Banner image including the logo for the 2024 Team Conference for Hospice and Palliative Care

The Team Conference brings together colleagues in hospice and palliative care to explore best practices that enhance the specialty and improve patient and caregiver outcomes. This conference aims for colleagues to leave feeling rejuvenated and inspired in their own journey of hospice and palliative health care.

Ryan Baldeo

Ryan is a practicing physician associate (PA) in palliative care (PC) with experience in both community-based and academic medical centers. Through serendipitous experiences, he identified a passion at the crossroads of health literacy, socioeconomic status, cultural variability, and medical practice in the United States, with specific passion in working with persons living with serious illness(es).

While practicing as a PC PA, Ryan came across many obstacles, gaps, and roadblocks that serve as barriers to the delivery of specialty level P for persons in needs, which has expanded his passion to focus on enhancing infrastructure, business models, education, and research in the field with intent to positively impact the future landscape of PC. As such, Ryan’s professional goals are to develop and sustain initiatives in P that will provide an infrastructure to support consistent high-quality PC specialty services to patients and loved ones in need.

Rev. Richard W. Bauer, MM, BCC, MSW
Richard Bauer

Rick is a Roman Catholic priest with the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. He is a Board Certified Chaplain and also holds a Masters in Social Work. After 25 years in Africa, Rick is now on staff at the George Washington University Institute for Spirituality and Health as an ISPEC Faculty Member. He is also a faculty member at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and provides clinical chaplaincy services at the George Washington University Hospital and Children’s National Hospital. Rick is also on the Executive Committee for Palliative Care in Humanitarian Aid Situations and Emergencies (PallCHASE).

Marcela Blinka, PhD, MSW, LCSW-C
Marcela Blinka

As a Research Associate at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Marcela specializes in qualitative research within Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, with a particular focus on caregivers of older adults, including hospice family caregivers and those living with dementia. Her work aims to understand the diverse needs of both older adults and their caregivers to develop interventions that provide tailored support. Marcela is committed to addressing the challenges faced by underserved populations and ensuring that research representation is diverse and inclusive.

Caitlin (Cate) Carl, BSN, RN
Caitlin Carl

Cate is a founding member of Pullman Regional Hospital’s Palliative Care Team. She is currently working in Employee Health and Wellness at Pullman Regional Hospital in Pullman, WA and serves as vital backup for the palliative care service. She has been a nurse for 12 years, working in the Medical Surgical Unit, Pediatrics, and Employee Health and Wellness. She teaches ELNEC courses yearly.

Cate has a BSN from the University of Idaho in Sports Science, an Associates in Nursing degree from North Idaho College, and her BSN from Western Governors University. She is passionate about palliative care, pediatrics, and mental wellness. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family of five and their two dogs.

Erin Collins, MN, RN, CHPN®
Erin Collins

Erin has 17 years of nursing experience in hospice and oncology. She was selected as a 2022 Cambia Sojourns Scholar, and is a state ambassador for HPNA, member of the board of directors for the Oregon Hospice and Palliative Care Association, and Vice-Chair of the NHPCO End-of-Life Doula Advisory Council.

Erin co-founded a non-profit, The Peaceful Presence Project, after seeing that many patients came to hospice afraid of death and largely unprepared for it. She is committed to educating individuals, families, students, and clinicians to prepare for and talk about illness, death, and grief with compassion and tenderness.

Nancy Dias, PhD, MSN, RN, FPCN
Nancy Dias

Dr. Nancy Dias is an Associate Professor in the Nurse Science Department (College of Nursing). Her work experience in nursing includes both experiences in the United States and internationally (India and Oman) as a clinician, educator, administrator, and researcher.

As a researcher, she has a niche for a very significant and innovative aspect of pediatric palliative care services that include parent caregiver health outcomes, their bereavement processes, and innovative techno. She has received several research grants and among many awards, she is the recipient of the Research Nurse of the Year Award 2020 from North Carolina Nurses Association.

Anna Engle, MSN, RN

Anna has been a nurse at Pullman Regional Hospital since her graduation from Washington State University in 2005. Anna spent most of her career on the Medical-Surgical Unit, as a Lead Charge Nurse, and as a Clinical Coordinator.

