About Us


About Us

The Florida Palliative Care Coalition aims to be the one voice and focal point for advancing palliative care in our state. Its mission is to support and inspire the acceleration of solutions that promote better quality of life for Floridians living with serious, chronic, or advanced illness, through research, education, advocacy, and access to holistic healthcare 


Our mission is to support and inspire the acceleration of solutions that promote better quality of life for Floridians living with serious, chronic, or advanced illness, through research, education, advocacy, and access to holistic healthcare.


A future in which Floridians with serious, chronic, or advanced illness and their caregivers receive holistic healthcare that aligns with their goals, values and preferences and provides the best quality of life.

Our Goals

Palliative Care is a specialized approach to care for patients with serious or advanced illnesses that effectively address the physical, psychological, and spiritual pain and symptoms associated with illness. It can be provided at any stage of a serious illness, includes medical interventions, and encompasses effective advanced care planning/goals of care discussions, education, and information on the patient and family’s illness. Palliative Care has been cited as one of the most impactful ways our healthcare system can improve the quality of care for the growing number of patients living with serious illness.  Numerous studies have shown that palliative care brings better outcomes for patients and their families and serves as a resource and support for the healthcare professionals managing the patient’s treatment. It is an effective approach to reduce the low-value care that patients often receive during the later stages of an advanced illness. 

The Florida Ad-Hoc Palliative Care Task Force Report (2016) to the Surgeon General and Secretary of the Agency for Healthcare Administration supported palliative care’s value. It is estimated that this type of care’s current supply could only meet 50% of the demand.  The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC)a national organization that has been at the forefront of shaping the awareness and delivery of palliative care, issues a state-by-state report card that assesses palliative care availability relative to need. In its most recent report, Florida moved from a “C” to a “B,” but the report noted significant gaps still exist for those who live in rural areas. The report notes that 28 states have coalitions working to address the issues of quality, workforce, advanced care planning, access, and education around palliative care within their states. Florida is not among them.

Although palliative care is a beneficial and widely-supported approach to care, it is often misunderstood or confused with hospice care. Hospice care is palliative care but is designed for those in the last stage of an illness. Non-hospice palliative care can be provided throughout any serious illness, whether it’s long term or chronic, or acute and posing short-term burdens on the patient and family. It can be provided at any location, including home, clinics, long-term care facilities, and acute care hospitals. Fear and misunderstanding, both among medical professionals and the public, lack of awareness, a shortage of providers, and a lack of uniform understanding of what constitutes palliative care are among the limiting factors for the advancement of palliative care in Florida. Increasing the acceptance, availability, and quality of palliative care has been described as one of the most significant improvements that can be made in our current healthcare delivery system.

Given Florida’s growing aging population, who can benefit greatly from palliative care as they and their caregivers face serious illness, the need for action to support greater access and improve awareness was especially urgent. Currently, there is no organization or professional group solely focused on advancing the understanding, visibility, availability, and practice of palliative care in Florida. Recently, groups like the Cancer Control and Research Advisory Board (CCRAB) have identified palliative care goals as among their priorities for action in their Florida Cancer Control Plan.

For the past two years, the Florida Hospice and Palliative Care Association (FHPCA) has acted as the convener for a diverse group of stakeholders. Participants have included associations, health care providers, academic institutions, public policy and aging advocacy groups, and other leaders who share an interest in advancing palliative care. This group has acted as the steering committee to assess the feasibility of establishing a Palliative Care Coalition in Florida and has focused on planning for an organized, state-wide effort around palliative care that would include thought leadership on this issue in Florida; facilitation of education and sharing of best practices; and advocacy focused on both professionals and the public, with the goal of addressing myths and misconceptions that form a barrier to appropriate access to this type of care.

In order to fulfill this mission, the Coalition will focus on achieving these goals:

Improve the quality of life for patients and families living with advanced illness

Create a uniform definition and understanding of palliative care in Florida

Bring key stakeholders together to help ensure access to care and improved quality of life

Create greater understanding of the stakeholders involved in advancing palliative care and their respective roles

Raise awareness of and dispel misinformation about palliative care and its benefits among providers, patients and their caregivers, and the public

Garner greater support for palliative care and the policies needed to ensure access to care 

Expand access to palliative care across Florida and among all patient groups, including rural residents, racially and ethnically diverse residents, and children

