All people living with serious illnesses have access to compassionate, comprehensive, whole-person care that honors lived experiences and is accountable to historical harms.


SWHPN enhances hospice and palliative care social work through mentorship, education, community building, and advocacy as change agents committed to equity and anti-racism. We start with ourselves to dismantle harms perpetuated within the systems in which we exist.


SWHPN grew out of the 2002 Social Work Leadership Development Awards Program. Sponsored by the Open Society Foundation’s Project on Death in America (PDIA), a project of the Soros Foundation, this program of 42 social work leaders was led by Dr. Grace Christ to create the first Social Work Summit on End-of-Life and Palliative Care. The summit created a priority map for furthering the field. In 2005, the second Social Work Summit was held, and its members developed a steering committee, a monograph report, and other concrete next steps toward advancing best practices in the field. Just two years later, in 2007, SWHPN was officially established, opened to members, established a board of directors and elected officers, and in 2008 hosted its first general assembly. 

Since 2008, the SWHPN General Assembly has convened annually. From across the country, members gather to network and learn, as well as explore new ideas and advance social work policy at the local and national levels. 

SWHPN is a proud member of the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care.


SWHPN has grown to welcome hundreds of interdisciplinary palliative and hospice social work and care professionals from across the country and the world into its member network of caregivers, practitioners, policymakers and educators aligning to further the field of care and champion advancements in best practices, research, funding and policy. 

Interested in membership? Professional and student memberships are available at the link below.