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9/20/12- CSU Institute for Palliative Care

September 20, 2012
CSU Institute for Palliative Care at CSUSM

I am proud to announce that the California State University (CSU) selected California State University San Marcos to be the home for the new CSU Institute for Palliative Care. The CSU’s decision to house the Institute at Cal State San Marcos is a reflection of our reputation as an innovative, entrepreneurial and community engaged university. Today, we are celebrating the launch of the Institute with a special program attended by invited community and industry leaders in palliative care.

Like so many of our new initiatives at CSUSM, the Institute for Palliative Care is forging a new pathway. The Institute was founded without the use of state funds, receiving initial grant funding totaling $1.2 million from the California Healthcare Foundation and the Archstone Foundation. We expect it to be totally self-sustaining within five years.

The term “palliative care” may be new to many. Palliative care is:

  • care focused on quality of life, comfort and the relief of pain and suffering.
  • for those with a serious or chronic illness, regardless of age or diagnosis.
  • not hospice—although hospice is a part of palliative care.
  • delivered by a team including physicians, nurses, social workers, spiritual counselors and other allied health professionals.

As our population ages and more and more individuals live with at least one chronic illness, the demand for palliative care has increased. However, there are two large barriers to implementing palliative care in hospitals and the community that we want to address with the establishment of the Institute for Palliative Care: a lack of trained professionals and a lack of awareness on the part of both health care professionals and the public about the value and importance of palliative care.

We have already put in place the fundamental organizational elements needed to ensure both success and involvement from our academic community. We hired an expert in palliative care, Helen McNeal, to serve as the Institute’s director. Last week Helen met with a group of faculty members who are either interested in or already actively involved in palliative care. As we move forward a planning and implementation team will be formed and charged with exploring ways we can integrate palliative care into academics at CSUSM.

Without a doubt, the CSU Institute for Palliative Care at CSUSM will have a profound and positive impact on our system, our University and our region. We will educate the health care workers of tomorrow while providing current health care professionals with many opportunities to enhance their skills. Through meaningful research, faculty will help establish best practices for the future of health care. And through programs and projects, we will educate and inform our communities about the significant role palliative care can play in their lives and in the future of our nation.

We will create an unparalleled model for interdisciplinary collaboration and community involvement that benefits current and future health care professionals, as well as our entire state. We will be the educational resource for anyone and everyone interested in palliative care. We will create a model for workforce training and community education that will be available to other interested campuses in our system and throughout the country.

Learn more about the CSU Institute for Palliative Care at CSUSM by visiting its website at or e-mailing Institute for Palliative Care Director Helen McNeal at