Washington End-of-Life Coalition

WEOLC logoThe WSMA created the Washington End-of-Life Coalition in June 1997 with an agreement among participating parties on a vision for end-of-life care and a set of goals to realize this vision. The coalition works to ensure that it is responding to short-range needs in care for the dying while allowing its long-range work to evolve, as end-of-life care itself evolves. Membership to the coalition is free. Email Graham Short, gfs@wsma.org, to join.

The 2016 Washington End-of-Life Coalition
Annual Meeting

Friday, Nov. 18
9 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Seattle Airport Marriott

Anthony Back MD, professor at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and co-director of the UW Center for Excellence in Palliative Care, is the featured presenter at this year’s Washington End-of-Life Coalition annual meeting, Friday, Nov. 18 at the Seattle Airport Hilton. Dr. Back will join coalition leaders and community representatives from across the state to present a full-day program exploring innovative approaches being developed in Washington state pertaining to palliative medicine and end-of-life care.



8:30 a.m.
9 a.m.
10 a.m.
Updates from around the state part 1 
  • Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
    • Advocacy in Washington state
    • State of caregiver training
    • National POLST update
  • Hospice – Leslie Emerick, Director of Public Policy and Outreach, Washington State Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
10:25 a.m.
10:40 a.m.
Updates from around the state part 2 
  • Honoring Choices® Pacific Northwest – Jessica Martinson, MS, Director of Clinical Education and Professional Development, Washington State Medical Association
  • VSED (TBD)
  • Death with Dignity in Washington – Sally McLaughlin (tent.), Executive Director, End of Life Washington
11:20 a.m.
This year's short presentations will feature Trudy James, Carolyn Hurd and Vicky Neely. More information to come.
12:20 p.m.
1:20 a.m.
This year's short presentations will feature Trudy James, Carolyn Hurd and Vicky Neely. More information to come.
1:50 a.m.
2:05 p.m.
Anthony Back MD, professor at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and co-director of the UW Center for Excellence in Palliative Care.
3:00 p.m.
Closing remarks/evaluations
3:30 p.m.

Exhibitor information

The fee for exhibitors is $200 and will include: one 6' skirted table (fabric draping), two chairs and company representative(s) name badges. To register as an exhibitor, download an application form and submit with payment. The exhibit fee includes meeting registration fee for one exhibit manager. If other company representatives aside from the exhibit manager would like to attend the meeting, they'll need to register separately and pay the general registration fee.

Applications can be submitted via email to gfs@wsma.org, by fax to 206.441.5863 Attn: Graham, or by mail to WSMA, 2001 6th Ave, Suite 2700, Seattle, WA 98121

Booth assignments will be determined by the event organizers. Cancellations received on or after Nov. 14 will be charged a $25 service fee. The deadline for exhibitor applications is Monday, Nov. 14. Exhibitor space is limited, so apply today.

If you have any questions about exhibiting at the meeting, contact Graham Short at (800) 551-0612, or gfs@wsma.org.

Sponsorships available

In order to keep our registration fees affordable for all, we are looking for some partners in offering the meeting this year. If you and/or your organization would like to help us make this meeting possible, contact Graham Short at 800.551.0612 or gfs@wsma.org.

Sponsorship Acknowledgement
$250 Bronze Sponsor Name acknowledgement in meeting program, name acknowledged on the WEOLC website for six months and supporter of the Annual Meeting.
$500 Silver Sponsor Name acknowledgement in meeting program, logo on the WEOLC website for six months, acknowledged as sponsor for the Annual Meeting breakfast.
$1000 Gold Sponsor Logo acknowledgement in meeting program, logo on the WEOLC website for six months, acknowledged as sponsor for the Annual Meeting.


Registration will open Monday, Oct. 24.

Date and Time
Friday, Nov. 18, 2016
: 8:30 a.m.
Adjourn: 3:30 p.m.

Event Location
Seattle Airport Marriott
3201 S. 176th St
Seattle, WA 98188
(206) 241-2000

Early bird (deadline midnight Nov. 4) - $80
Registration after Nov. 4 - $95

Contact Abby at the WSMA front office at
(206) 441-9762 or
(800) 552-0612 or  abby@wsma.org

More news from the WEOLC

To receive Coalition information, contact Graham Short at gfs@wsma.org, or (206) 956-3633.

