CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care

Supporting New Academic Palliative Care Research



Building the palliative care evidence base is critical to expanding access to palliative care and ensuring that health care professionals are equipped with the most effective strategies to support people with serious illnesses along with their families.

Since 2016, the Institute has awarded more than $105,000 in seed grants funded by the Gary and Mary West Foundation for academic palliative care research that supports the foundation’s mission of enabling seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality health and support services.

The grants, presented over three years at the National Symposium for Academic Palliative Care Education and Research, have funded studies at universities across the country, three CSU faculty-led projects include:

  • A study on “Investigating Communicative Access in Advance Directive Planning for Persons With Aphasia,” conducted by Nidhi Mahendra, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, associate professor, communicative disorders and sciences, Spartan Aphasia Research Clinic, San José State. Dr. Mahendra’s study found that, among other things, persons with aphasia expressed a strong desire to communicate their health care preferences, benefited from game-oriented approaches to advance-care planning and required an average of five to six interventions to complete the advance directive process.
  • Research on “Somatic Movement With Music Protocol Development and Implementation for Seniors in Hospice Care,” led by Wendell Hanna, Ph.D., professor of music education, at San Francisco State. Dr. Hanna’s project was to develop protocols that combine gentle exercises with music to provide physical and mental stress relief for senio​rs in hospice care. Her study found the combined interventions were more effective than music or exercise alone, and they were also successful in relieving the stress of hospice staff, families and trained volunteers.
  • A project on “Increasing Palliative Care Within the Latino Community,” led by Joy Goebel, RN, MN, Ph.D., FPCN, associate professor of nursing at Cal State Long Beach. Dr. Goebel’s study focused on holistic palliative care training for promotores de salud—community health workers who educate families and caregivers on topics such as disease-management strategies, prevention and access to health services. In addition to the seed grant, Dr. Goebel’s project was funded by a grant of nearly $55,000 from the UniHealth Foundation, awarded through the CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care. Over a two-year span, promotores trained through the project went on to train more than 1,950 community members in schools, churches and senior centers in the Los Angeles area.

New funders are being sought to underwrite seed grants for the 2021 symposium.​​​​