Anna obtained her Masters in Nursing Leadership and Management from Western Governors University in 2020. She is a founding member of Pullman Regional Hospital’s Palliative Care Team and took the formal roll of Palliative Care Coordinator in 2022. Anna has taught End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) courses for nearly a decade. She has a passion for working with patients to improve their quality of life and work towards their health goals.

When not at work, Anna enjoys the time she gets with ger husband and three kids. She loves supporting her kids in their daily activities and finding joy in the daily chaos of life.

Verna L.  Hendricks-Ferguson, PhD, RN, FPCN, FAAN

Dr. Hendricks-Ferguson’s program of research has focused on making significant contributions to the pioneering study of palliative and end-of-life (PC/EOL) communication practices by pediatric oncology providers with parents of children with poor prognosis cancer. She has published research articles focused on PC/EOL pediatric provider communication practices and parental preferences to receive PC/EOL support during the care of children with cancer.

Leslie Hinyard, PhD, MSW

Dr. Hinyard is the Chair of the Department of Health and Clinical Outcomes Research and the Director of the Advanced HEAlth Data (AHEAD) Institute at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. She holds a PhD in Public Health Studies from Saint Louis University and a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis.

Savannah Horvick, BSN, RN

Savannah is a PhD in nursing student at East Carolina University, as well as a research assistant. She is completing her first year as an intermediate care nurse and will transition into the surgical trauma intensive care unit afterward. Savannah has been an active researcher throughout her academic career, participating in the publication of three studies and serving as the primary author on one of those. She is active in several organizations including Sigma Theta Tau International and the North Carolina Nurses Association, receiving both the Rising Star of Research and Scholarship and Student of the Year, respectively.

Mark Houghton, MSN, AGACNP-BC
Mark Houghton

Mark is a board-certified adult geriatric acute care nurse practitioner (AGACNP-BC) who obtained his masters of science in nursing from the University of South Alabama, Mobile. Mark serves as a full-time nurse practitioner on the hospitalist service for Pullman Regional Hospital’s inpatient services. In addition to his position as a hospitalist nurse practitioner, Mark serves as the provider for Pullman Regional Hospital’s Palliative Care Services, offering support to the community to improve the quality of life for those suffering from chronic and terminal health-related issues.

Mark has been employed with Pullman Regional Hospital since 2015 and has served as a critical care nurse prior to his role as a nurse practitioner. He has a vested interest in being of service to his patients and their families to improve their health and quality of life.

Christopher Kerr, MD, PhD
Christopher Kerr

Christopher is the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Executive Officer at Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Chris earned his MD as well as a PhD in Neurobiology. Outside of direct patient care, Chris’ focus is in the area of patient advocacy. His passion is palliative care and a belief that such care should be throughout the continuum of illness. Under Dr. Kerr’s medical leadership, Hospice Buffalo now serves 1,200 patients a day, the majority of whom receive services upstream of hospice care.

Dr. Kerr’s background in research has evolved from bench science towards the human experience of illness as witnessed from the bedside, specifically patient’s subjective experiences at the end of life. To date, the research team at Hospice Buffalo has published multiple studies on this topic and documented over 1,500 end-of-life events, many of which are videotaped. This work was the subject of his TEDx Buffalo Talk which has been viewed 5.3 million times. It has been the subject of numerous reports around the world as well as The BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, Scientific American Mind, Huffington Post, NY Times Magazine, and Psychology Today. It is also featured in a recent docu-series on Netflix called Surviving Death and a PBS Documentary called Death Is but A Dream. Dr. Kerr’s work has also been published in a book (Death Is but A Dream) by Penguin Random House which was released in 2020 in over 10 languages.

Dr. Kerr lives on a horse farm in East Aurora, NY.

Amon Israel Marti, MD, MMED
Amon Marti

Amon has been an Internal Medicine Physician Specialist and Executive Director of Selian Lutheran Hospital for eight years conducting internal medicine clinics, outreach clinics, administrative work, and supervising different health programs including a hospice and palliative care program.

Amon has experience in clinical work and health management systems. He trained at Hubert Kairuki Memorial University for a Degree of Medicine from 2003 to 2008 and completed a one-year Internship at Bugando Medical centre from 2008 to 2009. From 2012 to 2015, he completed a Masters of Internal Medicine at Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences-Bugando. His medical interest is in geriatric medicine and palliative care.

