2020 Plenaries & Keynote Speakers

SWHPN is pleased to announce the following plenary keynote talks taking place during this year's General Assembly. Over the two days of the conference, you'll have the opportunity to hear from leaders and experts on a wide range of topics - there is truly something for everyone!

To see the full list of 2020 program sessions:

For 2020 registration, click here.

Monday, June 15: Opening Plenary
Leadership Lessons: Looking Back & Looking Ahead

How do social workers become effective leaders as we progress in our careers? Are there specific "must-do" programs one should join, or is leadership an inherent character trait? How does one find a mentor that is a good fit? How can one maximize their professional network opportunities?

Join us as we kick off the 2020 SWHPN General Assembly with an interactive and dynamic forum moderated by Peggy Maguire, President, Cambia Health Foundation. This plenary session convenes established influencers Myra Glajchen, DSW, Director of Medical Education at MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care, and Barbara Jones, PhD, MSW, FNAP, Associate Dean for Health Affairs at the University of Texas Steve Hicks School of Social Work, as well as rising leaders; Bridget Sumser, MSW, and Liz Anderson, DSW, LCSW, both Cambia Health Foundation Sojourns® Scholars, in an intimate conversation where panelists will share lessons learned,  new discoveries, and ideas for how best to develop key leadership skills and cultivate ones professional career.
Tuesday, June 16: Morning Plenary
Interrupting Racism in Hospice and Palliative Care


Racism in medicine has a long and insidious history that directly impacts us today as clinicians in hospice and palliative care. As a profession, we see ourselves as advocates against unjust racist practices. But, despite our best intent, we are not impervious to the power of the structurally racialized society in which we live. "The responsibility of individual social workers is to recognize that structural racism plays out in their personal and professional lives and to use that awareness to ameliorate its influences in all aspects of social work practice..." (Presidential Task Force Subcommittee-Institutional Racism, NASW, 2007, p. 3)

Join us for an honest conversation about the impact of racism on patient care and on clinician burnout at all levels of practice-- micro, mezzo and macro. Moderated by Michelle Charles, LCSW, Eunju Lee, LCSW, and Tracy Ng, LASW, this plenary will allow us to create a thoughtful conversation among our peers and develop actionable steps we can all take after the conference to promote equity, empower others, and ultimately improve care.

Tuesday, June 16: Closing Plenary
Examining the Experiences of LGBTQ Patients and Families within Hospice and Palliative Care: From Research to Real Life 

Does discrimination towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities disappear when seeking end-of-life care? Join us for a closing talk which will highlight a recent study which finds strong evidence that these patients and their families are more likely to receive discriminatory health care at some of the most vulnerable moments of their lives, negatively impacting trust between patient and provider, and possibly leading to delayed treatment and/or other poor outcomes.

Researchers Gary Stein, JD, MSW and Cathy Berkman, PhD, MSW, will lead the discussion around the study's findings on inadequate, disrespectful, or abusive care to patients and family members due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Kimberly Acquaviva, PhD, MSW, CWE, will discuss the barriers to, and facilitators of, high-quality care she and her wife, Kathy Brandt encountered as a lesbian couple, after Kathy was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer. Together, they will offer insights into what hospice and palliative care professionals can do to increase access for LGBTQ+ patients and families moving forward, with implications for future research, institutional and public policy, and practice, as well as suggestions for eliminating current policy barriers,  and the importance of staff training to address inadequate knowledge and discriminatory behaviors.


Many thanks to our 2020 keynote speakers. More information on our speakers forthcoming!