SWHPN Committees open on an annual basis. You must be a current SWHPN member to be nominated to the Board of Directors or serve on a SWHPN Committee. For questions on how to participate, please contact

Organization Structure

New Jersey Health Decisions D/B/A Social Work Hospice + Palliative Care Network is recognized as tax exempt, organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, or scientific purposes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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