Oralia Mendez, MPH, CHW

Oralia is the Workforce Development and Community Programs Manager at the OSU Center for Health Innovation. She is a certified Community Health Worker (CHW) with more than nine years of professional experience as a CHW in Oregon. Oralia has been part of an interdisciplinary team conducting community level outreach, education, and community mobilization to engage communities and organizations in health planning. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Public Health with a focus in Health Management and Policy from the Oregon State University College of Health.

Jeannette M.  Meyer, MSN, RN, CCRN, CCNS, PCCN, ACHPN®

Jeannie started her health care career as a Nurse’s Aide working in long-term care, then as an LVN in Critical Care. She obtained her BSN and MSN from University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and has been a Clinical Nurse Specialist since 2000, with national certifications in Critical Care, Progressive Care, and Palliative Care. Jeannie is currently the Palliative Care CNS at UCLA Health and Past President of the HPNA Los Angeles Regional Chapter (HPNA-LARC). She serves on the Board of the National Association of CNSs (NACNS) as an at-large member.

Mikayla Mitchell, DNP, APRN

Mikayla is an undergraduate nursing student at East Carolina University and an Honors College member. She is currently participating in her first research study on the health outcomes for bereavement parents. Mikayla is an active part of her nursing community, as a peer tutor for nursing students and a member of the Beta Nu Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International. She hopes that the research she completes will improve the outcomes of bereaved parents while helping her grow into an empathetic, advocatory nurse.

Paul Z. Mmbando, MD, MPH
Paul Mmbando

Paul is a Medical Doctor currently working as the Director of Health and Diakonia programs at Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT). He is a Hospice and Palliative Care Physician, and Public Health Specialist, an adjunct lecturer for tertiary training institutions and Health Programs Manager with vast experience in management, advocacy, and research in the field of Clinical Medicine and Public Health.

Paul holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine and Surgery from Makerere University in East Africa, Post Graduate studies at University of Liverpool (UK) and University of Western Cape (SA) and advanced Medical Fellowship in Hospice Medicine in San Diego, CA.

Darryl Owens, MDiv, BCC, CT
Darryl Owens

Darryl received his BA degree in Industrial Relations at UNC Chapel Hill and his Masters of Divinity at Duke University. He has served as a Clinical Chaplain at Central Prison in Raleigh, NC and became a Women’s Services Chaplain/Grief Counselor at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, NC in Feb. 2001. His duties include providing pastoral care and grief counseling to patients, families, and staff served by the NC Women’s Hospital.

Darryl manages the perinatal bereavement program, serves on the hospital Bereavement Team, and co-facilitates community bereavement support groups. He is certified as a clinical chaplain through the Association for Professional Chaplains and is one of its Past Presidents. Darryl is certified in thanatology through the Association for Death Education and Counseling. He serves as a national speaker for RTS Perinatal Bereavement Services and has authored several chapters and articles related to perinatal bereavement. Darryl and his wife are parents of three children and grandparents of one.

Tracey Piparo, PA-C, DFAAPA
Tracy Piparo, PA-C, DFAAPA

Tracey has been a Physician Assistant since 2001, practicing in emergency, hospital and now palliative medicine. She has been involved in PA advocacy for more than 11 years, holding various positions in the New Jersey State Society of PAs, including as a past President. She has a passion for legislative involvement while increasing the recognition and advancement of the profession as an integral part of a collaborative health care system. She was instrumental in initiating legislation to have PAs be able to complete the POLST in New Jersey and also during the pandemic was vital to having an executive order signed allowing PAs to practice unencumbered throughout the state where their services were needed.

Tracey is currently the outreach chair for the Physician Associates in Hospice and Palliative Medicine (PAHPM) and hopes to continue to increase the visibility of PAs in palliative while sharing information to patients and loved ones to normalize death and dying.

Christina Puchalski, MD, MS, FACP, FAAHPM
Christina Puchalski

Christina is an international leader in the movement to integrate spiritual health into clinical settings, education, and policy. She is Professor of Medicine and Founder and Executive Director of the George Washington University’s Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish) at GW University in Washington, DC.

Dr. Puchalski’s work has influenced clinical practice globally through clinical guidelines and research. Dr. Puchalski has received numerous awards, including being named in 2018 as one of “30 Visionaries” in the field by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and in 2022, receiving the Debra Sivesind Career Award for Outstanding Contributions to Palliative Care.