About us

The Washington End-of-Life Coalition was formed June 1997. While acknowledging that effecting change in our families, communities and health care institutions will require long-term vision and effort, the Coalition believes that efforts both immediate and long range need to be brought to bear to significantly improve care for the dying. The Coalition will annually revisit its goals and its work toward them to ensure that it is responding to short-range needs in care for the dying while allowing its long-range work to evolve, as end-of-life care itself evolves.

Membership of the WEOLC is a broad-based cross-section of individuals and organizations across the state interested in bettering end-of-life care. Coalition members meet once a year at the WEOLC annual meeting, usually in the fall. The steering committee of the WEOLC meets quarterly to guide the Coalition's efforts.

Vision and Mission Statement

Our vision

is a community where people are empowered to make knowledgeable choices regarding their end of life that are known, respected and honored.

Our mission

is to promote caring conversations about living and dying well within all communities across Washington state.

Our focus

is to provide outreach and networking opportunities through our annual membership meeting in the fall and to provide support for the state POLST paradigm program.


  1. We foster conversation to build common ground, increase understanding and collaboration, reduce polarization, and increase open honest discussion where everyone's diverse perspective is honored.
  2. We value the development of rich relationships that support leadership and facilitate networking for professionals and lay people involved in/working with serious illness and end of life issues.
  3. We believe the end of life is a natural important life cycle event.
  4. We value helping patients and families live the best life they can until they die.
  5. We believe that patients, families and communities should be empowered to choose care based on their values and goals.
  6. We believe in building diverse coalitions that create consensus in ways that improve the end-of-life experience for every person in the state of Washington.
  7. We believe that everyone in the state of Washington should have access to excellent end-of-life care.
  8. We support access to hospice and palliative care for all citizens in the state of Washington.
  9. We celebrate the successful events that have gone before in end-of-life care.

Join the WEOLC

To join, contact Graham Short at gfs@wsma.org, or (206) 956-3633 and ask to join. It's as simple as that.

There are no annual dues. Members will receive the WEOLC information via email and will be invited to participate in the annual meeting, typically in the fall.

WEOLC Steering Committee

Char Barret

Founder, A Sacred Moment
Representing: A Sacred Moment
About: Char is a licensed funeral director, home funeral consultant, celebrant and founder of A Sacred Moment – Home Funeral Vigils, Green Burials & Life Celebrations funeral service. She specializes in assisting families with directing funerals in their own homes. Beyond her degree in mortuary science and formal training as a licensed funeral director, Char has been trained and is an experienced home funeral guide and celebrant. She has been a hospice volunteer since the early 90's and helped establish Camp Erin – King County, volunteering for Providence Hospice since the camp's inception in 2004.

Karin Brook, MSW

Yakima Regional Medical & Cardiac Ctr.
Representing: YRM&CC
About: In her role as a hospital social worker, Karin assists patients, staff and physicians in dealing with end-of-life issues on a daily basis. Staff consult Karin with questions on the POLST form and hospice issues. She has assisted in bringing challenging questions and issues to the hospital ethics committee of which she is a member.

Cheryl Ellsworth, MSW

Social Worker, Hospice Volunteer
Representing: Individual
About: Cheryl works with hospitals and faith communities to provide grief support and advanced care planning. At the University of Washington Medical Center, she volunteers with the palliative care team providing staff support; at Harborview Medical Center she serves as a per-diem spiritual care provider; at Swedish-Edmonds, she works with the advanced care planning consult service. Cheryl is co-creator and facilitator of Waking Fully to Living and Dying, a program to explore living with intention, while appreciating the mystery of death. Cheryl has been a volunteer with Providence Hospice since 2005. She is also a certified facilitator with Respecting Choices, a nationally recognized advanced care-planning model.

Sharmon Figenshaw RN, ARNP

Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner
Skagit Valley Hospital/Palliative Consult Service
: Individual
About: Sharmon has been a clinician in hospice and palliative care for over 20 years. She was instrumental in bringing palliative care to the hospitalist service at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, contracted through The Everett Clinic from 2007-14. The ARNP-driven palliative care service was named as one of three key elements in the National Circle of Life Award given to the Snohomish County Palliative Partnership in 2010. Sharmon now works with the Palliative Consult Service at Skagit Valley Hospital, closer to her home in Bellingham, where she and her husband Peter enjoy skiing and boating. Sharmon has been part of the WEOLC since 1999, serving as chair from 2008-10. She currently co-chairs the Washington POLST Task Force.

