The Washington Serious Illness Care Coalition (previously known as the
Washington End-of-Life Coalition) is a broad-based group of individuals
and organizations from across the state dedicated to helping patients, physicians, clinicians, and caregivers improve the way we discuss, prepare for, and
treat serious illness.
All people with serious illness will receive care before and after death
that reflects their needs, values, and preferences.
Promote education and conversations about living and dying in Washington
To join, email Brendan Cox at
firstname.lastname@example.org. There are no
annual dues. Members will receive the WSICC information via email and will
be invited to participate in the annual meeting, typically in the fall.
Mark Beiter, DO
Representing: Virginia Mason
Devyani Chandran, PhD
Director, Palliative Care Institute
Representing: Western Washington University
About: Dr. Devyani Chandran is currently the Director for Western Washington University’s Palliative Care Institute. The Institute seeks to improve care for those with serious or terminal illness - mounting projects with other partners focused on provider training and community education and activation to demonstrate how ‘palliative care’ can improve quality of life, both physically and also in mind and spirit, helping patients live as actively as possible until death and ease their dying process when that time arrives. She is an Associate Professor in the Human Services Program housed in the Department of Health and Community Studies in Western Washington University and the Director of the Palliative Care Institute. Dr. Chandran received her PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Kansas. Her doctoral dissertation explored the experiences of older adults living with HIV/AIDS. She currently teaches courses on Aging and health, interpersonal and small group systems and diversity and social justice dynamics. Dr. Chandran’s research focuses on community-based approaches to chronic illness, aging, end of life and palliative care. Her research findings have been published in Social Work and Health Care, Journal of Palliative and End of Life Care, Social Work Education, and AIDS and Behavior.
Sharmon Figenshaw, RN, ARNP
Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner
Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest
About: Sharmon Figenshaw is a board-certified nurse practitioner, with 30 years of experience in hospice and palliative medicine, providing compassionate support to people and their trusted companions in the midst of serious illness. In addition to over 20 years on the WSICC, she serves as a clinical consultant for the Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest POLST/Serious Illness Clinical Skills program aimed at improving how we care for people with serious illness in Washington state. By strengthening communication skills among clinicians and teaching the proper use of POLST to guide care, she hopes to ensure that each person will receive care that honors their goals and values—and have the opportunity to shape their own ending. She enjoys seeing patients as a relief nurse practitioner for the Okanogan Palliative Care Initiative, a service of Family Health Centers in Okanogan County, and lives in the Methow with her husband enjoying the best of Washington’s ski and hiking trails.
Washington State Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
About: Barb has worked in hospice and home health serving patients at the
end of life since 1985. She has served patients and families in a number
of roles: direct patient care as an RN case manager, clinical coordinator,
program director, Joint Commission nurse surveyor, and as a wound, ostomy,
continence nurse consultant for both home health and hospice patients.
Barb has been in her role with WSHPCO since July of 2015. She also serves
as the CEO for the Oregon Hospice and Palliative Care Association. Through
that role, she serves on the Oregon POLST Task Force as well as the
education subcommittee of that group.
Ginny Heinitz, RN, BSN, CHPN
Palliative Care Education Coordinator & Outpatient Palliative Care
Coordinator Confluence Health
Representing: Confluence Health
About: Ginny has worked in hospice in Wenatchee Valley for 25 years;
1985-2010. She served patients and families through direct patient care,
program development, mentoring and education of new staff, and interim
directors of both home health and hospice. In 2010, along with physician
Dr. Gail Feinman, started inpatient palliative care at Confluence Health
in Wenatchee; eventually expanding the service to outpatient clinics and
the community. Ginny provides consultation to patients either through MD
referral or self-referrals from patients and families. She strives to draw
forth the patient's story and understanding of their illness and
situation, and then begin to tailor health care to the patient's hopes and
values, so as to provide the best possible care as the patient defines
living well. She also is involved in providing education and mentorship of
effective communication for health care providers throughout Confluence
Health, and also provides community education centered on how to
effectively talk to your doctor while trying to navigate the complicated
maze of health care when you are serious and/or chronically ill.
