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Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence








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

Article published in the Seattle Times

"Let’s talk about dementia to bring it out of the shadows"


Dr. Barak Gaster, Cambia PCCE member,  has written an article on dementia which has been published in the Seattle Times, "Let’s talk about dementia to bring it out of the shadows."


Main focus: the value of an early diagnosis of dementia, and why we need to get people (and especially primary care doctors) more educated, engaged and less afraid to talk about it.


2019 PNW Palliative Care Conference

April 22-23, 2019

(Click on image below to view and/or download the PDF Announcement)

PCORI Grant/ Four Year Clinical Research Study
Project Summary report:


"Improving Communication by Preparing Patients and Doctors for a Conversation about
Care Goals for Serious Illness"
Principal Investigator: J. Randall Curtis, MD, MPH
Director: Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence

(Click on image below to view and/or download
tthe Research Summary)

Jill Steiner, MD awarded the AAHPM Research

Scholars Program Scholarship

Cambia PCCE Researcher, Jill Steiner, MD, has been awarded the Research Scholars Program Scholarship by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) Research Committee.


Dr. Steiner will  receive support to attend the 2018 12th Annual Kathleen M. Foley Palliative Care Retreat & Research Symposium of the National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC).
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Steiner for receiving this significant award. More information ...

2018 Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon
Physician Award

Congratulations to Gregg VandeKieft, M.D., MA

Cambia PCCE would like to congratulate Gregg VandeKieft, M.D., MA, for earning a highly competitive 2018 Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Award, in the senior physician category. Dr. VandeKieft is medical director for palliative care, Providence St. Peter Hospital, Olympia, Wash., clinical associate professor of family medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, and associate medical director of the Palliative Practice Group overseen by the Institute for Human Caring.


As the judges noted, he expanded several palliative care programs in southwest Washington, including in rural areas where few existed. Dr. VandeKieft also was recognized for exhibiting exceptional talent for compassionately communicating with patients, families, and fellow physicians, including about physician-assisted death, which is legal in Washington State.

"Palliative care isn't about the end of life, it's about the fullness of life, and allowing people to live it as fully as possible," Dr. VandeKieft says of his practice.



© 2012 - 2018 Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence