Center for Nursing Excellencein Palliative Care

Mission Statement:

Improvingpalliative care for patients with life-threatening illness across the lifespanand their families by generating palliative nursing leaders through education,practice, and research.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is patient and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering. Palliative care throughout the continuum of illness involves addressing the physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs and facilitating patient autonomy, access to information, and choice (National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care, 2013).

What is Palliative Nursing?

Palliative nursing is an evidence-based nursing practice that includes the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of human responses to actual or potential life-limiting illness within the context of a dynamic caring relationship with the patient and family, in order to reduce or relieve suffering and optimize health. The essence of palliative nursing is honoring the individual patient in her or his journey; attending to psychological responses to the end of life, social and cultural factors, and spiritual aspects of care.


Professor & Edith F. Honeycutt Endowed Chair in Nursing 

Director, Center for Nursing Excellence in Palliative Care
Debbie A.
Fuld palliative care fellowship program co-directors
Fuld Palliative Care Fellowship Program Co-Director

Center Coordinator

Gouch Patterson
Center Coordinator


Advancing Knowledge to Improve Health Outcomes

Current Nursing Research in the Areas of Palliative Care

  • End-of-life communication, treatment decision making, and surrogate decision making
  • Quality of life
  • Symptom science
  • Pain and symptom management
  • Family caregiving
  • Palliative care integration into advanced illness management


Carolina Gustafson

Carolina is a current first year PhD student interested in end-of-life and palliative care interventions for young adult patients and their families in critical care settings. Currently she is studying the experiences of young adults with cystic fibrosis with a focus on palliative care and advanced care planning and transitions from pediatric to adult care. She graduated with her MSN from the Yale School of Nursing in 2018 as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner where her master’s thesis examined the palliative and end-of-life experiences of Muslim oncology patients. Her undergraduate degree was in Science, Technology, and Society with a focus on gender and science. She wrote her senior thesis on the gendered history of nursing through the lens of the development of hospice in America as a nurse-led movement.

Naziya Noorani

Naziya is a current PhD student interested in palliative care and quality of life outcomes of patients with end stage renal disease who are receiving dialysis. Currently, she is studying the influence of symptoms, functional status, and social vulnerability on the healthcare use of patients receiving dialysis. She received her BSN from Emory University in 2016 and her MSN in Nursing Education from Duke University in 2019.


Haerim Lee

Haerim is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Nursing Excellence in Palliative Care and received her PhD in Nursing (with a focus on oncology symptom science.) She earned her PhD from Emory University and her MSN and BSN from Seoul National University, South Korea. Her program of research seeks to address cancer-and treatment-related symptoms and optimize sexual health and the quality of life in individuals with cancer no matter where they are in the phase of illness. Her dissertation study examined sexual dysfunction and its association with obesity and the gut microbiome pre- and post-radiotherapy in women with gynecologic cancer, and her current research is focused on improving sexual health in older adults with cancer.

Palliative Care Pilot & Dissertation Research Grant Program

This program is to fertilize innovation in palliative care research and help accelerate development of palliative care research programs for junior investigators and student researchers. A call for proposal is announced annually.

Previous recipients of Pilot Grant:

  • Examining the Relationship between Economic Hardship and Quality of Life in the Outpatient Oncology Palliative Care Setting: A Pilot Study
    Sarah Belcher, PhD, RN, OCN
    Kate Yeager, PhD, RN, FAAN

Fuld Distinguished Visiting Scholars Program

Annually, the Center invites an eminent scholar in the fields of palliative care to inspire faculty, students, and local healthcare communities with a vision of excellence in palliative care education, practice, and research. This event typically occurs in April.

2023 Fuld Distinguished scholar:

Dr. Salimah Meghani
Faculty at Penn Nursing

Dr. Megahni at the University of Pennsylvania has been invited to visit Emory University in April (4/18 to 4/19), 2023. She is a renowned palliative care researcher specialized in pain and symptom management in the context of social inequality and disparities.

Salimah has a long-standing commitment to advancing the field of palliative care. Between 2005-2007, she served on the Taskforce to Improve Quality at the End of Life for Pennsylvanians and Patient Life-Sustaining Wishes Advisory Committee to assess the feasibility of POLST paradigm in Pennsylvania. Between 2012-2014.