Therese A Johnson


Representing: Individual
About: A psychotherapist in private practice on Mercer Island, Therese has worked in the field of end-of-life care, grief counseling and traumatic loss for twenty years. Coauthor and editor of When Professionals Weep: Emotional and Countertransference Reactions in End of Life Care by Katz and Johnson, 2006.

Anne Koepsell, RN, BSN, MHA

(Immediate past chair)

Representing: Individual
About: Anne has over 35 years nursing experience and over 25 years experience in hospice and home health administration. She is the former executive director of the Wash. State Hospice & Palliative Care Organization. Prior to that, Anne was executive director of Hospice of Spokane for 10 years. She has served on the WSHPCO, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa Board of Directors.

Wendy McGoodwin, MD

Attending physician
The Everett Clinic/Providence Regional Medical Center Everett
Representing: Individual
About: Dr. McGoodwin is board certified in hospice and palliative medicine and has worked on the inpatient palliative care service for the past eight years (the first six years at Harborview Medical Center and the most recent two years at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett). Dr. McGoodwin has a particular interest in helping patients understand the role of advance directives and encouraging their use and expanding efforts to train the “front line” (ie, primary care providers, nurses, etc) in the palliative care skill set. In her clinical faculty role at the University of Washington Dr. McGoodwin has made it a priority to train future health care professionals (from the fields of medicine, nursing, social work, etc) how to work with patients at the end of life. In her former life, before she became a physician, she ran a bioethics agency. Most of her work was directed at legislative campaigns to prevent genetic discrimination. Dr. McGoodwin helped draft legislation and testified before state legislatures and Congress.

Donna Oiland

Dept of Spiritual Care
Evergreen Healthcare
Representing: Individual
About: Donna worked in the field of organ and tissue donation as the director of the Lions Eye Bank Serving Washington Northern Idaho and Alaska. Although committed to educating healthcare professionals and doing public education on the importance and benefits of donation, it was when her husband was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer her interest in improving end-of–life care became a passion. She has authored a book, Legacy ...Reflections Along the Way, that is being used to assist personal storytelling and promoting “dignity therapy” for hospice patients and their families. Donna presents educational workshops for Cancer Lifeline and Evergreen Healthcare and is a certified laugh leader with the World Laughter Tour. She is on the executive committee of the Northwest Parish Nurse Ministries and serves as a network coordinator for the Seattle/Eastside area.

Bonnie Shultz, MSW, LICSW

Associate Clinical Professor/Clinical Instructor
University of Washington
School of Social Work
UW Professional and Continuing Education Program
Representing: Individual
About: Ms. Shultz has taught courses at the University of Washington since 2003. Her course, Caring for Persons with Life-Limiting Illness, is one of the highest rated practice courses at the school. In 2011, she was nominated for the UW Distinguished Teaching Award, in 2013 was awarded the MSW Student Choice Teaching Award. Ms Shultz assisted in establishing the pediatric palliative care consultation service at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital and was the leader in bringing palliative care services to Evergreen Healthcare in Kirkland, WA. She has worked on grants such as Robert Wood Johnson Pediatric Palliative Care Demonstration grant, Aetna Foundation grants and is a recipient of George Soro’s, Project on Death in America Social Work Leadership Award.

Bruce C. Smith, MD

(Vice chair)
Executive Medical Director
Regence BlueShield
WSMA member
Representing: Individual
About: Dr. Smith is the executive medical director at Regence BlueShield. Dr. Smith previously served as the medical director for Group Health's hospice, palliative care and nursing home programs for five years. He is involved in medical organizations representing geriatrics, end-of-life care, medical ethics and health policy. He is vice-chair of the steering committee of the Washington End-of-Life Coalition, and serves as the Washington state representative to the National POLST Paradigm Task Force.

Deborah Swets

Vice President of Membership
Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA)
Representing: WSHA

Graham Short