News and Events



Dear Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence Community,



The addition of a Program Manager is an important step as we continue to increase our programmatic footprint across palliative care research, education, and clinical leadership at UW. In the coming year, we plan to launch a new 5 year strategic vision. It is our aim to engage you, our members, in our ongoing work and seek to increase our impact in promoting palliative care. We look forward to sharing more in the coming months.



Health Equities and End of Life Communication


Rashmi Sharma, MD, MHS, assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine. As a palliative care clinician and researcher on health equities, Sharma has centered her career around reducing racial/ethnic disparities in end-of-life communication and improving the quality of end-of-life care through patient and family-centered communication.  Read more about her on Department of
Medicine Website.



K23 Grantee Award


Dr. Crystal Brown, clinical instructor has been awarded a K23 from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to investigate racial inequities in end-of-life healthcare. Brown will determine how perceived discrimination affects communication and decision-making during serious illness.



2020 NPCRC Grantee Award


Congratulations to Dr. Jill Steiner, Grantee of

a National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC) award, providing career development, allowing junior faculty to have the protected time required to develop and conduct the pilot research necessary to be competitive for larger, extramurally-funded awards.


Dr. Steiner's will use the award funding in "Assessing and Promoting Resilience in Patients with Adult Congenital Heart Disease"


Learn more about the NCPCRC and 2020 Award Grantees



New Publication on Advanced Directives


Dr. Susan Merel was first author and Dr. Barak Gaster was co-author on a paper published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Association titled: “Advance Directives for Dementia Can Elicit Preferences to Improve Patient Care.”




A View from the Frontline - Covid 19


Dr. J. Randall Curtis, is senior author of

 “A View from the Frontline: Palliative and Ethical Considerations of the COVID-19 Pandemic” in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.






"Palliative care: Navigating serious illness"


UW Medicine palliative care clinicians discuss the importance of collaborative and empathetic care — in both the primary and specialty care settings — in helping our patients and their families find understanding and empowerment in dealing with serious illness and end-of-life situations.

     Speakers include Drs. Jim Fausto, medical director of palliative care at UW Medicine, Randy Curtis, director of Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence at UW Medicine, and Rashmi Sharma, palliative care physician at UW Medical Center.

Dr. Paula Houston, director of healthcare equity at UW Medicine, provides an equity perspective.
Listen to Podcast











The Palliative Care Center of Excellence at the University of Washington was launched in 2012 with the goal of giving every patient with serious illness access to high-quality palliative care focused on relieving symptoms, maximizing quality of life and ensuring care that concentrates on patients’ goals. Interprofessional teams of nurses, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists and doctors must work together to meet the complex medical, emotional and spiritual needs of seriously ill patients and their loved ones, and these teams need support and resources. The goal of the newly renamed Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence, directed by J. Randall Curtis, M.D., MPH, is to see that palliative care has an integral and prominent role in healthcare — regionally, nationally and internationally — for seriously ill patients and their families.


About Cambia Health Foundation


Based in Portland, Ore., Cambia Health Foundation is the corporate Foundation of Cambia Health Solutions, a total health solutions company dedicated to transforming the way people experience health care. Founded in 2007, Cambia Health Foundation awards grants in three program areas: Palliative Care, Transforming Health Care and Children’s Health. The Foundation has funded just over $29 million in grants to support these causes. Cambia Health Foundation’s investments in palliative care advance patient- and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing and treating suffering.
Learn more at



What is Palliative Care?


  • Palliative (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness — whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and their family.
  • Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.
  • Palliative care addresses a patient's physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs and facilitates patient autonomy, access to information and choice.
  • There is a significant need to increase, enhance and support the palliative care workforce on a national level. Today, there is approximately one palliative care medical professional for every 1,200 people facing serious illness. And, as the baby boomer population ages, there will be a greatly increased need for palliative care both for patients and their families.



What Will the Cambia Palliative Care
Center of Excellence Do?


VIDEO: UW Medicine Palliative Care

Drs. Randy Curtis, Tony Back and Caroline Hurd describe palliative care and how it has transformed the lives of patients at UW Medicine Clinical Sites.


The mission of the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence is to improve the palliative care received by patients with serious illness and their families and to provide support to clinicians caring for these patients. The center will help ensure that all patients and families are treated in a compassionate, respectful, individualized way by focusing on three interrelated areas:

  • Enhancing the palliative care programs at UW Medicine hospitals and providing tools and support to other institutions building palliative care programs;
  • Educating physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and other clinicians, as well as students, in the art and science of providing thoughtful, expert palliative care; and
  • Conducting research and innovative pilot projects to improve our understanding of high-quality palliative care and how to deliver it to every patient with serious illness every time.


About the Cambia
Palliative Care Center of Excellence

Dr. Randy Curtis speaks about the progress of

Cambia  Palliative Care Center of Excellence

Click on image below to start video

Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence

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