Building Competences and Leadership

Fuld Palliative Care Fellowship Program

The Fuld Fellowship Program in Palliative Care was established in 2015 with generous gifts from the Fuld Trust. The goal of this program is to prepare nursing students to be leaders in improving quality of life for people with serious illnesses and their families by focused palliative care education, interdisciplinary practice, and research activities in their nursing curriculum. The program is led by co-directors, Shella Chawda, NP, and Debbie Gunter, FNP-BC, ACHPN, who are dedicated to nursing excellence in palliative care education and practice.

For more information about this program visit the Fuld Palliative Care Scholarship Page

Palliative Care Clinical Rotations During the Fellowship

During MN
Observation only
Inpatient consults (10hr)
Clinic (10hr)
Hospice (10hr)

During MSN
Inpatient palliative care observation: 80hr at the end of the first semester in the fall
Outpatient palliative care: 60hr in the spring
Hospice: 60 hr in the summer
CAPS module completion as directed

*Location and timing/semester are subject to change.

A Plan of Study Example

Here is a sample of a plan of study for this program.

Fuld Palliative Care Fellow Students

8th Cohort (2023-2024)

Elizabeth Brown is a current nursing student in the MN + MSN program. Elizabeth earned her BS in Biochemistry from Wheaton College in 2018 and her Master of Public Health from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She hails from Colorado and Wisconsin and loves the outdoors, reading, crafting, and spending time with her husband, Bryce.
Mengqi Li is a current student in the MN + MSN family nurse practitioner program. She completed her M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University. Mengqi comes from Beijing, China and loves learning new knowledge and exploring up-to-date practices. She appreciates how this fellowship gives her exposure to palliative care in her early career as a student.

Past Cohorts

7th Cohort (2021-2022)
Ashley Rose, Kendra Taylor, Kristie Erin Barnes

6th Cohort (2020-2021)
Nicole Alexander, Bobby Antalek

5th Cohort (2019-2020)
Ashley Cohen, Calla Michalak

4th Cohort (2018-2019)
Haley Lynn, Hannah Spero

3rd Cohort  (2017-2018)
Rachel Behrend, Emily Buzhardt

2nd Cohort  (2016-2017)
Maggie Carrillo

1st Cohort (2015-216)
Andrea Brubaker, Phillip Dillard, Allysa Rueschenberg

Fuld Palliative Care Monthly Seminars

August 2024 – July 2025
2nd Wednesday/Monthly

  • August 14, 2024 
    Case Study

    Introduction to palliative care principles and practice 
  • September 11,  2024 
    Hospice Care – What Is It and Who Is It For? 

    Introduction to hospice care, levels of care, eligibility 
  • October 9, 2024 
    Palliative Care – Communication is Key 

    Palliative communication principles, “ask then tell,” “I wish” statements 
  • November 13, 2024 
    Advance Care Planning – Goals of Care 

    What are goals of care? How to discuss? 
  • December 11, 2024 
    Legal and Ethical Aspects 

    What are Advance care documents – POLST, POAHC, DNR 
  •  January 8, 2025 
    No Seminar 
  • February 12 2025 
    Palliative Care in the Transplant Population 

    Discuss how palliative care principles can be part of the transplant world 
  • March 12 2025 No Seminar – Spring Break 
  • April 9 2025 
    Palliative Care in the Neurologically Impaired Population 

    Integration of palliative care principles in patients with Dementia, Parkinsons’s Disease and ALS 
  •  May 14 2025 
    No Seminar Semester Over 
  • June 11 2025 
    Integrating Palliative Care into Primary Care 

    Discussion regarding how to incorporate palliative care into the Primary Care Clinic 
  •  July 9, 2025 
    Wrap-Up Reflections 


Center for Nursing Excellence in Palliative Care
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
Emory University
1520 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322-4027
Room 324

Felecia L. Stevenson
Program Coordinator/ Center for Palliative Care
Cell: 404-901-4280
Tel: 404-712-9909

Sign up to be a member: Membership Request Form