The Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network is committed to fostering and encouraging social work excellence in psychosocial research, education, and clinical practice in palliative care.

Each year, SWHPN members nominate their peers to recognize outstanding achievements in social work hospice and palliative care. Self-nominations are permitted. Winners are recognized at the annual General Assembly; below are the award categories and the previous awardees.

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Winners will be announced at the 2023 SWHPN General Assembly in Denver, CO.


  • Nominee must hold a degree in Social Work from an academic institution recognized by the Council on Social Work
  • Education or a comparable accrediting body in the nominee’s country
  • Nominee must have exemplified excellence and leadership in end-of-life, hospice and palliative care that has reached beyond their immediate institution/place of employment
  • The Awards Committee and the SWHPN Board of Directors shall determine who receives the award(s)
  • Previous winners are not eligible for the same award
  • If nominated and awarded, award winners will also be encouraged to publish their work in a professional journal, such as the Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care, the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, and the Journal of Palliative Medicine.
  • Nominees are not required to be SWHPN members

PDIA: SWHPN Award for Career Achievement

Originating with the Open Society Institute’s Project on Death in America’s initiative to understand and transform the culture and experience of dying and bereavement, the PDIA Social Work Leadership Award is designed to honor an individual who has made an outstanding professional contribution in the palliative care. PDIA award winners have had a national or international impact on the field for at least 15 years and have dedicated themselves to advancing the development or improvement of psychosocial palliative care for individuals with chronic illness, individuals in hospice, or those confronting grief, loss and bereavement. Nominees must have made a singular contribution to the development and understanding of palliative care and bereavement that historically has and will continue to distinguish his/her work. Criteria: The award recognizes a significant professional contribution to the field for 15 years or more, with a definable body of work through one or more of the following: Theory development; Presentations at professional conferences; Teaching/training; Research; Publications; Professional practice  

2022 Award Winners

Kimberly Acquaviva, PhD, MSW, CSE Professor, University of Virginia 

John Cagle, PhD, MSW, Associate Professor, University of Maryland, Baltimore

Previous PDIA winners: Karen Bullock, PhD, LCSW, North Carolina State University  Tracy Schroepfer, Ph.D • Ellen L. Csikai, PhD, MSW, MPH • Barbara Head, PhD, RN, CHPN, FPCN, ACSW • Gary Stein, JD,MSW •   Judy Peres, LCSW-C • Penny Damaskos, PhD, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C  Iris Cohen Fineberg, PhD, MSW, OSW-C • Susan Gerbino, PhD, LCSW • Terry Altilio, MSW, ACSW, LCSW • Grace Christ, DSW/PhD • Susan Blacker, MSW, RSW • Nancy Contro, MSW, LCSW • Barbara L. Jones, PhD • Shirley Otis-Green, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, OSW-C • Debra Parker Oliver, PhD, MSW 

SWHPN Award for Emerging Leader in Hospice and Palliative Social Work

This award is designed to honor a palliative social worker with six or less years of experience in the field who has already demonstrated significant contributions. Emerging Leaders should show potential to move the field forward and evidence of excellence and innovation in any of the following areas: professional practice, leadership, research, education, and/or policy and advocacy work. Criteria: The nominee demonstrates:

Excellence in professional practice, leadership, research, education or policy and advocacy work as demonstrated by:

  • Honors, awards, and reputation in one’s area of specialization, judgment by peers, supervisors, administrators, and clients.
  • Contributions to the field as demonstrated by: innovations in practice, research, education, policy and advocacy or leadership in organizations as it relates to palliative care, grief, loss and bereavement.
  • Continuing growth as demonstrated by: keeping abreast of new developments in the field and being at the cutting edge of developing ideas.

