News and Events

Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence






Cambia PCCE Special Announcement

UW Medicine hospitals achieve Joint Commission Joint

Advanced Certification in Palliative Care


Dr. Anthony Back receives
John A. Hartford Foundation Award

The John A. Harford Foundation is thrilled to announce a $3.5 million initiative to create a collaborative, led by Dr. Tony Back, co-director of the University of Washington’s Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence, that brings together a veritable dream team of innovators who will work cooperatively to greatly accelerate and expand better end-of-life and serious illness care. In addition to VitalTalk, which is housed at our grantee hub at the University of Washington, the other “dream team” members are: Ariadne Labs/Serious Illness Care Program, led by Drs. Susan Block and Atul Gawande; the Center to Advance Palliative Care, led by Dr. Diane Meier; the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC), led by Tom Koutsoumpas/Respecting Choices, led by Dr. Bud Hammes; The Conversation Project, led by author Ellen Goodman; and National POLST Paradigm, led by attorney Amy Vandenbroucke. In addition to the collaborative strategy, our grant supports scaling up these six innovative national models, resulting in improved care for at least 300,000 people.






Dr. Randy Curtis speaks at the 2016
UW Mini Medical School

Coping with the Most Serious Illness

In Part I of this two-part discussion, Dr. J. Randall Curtis talks about the difference between palliative and terminal illness care, as well as techniques for coping with chronic conditions.

J. Randall Curtis, MD, MPH, professor, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, UW, A. Bruce Montgomery – ALA endowed chair, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, director, Cambia Palliative Care Center for Excellence





The Palliative Care Center of Excellence at the University of Washington was launched in 2012 with the goal of giving every patient with serious illness access to high-quality palliative care focused on relieving symptoms, maximizing quality of life and ensuring care that concentrates on patients’ goals. Interprofessional teams of nurses, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists and doctors must work together to meet the complex medical, emotional and spiritual needs of seriously ill patients and their loved ones, and these teams need support and resources. The goal of the newly renamed Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence, directed by J. Randall Curtis, M.D., MPH, is to see that palliative care has an integral and prominent role in healthcare — regionally, nationally and internationally — for seriously ill patients and their families.


About Cambia Health Foundation


Based in Portland, Ore., Cambia Health Foundation is the corporate Foundation of Cambia Health Solutions, a total health solutions company dedicated to transforming the way people experience health care. Founded in 2007, Cambia Health Foundation awards grants in three program areas: Palliative Care, Transforming Health Care and Children’s Health. The Foundation has funded just over $29 million in grants to support these causes. Cambia Health Foundation’s investments in palliative care advance patient- and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing and treating suffering.
Learn more at



What is Palliative Care?


  • Palliative (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness — whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and their family.
  • Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.
  • Palliative care addresses a patient's physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs and facilitates patient autonomy, access to information and choice.
  • There is a significant need to increase, enhance and support the palliative care workforce on a national level. Today, there is approximately one palliative care medical professional for every 1,200 people facing serious illness. And, as the baby boomer population ages, there will be a greatly increased need for palliative care both for patients and their families.



What Will the Cambia Palliative Care
Center of Excellence Do?


VIDEO: UW Medicine Palliative Care

Drs. Randy Curtis, Tony Back and Caroline Hurd describe palliative care and how it has transformed the lives of patients at UW Medicine Clinical Sites.


The mission of the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence is to improve the palliative care received by patients with serious illness and their families and to provide support to clinicians caring for these patients. The center will help ensure that all patients and families are treated in a compassionate, respectful, individualized way by focusing on three interrelated areas:

  • Enhancing the palliative care programs at UW Medicine hospitals and providing tools and support to other institutions building palliative care programs;
  • Educating physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and other clinicians, as well as students, in the art and science of providing thoughtful, expert palliative care; and
  • Conducting research and innovative pilot projects to improve our understanding of high-quality palliative care and how to deliver it to every patient with serious illness every time.


About the Cambia
Palliative Care Center of Excellence

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