Nosim Sirikwa Peter, MSW
Nosim Sirikwa Peter

Nosim is a social worker with more than 10 years of experience helping to develop palliative care services at ELCT health institutions around the country. Nosim supports the advocacy and engagement of the government and other stakeholders to improve access to palliative care services among those in need. As an advisor for health programs and projects at the ELCT health and diakonia directorate, Nosim has a role in guiding the efforts to integrate palliative care services into other programs and projects within the ELCT network. This covers early childhood development, reproductive health, and targeted HIV/AIDS programs, particularly for orphans and children who are vulnerable. Nosim oversees capacity development initiatives and participates in the creation of policies and standards that facilitate the delivery of palliative care.

B. Elias Snyder, PhD, NP-C, ACHPN®
Elias Snyder

Elias is an Assistant Professor of Global Health at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. Elias is a practicing nurse practitioner; double board certified in primary care and palliative care/hospice and holds a PhD in global psychology and spirituality. He has practiced as a nurse practitioner in palliative care for a decade in the United States and East Africa. His current research focuses on reciprocal, global learning in palliative care and grief, intentionally bridging Indigenous science with evidence-based Euro-Western science through a lens of decolonization. He is leading a global learning project to improve models of palliative care in the U.S. and Tanzania. Past project highlights include developing trainings for the Rwandan National Policy on Nutrition, designing health and nutrition curricula with Gardens for Health International, UNICEF, and World Food Program, and strengthening a global clinician education program at FAME hospital in Tanzania.

Maximillian H. Stevenson, PharmD, MA, BCPS
Max Stevenson

Max is a Palliative Care Clinical Pharmacist at MedStar Health Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. He is published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure, the Journal of Palliative Medicine, and the Journal of Pain and Palliative Care. He supports the regional community as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Georgetown.

Max is an active member of the Society of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacists and is professionally interested in bioethics, palliative care, pain and symptom management, informatics, and harm reduction practices for patients struggling with substance abuse and pain.

Cara L.  Wallace, PhD, LMSW, APHSW-C

Dr. Cara Wallace is Votsmier Endowed Chair and Professor in the Valentine School of Nursing at Saint Louis University, with a secondary appointment in Social Work. Informed practice experience in hospice and hospitals, her research focuses on barriers and access to hospice and palliative care. Dr. Wallace has been published/featured in USA Today, Health Affairs Forefront, St. Louis Public Radio, and The Excerpt, and has more than 35 peer-reviewed publications. She is also a co-editor of the 2024 OUP textbook, Intentionally Interprofessional Palliative Care. She has received funding through NINR and NIA and is a Cambia Health Foundation Sojourns Scholar.

Karla T. Washington, PhD

Karla Washington, PhD, LCSW, researches interventions intended to promote the cultural, spiritual, and biopsychosocial wellbeing of patients, families, and communities facing life-limiting, serious illnesses. Dr. Washington’s research applies digital health solutions in the linked fields of palliative and hospice care. Her current projects include: an intervention to support and educate rural hospice family caregivers controlling pain and various distressing issues in the home setting as well as a cognitive-behavioral intervention randomized clinical trial for caregivers of family members with cancer who are receiving palliative care in the outpatient setting.

Beth A. Williams, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, ACHPN®
Beth Williams

Dr. Beth A. Williams is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with nearly twenty-eight years of experience in nursing. She completed both her BSN and MSN in her home state of West Virginia and her DNP with the Medical University of South Carolina focusing on Palliative Care. Her doctoral work was published in the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. She has been working as an APRN with Hospice of Marion County in Florida for nearly nine years and is an Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse. She is a member of the HPNA and Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society.

Stephanie Wladkowski, PhD, LMSW, APHSW-C

Stephanie is the Larry & Patty Benz Professor and Professor of Social Work at Bowling Green State University. Dr. Wladkowski has several years of clinical practice experience and her main research interest is focused on live discharge from hospice, or when individuals stop receiving hospice care due to no longer meeting the eligibility requirements.

Event Partners

The Team Conference will be hosted by: HPNA Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) Physician Associates in Hospice and Palliative Medicine (PAHPM) Social Work Hospice + Palliative Care Network (SWHPN) Society of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacists (SPPCP) Transforming Chaplaincy