Wendy McGoodwin, MD
The Everett Clinic/Providence Regional Medical Center Everett
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" (i.e., 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.
Author, Lay Consultant
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 health care 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 EvergreenHealth 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
Kathryn Schlenker, DO
Clinical Assistant Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine,
University of Washington Medical Center
About: Dr. Schlenker is a palliative care physician and the associate medical director of the inpatient palliative care consultation service at the University of Washington Medical Center Montlake. She provides direct patient care, including symptom management, support, and guidance with complex medical decision-making for patients and families facing serious illness. She also provides end-of-life education throughout the hospital as well as support/debriefs for difficult cases. She acts as an educator for medical students, residents and fellows. She has also given talks regionally and nationally about palliative care and end-of-life topics.
Bruce C. Smith, MD, MACP
About: Now retired, in his practice career Dr. Smith provided primary care and specialty geriatrics for many years. He later served as medical director for Group Health's hospice, palliative care and nursing home programs and as the medical director for Providence Hospice of King and Pierce counties among other roles. He is active in a variety of regional and national organizations representing geriatrics, end-of-life care, medical ethics, and health policy. He is a past chair of the steering committee of the Washington End-of-Life Coalition (now the WSICC) and serves as co-chair of the Washington POLST Task Force.
Cassandra Sutherland, MPH
Client Services Manager, End of Life Washington
Representing: End of Life Washington
Hilary Walker, OTL
ACP Program Coordinator
HCPNW Facilitator and Instructor
About: Hilary Walker started her medical career as a geriatric OT. For over fifteen years she worked mostly in acute care and ICU with some time in Skilled nursing and Home Health. She has seen many families and patients struggle, accept and let go into their own mortality and embrace the preciousness of life. She has been involved in advance care planning and end-of-life options in Washington state for the past 10 years, studying as a death doula, ACP facilitator, student, and teacher. Currently, she has the honor and opportunity to be the first ACP program coordinator for PeaceHealth where she has helped create a robust system-wide interdisciplinary program.
Hope Wechkin, MD (Chair)
EvergreenHealth Hospice and Palliative Care
About: A family physician by training, Dr. Wechkin has served as the
medical director of EvergreenHealth's hospice and palliative care programs
since 2007. Having served as a physician consultant on the University of
Washington Medical Center's palliative care service and co-directed (with
Stu Farber, MD) the palliative care track of the chronic care clerkship at
the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Wechkin now serves as
a guest lecturer in end-of-life care in the annual summer seminar in
medical ethics that is held at the University of Washington School of
Medicine. In her role as physician co-chair of EvergreenHealth's ethics
committee, Dr. Wechkin led EvergreenHealth's successful efforts to retain
the services of a professional ethicist and to form a joint ethics
committee with Virginia Mason Medical Center. She has been an active
member of Washington state's Honoring Choices work group, and has worked
with ACP (Angelo Volandes et al.) to increase access for EvergreenHealth
patients and families to education regarding decisions at the end of life
through video discussions.
Owner / Executive Director
Antares Wellness / A Sacred Passing
Representing: Antares Wellness / A Sacred Passing
About: Lashanna (she/her) is, at her core, a helper; a doula and massage
therapist who merges formal education, ancestral knowledge, life
experience, and all six senses to guide her care. She serves individuals,
families, intentional communities, and small businesses with end-of-life
education and planning, body care education, home wake celebrations, and
creating legacy pieces. She has a never-diminishing desire to grow
community care through education and collaboration; to fully support
autonomy and choice through abortion, death, and dying. Lashanna is a
member of multiple organizations that focus on end-of-life issues. Her
goal as a community deathcare educator is to grow anti-racist spaces and
practitioners deathcare and education.
Nathan Yemane, MSW, LICSW
Heart and Soul Hospice – King County
Representing: AHeart and Soul Hospice
About: Nathan Yemane has his masters in Social Work, and is a LICSW in Washington State. He began working in the healthcare field in 2010 as a hospice social worker, and has remained in the hospice field since. Nathan is the founder and managing director of Heart and Soul Hospice in Renton, WA. He is passionate about hospice education and advocating for improved access to adequate end-of-life care for traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities.
WSMA CME Coordinator