Keynote Speaker:
Ira Byock, MD

Dr. Ira Byock, Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, is a leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care through the end of life.

He is Founder and Chief Medical Officer for the Institute for Human Caring of Providence St. Joseph Health, a 50 hospital health system serving communities across 7 states. Dr. Byock advances efforts to measure, monitor and improve whole-person health care systemwide. He is a practicing physician and is based in Torrance, CA.

Dr. Byock is Active Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Community & Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He served as Director of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire from 2003 through July 2013.

Dr. Byock has been involved in hospice and palliative care since 1978, during his residency. At that time he helped found a hospice home care program for the indigent population served by the university hospital and county clinics of Fresno, California. He is a Past President (1997) of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. During the 1990s he was a co-founder and principal investigator for the Missoula Demonstration Project, a community-based organization in Montana dedicated to the research and transformation of end-of-life experience locally, as a demonstration of what is possible nationally. From 1996 through 2006, he served as Director for Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care, a national grant program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Byock has authored numerous peer-reviewed academic articles on the ethics and practice of care. His research has led to conceptual frameworks for the lived experience of advanced illness, subjective quality of life measures, and simple, effective life-completion counseling. His leadership in development of groundbreaking prototypes for concurrent care of people through the end of life has been foundational to advancing patient-centered care.

Plenary Speakers:
Susan Hedlund, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C (OHSU)

Susan has been an oncology social worker for thirty years and specializes in the development and provision of psychosocial support services for people with cancer and their loved ones. Currently supervise adult oncology social workers at OHSU and coordinate wellness offerings of yoga, mindfulness-based stress reduction, exercise, massage, and retreats for people with cancer.

Previously directed the cancer counseling program at Cancer Care Resources (a program of the NW Cancer Specialists), and also directed the Palliative Care Program at Hospice and Palliative Care of Washington County.

Has spoken and written extensively about the impact of cancer on individuals and families, and on palliative and end of life care. Is a Senior Scholar for the Center for Ethics at OHSU. Is a past-president of the Association of Oncology Social Work.

Louise E. Marasco, PhD (Transitions Professional Center)
Dr. Marasco, licensed clinical psychologist, founded Transitions Professional Center. She completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Palo Alto University in California and completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Miami VA Healthcare System in Florida with specialized training in geropsychology. Following internship, she completed a palliative care post-doctoral Fellowship at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System with training emphasis in inpatient hospice care, extended care, palliative care and palliative care consult service. All programs were APA-accredited, meeting the highest standards and guidelines for psychology training programs in the US.

Dr. Marasco’s areas of specialties include work with adults and older adults facing impending loss, who are actively dying, and who are bereaved. Areas of training experience include evaluation and treatment of clients with spinal cord injury, pre- and post-heart transplant, PTSD, and severely mentally ill. Her academic and clinical training includes an emphasis in neuropsychological assessment in adults with various etiologies, including traumatic brain injury, dementia, stroke and other vascular disorders. Much of her clinical training was established with inpatient and outpatient veterans and their families, and experience in a county inpatient psychiatric facility. Louise’s research focus has also revolved around loss, including loss of a perinatal baby.

Dr. Marasco’s career in palliative care, end-of-life care and bereavement initially grew out of interest in cultural and religious differences in customs and beliefs around death and dying. During her studies of Buddhism, she simultaneously worked as a home hospice volunteer for several years. This work led her to commit to formal doctoral training in clinical psychology.


Conference agenda is listed and may be downloaded on our “Agenda” page.

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