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A Message From Our Director

Hello, and welcome to our website!  Thanks for taking time to explore our Institute’s activities, events and resources. We hope for this site to provide useful and up-to-date information about palliative care, advance care planning, support for caregivers and related topics, as well as our Institute activities and goings-on. Please contact us if you have any suggestions, find a broken link, or can’t find what you’re looking for. We’d appreciate hearing from you.

I came to understand the importance and benefits of palliative care for patients and families, while working as a clinical bioethicist. I consult on cases where families are having difficulty agreeing on a loved one’s care, or uncertainty reigns, when a patient can no longer speak for herself. I’ve seen the difference that palliative care can make, in helping patients and families plan for future care, in treating patients as whole persons, and in addressing the total impact of serious chronic illness, across physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions.

I’d like to recognize and thank CSUSM President Dr. Ellen Neufeldt for her continuing support of the campus Institute, founded in 2014 by her predecessor, Dr. Karen Haynes. I am proud to work and teach on a campus that so strongly supports this mission. Our campus leaders have set the standard system-wide, with their ongoing commitment to the campus Institute. I am also grateful for the pioneering work and continuing support of my predecessor, founding Faculty Director of the CSUSM Institute, Dr. Sharon Hamill, Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences. Dr. Hamill created a lively program and a high-performing office in her tenure with the Institute, and I am fortunate to build on her efforts. Finally, I’d like to recognize the hard work and steady support I receive from the Institute staff.

 Thanks again for visiting our site, and please contact us with any questions, suggestions, or feedback.


Michael McDuffie, PhD


Michael McDuffie is Associate Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at California State University San Marcos. He specializes in bioethics and clinical ethics, and he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the CSUSM School of Nursing and the CSU Shiley Haynes Institute for Palliative Care.