Keynote Speaker: DR. JAMES TULSKY

~Chair, Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
~Chief, Division of Palliative Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
~Co-Director, Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care
~Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

James A. Tulsky, MD, has a longstanding interest in doctor-patient communication and quality of life in serious illness, and has published widely in these areas. His current research focuses on the evaluation and enhancement of communication between oncologists and patients with advanced cancer; identification of clinical, psychosocial, and spiritual trajectories of patients at the end of life; development of self-management interventions for patients with life-limiting illness; and evaluating the role of palliative care in congestive heart failure.

He is a Founding Director of VitalTalk, a non-profit devoted to nurturing healthier connections between clinicians and patients through communication skills teaching.

Plenary Speaker: DR. ALI MENDELSON
Capturing Dignity: Using Photographs to Bring Dignity to Patients and Help Clinicians Find Meaning in Their Work

Dr. Mendelson is a neurologist and palliative care physician. The goals of Palliative Medicine are to provide relief from the symptoms and stress of serious illness and to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Dr. Mendelson recognizes that each patient has their own unique story, goals, and values. She helps prioritize what is most important to patients and collaborates with all of the specialties within Compass to align the medical plan with patient’s goals. Her training in neurology and palliative medicine also gives her the expertise to manage symptoms so that patients can enjoy a better quality of life.

Outside of work, Dr. Mendelson enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and her dog. She also loves film photography and feels privileged to bear witness to the happy and often bittersweet moments in people’s lives, both as a physician and photographer.


Luciana Arcas, RN-BSN – Gonzaga University
Improving Outcomes of End-of-Life Care in Assisted Living by Increasing Staff

Peter Bennett, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C – OHSU
Narrative Therapy: Approaches in an Outpatient Oncology Setting – Narrative Therapy (Bennett)

Sumathi Devarajan, MD
Patient Centered Palliative Care – Patient Centered Palliative Care (Devarajan)

Susan Hedlund, LCSW
Dire Decisions: Managing Family Conflict at the End of Life

Jennifer Hopping, LCSW – Kaiser Permanente
Promoting Excellent Care Delivery & Team Cohesion in an Era of Virtual Care
Co-Presenting with Joelle Osterhaus

Julia Kasl-Godley, PhD – The Wright Institute
Risk Assessment and Interventions for Complications in Bereavement

Jamie Newell MSW, LCSW, LICSW, OSW-C – Compass Oncology
Holding the Suffering of Others: Navigating the Risks of Compassion Fatigue in Palliative Care – Holding the Suffering of Others (Newell)

Joelle Osterhaus, LCSW – Kaiser Permanente
Promoting Excellent Care Delivery & Team Cohesion in an Era of Virtual Care
Co-Presenting with Jennifer Hopping

Salomé Pérez, PhD – Miami VA Healthcare System
Spinal Cord Injury: Redefining Life After Loss Spinal Cord Injury (Pérez)

Asher Wallis – Inviting the Conversation
Compassion, Forgiveness, and Grieving as Skills