2022 Award Winner: Whitney Price, LCSW, CGCS, Clinical Supervisor, St. Luke’s Children’s Palliative and Supportive Care

Previous winners: Rachel Rusch, MSW, MA, Children's Hospital Los Angeles  Stephanie Wladkowski, Ph.D, LMSW, ACHP-SW  Allie Shukraft, MSW, MAT •  Anne M. Keleman, LICSW, ACHP-SW  •  Lizzy Miles, MA, MSW, LSW  •  Maxxine Rattner, MSW, RSW •  Rebecca Freeman, LMSW, ACHP-SW  •   Bridget Sumser, LMSW •  Christine Wilkins, PhD, LCSW • Elizabeth Wilde, LCSW • Sara Sanders, PhD, MSW • Kathryn Shoemaker, LMSW 

SWHPN Awards of Excellence

This award will be presented to individuals in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of palliative social work in one of the following four areas:

Clinical Practice: The recipient will demonstrate outstanding clinical contributions to palliative social work. This award focuses on the distinctive contribution made in providing or developing services to patients and families or in clinical supervision of others. The recipient shows innovation and sustained successful clinical service.

2022 Award Winners:

Delia Cortez, LCSW, LICSW, APHSW-C, Clinical Social Worker, UCLA Department of Care Coordination and Clinical Social Work

Amanda Moment, MSW, LICSW, Clinical Social Worker, Brigham and Young’s Hospital

Previous winner: Arika Patneaude, MSW, LICSW, APHSW-C, Seattle Children's Hospital 

Professional Education: The recipient’s scholarship or accomplishments in education and/or training have brought about changes or enhanced the knowledge base in palliative care. The recipient’s contribution as a teacher, supervisor and/or administrator will have influenced the methods and settings utilized in education and training in ways of significant benefit to palliative social work. 

2022 Award Winner: Dr. Abigail Nathanson, LSW, DSW, APHSW-C, ACS, Silver School of Social Work at New York University

Psychosocial Research: The recipient will demonstrate an ongoing consistent record of research and publication that adds/contributes significantly to the body of knowledge in psychosocial palliative care, hospice, grief, loss, and bereavement.

2022 Award Winners

Dr. Abigail Rolbiecki, PhD, MSW, MPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Missouri

Dr. Danetta Sloan, PhD, MSW, MA, Assistant Scientist, Johns Hopkins University

Previous winner: Cara Wallace, PhD, LMSW, APHSW-C, Saint Louis University

Policy and Administration: The recipient will demonstrate outstanding contributions to palliative social work through policy analysis or advocacy, program development or administration, or public engagement. The recipient’s activities show leadership and commitment to promoting community access to palliative care services and/or advancing the field of palliative social work.

2022 Award Winners:

Lori Hardoon, LCSW, Senior Director, Palliative Care Supportive Services and Partners in Dignity, Long Island Regional Care Center

Dr. Suzanne Marmo, PhD, LCSW, APHSW-C, Assistant Professor, Sacred Heart  University

Previous winners: Jennifer Dickman Portz, Ph.D  •  Virge Luce, MSW, LCSW-R  •  Abigail Latimer, LCSW, APHSW-C  •   Linda Mathew, LCSW-R, OSW-C •  Katherine Supiano, PhD, LCSWMarsha Joselow, MSW, LICSW   •   Karla T. Washington, PhD, LCSW  •   Dory Hottensen, LCSW   •   Mary C. Knecht, LCSW, ACHP-SW •  Daniel S. Gardner, PhD, LCSW   •   Eileen Schmidt, LCSW, ACHP-SW • Taryn Lindhorst, PhD, LCSW • Jennifer M. Giuffrida, LCSW, ACHP-SW • Susan Murty, PhD, MSW

Journal of Social Work in Hospice and Palliative Care Best Article Award, sponsored by SWHPN and Taylor & Francis

This award honors an article published in the Journal of Social Work in End of Life and Palliative Care over the preceding year.

Editor’s Choice: Best Article Award for 2021:

Adding Ritualized Chanting to the Palliative Care of Cancer Patients at the End of Life: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care

Nopbhornphetchara, M., Pranom, O., & Liehr. P. (2021)

Editor’s Choice: Best Article Award for 2021- Honorable Mention: 

Advance directives in the nursing home setting: An initiative to increase completion and reduce potentially avoidable hospitalizations.

Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care.

Galambos, C., Rantz, M., Popejoy, L., Ge, B., & Petroski, G. (2021)

SWHPN Awards for Outstanding Posters

Each year, psychosocial professionals from around the world submit posters for presentation at the SWHPN General Assembly. SWHPN recognizes the best of those awards on the second day of the Assembly. 

Click Here to Submit a Nomination