Palliative Care Institute Spring Conference; Care Across Cultures

Spring Conference rescheduled for Fall

September 25, 2020

The Annual Palliative Care Institute Conference, postponed because of the COVID crisis, has been rescheduled for September 25, 2020.  Most of our speakers have confirmed for this new date.

The Conference will feature exciting keynote speakers and breakout sessions and some complicated case studies to illustrate how our cultural identities and belief systems influence how we interact and engage with the patients and families we serve, and also examine how these elements impact family decision making when facing serious illness or death or after death care.

Together we will investigate how the medical model’s “culture” can impact how patients and families make medical decisions at the end-of-life, explore the importance of understanding and respecting culture at the end-of-life, examine ways that inequity impacts palliative care patients and learn how to promote health equity on our teams or at the institutional level.

EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION will open in July.  

CME - This activity meets the criteria for up to 6 hours of Category I CME credit. These credits are often accepted by many professional organizations.  Please check with your own professional association to determine applicability to the continuing education requirements for your own license.  (See full Accreditation Statement below)

Pencil this conference in on your calendar.  

Keynote Presentations

From Alleviation to Action:  Health equity and palliative care 

Tracy Ng, LASW, a former Leadership Fellow at NYU Silver's Zelda Foster Studies Program in Palliative and End-of-Life Care (PELC) where her capstone project was entitled, "Interrupting Racism in Palliative Care: Identifying Motivations and Developing an Intervention for Providers." Tracy is currently a palliative care social worker on a new, embedded palliative care team within the Advanced Heart Disease service at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA, and is part of the Unconscious Bias and Racism subcommittee there. 

Palliative Care Across Cultures

Devyani Chandran, PhD, the Director of the Palliative Care Institute. Devyani received her PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Kansas. She trained in the Office of Aging and Long-Term Care in the University and my dissertation thesis focused on older adults living with HIV/AIDS. Her research has focused on chronic illness, aging and palliative care in the Bellingham community. She has recently taken on the role of Director of the Palliative Care Institute.

Providing Palliative Care Systematically as a Community

Gurpreet Dhillon, MBA is the Palliative, Hospice and Cancer Care Service Line Director at PeaceHealth in Bellingham, WA.  In this role, he is responsible for developing and implementing the vision and strategies that support the delivery of safe, effective and reliable care for each of these services.  He creates business models in partnership with each of his teams to allow providers and staff to have the resources to provide excellent care in conjunction with our community partners.  His business and quality improvement background in conjunction with twenty years of healthcare service have motivated a systems approach to address the overwhelming needs of Palliative Care in our community.

Case Studies in Cultural Aspects of Care

A panel representing different cultural and spiritual groups in our community will respond to case studies from different cultural and spiritual perspectives. Dakotah Lane, MD, will moderate the panel.  Dakotah is a family practitioner at Lummi Tribal Health Clinic. He received his MD from Weill Cornell Medical College and is a member of the Lummi Tribe. He was drawn to medicine through time in Peace Corps in Africa.

Break-Out Sessions

Some exciting break-out sessions will explore putting health equity into practice, the palliative care challenges faced by immigrant and undocumented citizens, and the voices of caregivers.

Jody Waldron, MD

Clinical Instructor at the University of Washington in the Department of Medicine based at Harborview Medical Center will explore examine how common local approaches to end of life discussions and care may be rooted in Western or Eurocentric values in ways that are often taken for granted by practitioners.  

Marinel Kniseley, MA

Author of Caring for The Qualified Life: Mexicana Certified Nursing Assistants, will examine the values and perspectives that caregivers from Mexicana background bring to caregiving roles and the challenges of providing care across cultural identities.

Devyani Chandran, PhD

Director of the Palliative Care Institute and Assistant Professor of Human Services at Western Washington University will examine the challenges that undocumented individuals and immigrants face several in accessing end of life care. 

Registration is now open. Prices go up on March 15th, so register early.

Registration Fees

(includes lunch, coffee and snacks)

Scholarships are available. Contact











with 6.0 CME




with 6.0 CME


On-site registration will be space available at the REGULAR prices.

Accreditation Statement

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements of the Washington State Medical Association through the joint providership of PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center and Western Washington University. PeaceHealth St. Joseph is accredited by the WSMA to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center designates this live activity for a maximum of 6 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity meets the criteria for up to 6 hours of Category I CME credit to satisfy the relicensure requirements of the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission.

Date Time Location
Settlemyer Hall, Bellingham Technical College, 3028 Lindbergh Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225