Florida Palliative Care Coalition Steering Committee

Name Affiliation
Jim Akin

Executive Director

Chapter Staff

NASW-Florida Chapter

Steve Bahmer

President & CEO

Leading Age Florida

Dorene Barker

Associate State Director, Advocacy

AARP Florida

Travis Blanton

Owner, Partner

Johnson & Blanton

Audrey Brown

President & CEO

Florida Association of Health Plans

Maria Cabrerra American Cancer Society
Tony Carvajal

Executive Vice President

Florida Tax Watch

Christopher Cogle, MD

Chair, Florida Cancer Control and 

Research Advisory Council (CCRAB)

Dr. Kenneth Goodman, PhDm FACMI, FACE

Professor and Director, Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy

Director, WHO Collaborating Center in Ethics and Global Health Policy

Co-Director, UM Ethics Programs

Director, Florida Bioethics Network

Chair, Ethics Committee, University of Miami Hospitals and Clinics

Chair, Adult Ethics Committee, Jackson Health System

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Christie Grant Florida Hospice & Palliative Care
Kristen Griffis

Executive Director

Elder Options

Leonard Hock

Chairman, Board of Directors

Florida Medical Directors Association

Lead, Florida POLST

Melissa Jordan

Chief of Public Health

Florida Health

Scott Kistler, MHA

Vice President for Strategy & Business Development

Empath Health

Sheri Kittelson, MD, FAAFP

Associate Professor

Chief, Division of Palliative Care

Department of Medicine

University of Florida

Ken Kniepmann

Associate for Health

Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops

Wendy Kraszewski

VP Palliative Care

Executive Director for Connexis Medical Services

Margherita Labson, BSN, MSHSA, CPHQ, CCM Labson & Associates
Michael Lawton


Florida Health Plan

United Healthcare

Paul Ledford

President & CEO

Florida Hospice & Palliative Care

Bobby Lolley

Executive Director

Home Care Association of Florida

Paul D. Malley


Aging with Dignity

Gail Matillo

President & CEO

Florida Senior Living Association

Barbara McCann

Community Health Accreditation Partner


Bobbie McKee

Research Advocacy Manager

Moffitt Cancer Center

Cindy Meredith

Director Client Relations 

Florida Association of Health Plans

Jeff Mislevy

President & CEO

Covenant Health and Community Services

Samer Nasr, MD

VISN 8 Clinical Lead, Rehabilitation and Extended Care Integrated Community of Care

Network 8 (10N8)

Juan Palacios

Service Chief

Palliative, Geriatrics & Extended Care

Orlando VA Medical Center

Susan Ponder-Stansel

President & CEO

Alivia Care, Inc.

Emmett Reed

Executive Director

Florida Health Care Association

Mike Simmons

President and CEO

Bridge Builder Strategies

Laurence M. Solberg, MD, AGSF

Staff Geriatrician


US Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Veterans Health Administration

Kim Streit

Vice President

Florida Hospital Association

Megan Wessel

Vice President, Regional Cancer Control

American Cancer Society

Southeast Region

Work Groups

Public Policy and Advocacy

The focus of this workgroup is to advocate for palliative care with policy makers for Floridians living with serious, chronic or advanced illness.

Professional Education and Practice

The focus of this workgroup is to help foster curriculum development and learning opportunities for palliative care professionals that promote better quality of life for Floridians living with serious, chronic or advanced illness

Community Outreach and Partnerships

The focus of this workgroup is to engage the community and develop partnerships that support and inspire the acceleration of solutions that promote better quality of life for Floridians living with serious, chronic or advanced illness.

Community Education

The focus of this workgroup is to help the community understand what palliative care is and promote better quality of life for Floridians living with serious, chronic or advanced illness.


In order to fully launch the Coalition and sustain its work, we are seeking investors who share our vision of a better quality of life for patients and families living with advanced illness.

The following are investment levels for the Coalition:

Florida Palliative Care Coalition Founding Partner ($25,000)

  •  At this level, you will be given the opportunity to join the Coalition’s steering committee, receive recognition on the Coalition’s website, print materials, summit registration page and summit signage and at all FPCC events.

Florida Palliative Care Coalition Supporter ($10,000)

  • At this level, you will receive recognition on the Coalition’s website, on the summit registration page and all summit signage.

Summit Sponsor ($5,000)

  • At this level, you will receive recognition on the Summit registration page and all summit signage.

Funding from Founding Partners Supporters and Sponsors will be used to provide financial support for the Florida Palliative Care Coalition activities including:

  • Inaugural Summit and Coalition Launch June 2021
  • Support for the on-going work of the Coalition

Founding Partners

Alivia Care, Inc.

Summit Sponsors


The FPCC database and Steering Committee Dashboard are currently being hosted by Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association. Email info@floridapalliativecareassociation.org to join our mailing list. 

817 N Gadsden Street
Tallahassee, FL 32303



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