Speaker Biographies

This is unpublished

Theresa Braungardt, MN, RN, NE-BC, SVP

Theresa Braungardt, MN, RN, NE-BC, SVP, is the Chief Nursing Officer for UW Medicine Valley Medical Center. She has over 29 years of experience in clinical care and hospital operations management from staff nurse to senior vice president, and an educational background in nursing leadership and healthcare management. Theresa has a passion for creating opportunities to inspire and motivate all members of the healthcare team to achieve clinical excellence, and had managed many outstanding teams to improvement clinical care systems. As a result, she has improved quality and safety for patients.

Jormain Cady, ARNP, DNP, MS

Jormain Cady, ARNP, DNP, MS, currently works as an inpatient palliative care provider for Swedish Medical Center. She has been an oncology nurse since 1992, and an ARNP since 1996. Palliative and supportive care have been a long-time clinical interest and she joined the inpatient Palliative Care team at Swedish in 2019 after working for many years in Radiation Oncology at Virginia Mason Medical Center and also as an intake coordinator for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She completed her Master’s in Nursing from the University of California San Francisco, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the University of Washington in 2009.

J. Randall Curtis, MD, MPH

J. Randall Curtis, MD, MPH, is a board certified physician at the Chest Clinic at Harborview, director of the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence at UW Medicine and the UW’s A. Bruce Montgomery-American Lung Association Endowed Chair in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Curtis is an expert in critical care, palliative care and pulmonary medicine. He provides care to critically ill patients in intensive units and patients with lung disease problems at the Chest Clinic. He strives to create active partnerships with his patient to achieve the best possible outcomes. Dr. Curtis earned his M.D. from Johns Hopkins and his M.P.H. from the UW. During his fellowship at the UW he completed the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars program. Dr. Curtis’ clinical research interests include palliative care; patient-clinician and family-clinician communications; and critical care. In addition to caring for his patients, Dr. Curtis enjoys bicycling, kayaking, skiing, and stand-up paddle-boarding.

Dana Dieringer, MD

Dana Dieringer, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist and palliative medicine physician. She completed both her residency and fellowship training at the University of Washington, and she served as a Chief Resident at Harborview Medical Center. She currently works with individuals experiencing serious, persistent mental illness on Harborview Medical Center’s inpatient psychiatry units while also rotating on the palliative medicine consult service.

Jennifer Hopping, MSW, LCSW

Jennifer Hopping, MSW, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who completed her master's degree at University of California, Berkeley. She has 15 years of experience in the hospital and clinic settings, five of which in palliative care at Kaiser Permanente.  She began at KP’s Oakland Medical Center in Oakland, CA and then on to Portland, OR before transitioning into a palliative care management role.  Jen has taught advance care planning facilitation courses to physician, nurse and social worker colleagues and currently teach for California State University's Institute for Palliative Care's online program.  In 2018, she co-authored a study evaluating patients' care preferences with medical care received and have written an online course titled “The Psychosocial Aspects of Primary Palliative Care.”  She sits on Oregon's POLST (Portable Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) Education Committee and the National POLST Paradigm's Research and Quality Committee, and the Oregon State Legislature’s newly-commissioned Advance Directive Adoption Committee. A California native, Jen has lived in SE Portland for the past three years, enjoying kid-friendly breweries and playing in a pick-up soccer game whenever she can.  She enjoys camping, cycling, traveling, and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her partner and two adventurous kids, ages 7 and 10.

Ian Johnson, MSW, LICSW

Ian Johnson, MSW, LICSW, is a clinical social worker and doctoral candidate in social work at the University of Washington. His research aims to identify how healthcare and housing systems can better support older adults living outside of traditional housing environments. Ian's dissertation explores the spatial trajectories of unhoused palliative care patients. Ian also teaches in UW's MSW program and co-teaches the palliative care fellowship seminar. His most recent practice background is in supporting aging in place (and dying in place) in supportive housing in New York City, and here in Seattle in part-time practice with older adults and caregivers. Ian loves to cook and is often accompanied around town by a lovable mutt named Victor.

Jennifer Kett, MD, MA

Jennifer Kett, MD, MA, is a physician and bioethicist who is board-certified in Neonatology as well as Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She specializes in the care of children with a wide range of life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses. In addition to Neonatology and Palliative Medicine fellowships, she also completed a fellowship in Pediatric Bioethics at the Treuman Katz Center and received a master's degree in Bioethics from the University of Washington. Dr. Kett is the Interim Division Chief for the Division of Bioethics and Palliative Care at Seattle Children's Hospital. Her current research focuses on medical decision-making for infants and children. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, writing, hiking and yoga.

Sara Kim, PhD

Sara Kim, PhD, Research Professor of Surgery, received her PhD in Education in 1999 from University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. Currently, she serves as Associate Dean for Educational Quality Improvement, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Dr. Kim is the inaugural holder of the George G. B. Bilsten Professorship in the Art of Communication with Peers and Patients.  She actively leads research programs in conflict management and collaborates with a wide range of clinical, administrative and educational stakeholders across UW Medicine. Since 2014, she and her team have developed training programs and taught healthcare professionals communication skills associated with conflict management and resolution. Her work has been primarily supported through the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine grants as well as the UW Medicine Patient Safety Innovation Programs (PSIP).  She has numerous peer-reviewed publications in leading medical education and medical specialty journals, covering topics of communication skills, assessment, teaching and learning practices. Previously, Dr. Kim served on the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) Research in Medical Education (RIME) Committee and is currently a review board member for the journal, Teaching and Learning in Medicine. 

Noelle Lalario, LICSW

Noelle Lalario, LICSW (she/her), works as an ambulatory palliative care social worker and behavioral health specialist with Swedish Medical Group in Edmonds, Washington. Noelle received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Washington and is certified in hospice and palliative care through the National Association of Social Workers. Prior to her work in palliative care, Noelle worked for 14 years as a hospice social worker with Providence Hospice of Seattle.

Lorraine Leist, MDiv

Lorraine Leist, MDiv, is a board-certified chaplain working in palliative care for Swedish Medical Center.  She has worked in hospital chaplaincy for ten years in Colorado and Washington.  Lorraine received her BA from Wellesley College and her MDiv from ILIFF School of Theology where she is also currently a Doctor of Ministry candidate. She served as Affiliate Faculty for the California State University Shiley Institute for Palliative Care and is passionate about spiritual care for people living with serious illness.

Michael Light, MSW, MPH, LICSW

Michael Light, MSW, MPH, LICSW, is a Social Worker for the Healthcare for the Homeless Palliative Care outreach team and the Emergency Department at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He earned a Masters of Social Work and a Master of Global Public Health from the University of Washington (UW). He also teaches advanced healthcare practice for MSW students in the UW School of Social Work and is a faculty member with the UW Palliative Care Training Center. Since 2011, Michael has provided clinical and technical support for UW partnership programs in Cambodia focused on the development of health services including oncology and palliative care, behavioral health, and social work practice. Michael is also a Licensed Massage Practitioner, a lover of travel, and a year-round hiker with his social worker husband, Kevin.

Timothy Meeks, MN, RN-BC

Timothy Meeks, MN, RN-BC, is the Clinical Director for Inpatient Psychiatry and the Psychiatric Emergency Services at Harborview Medical Center.  He received his MN from the University of Washington in 2014.  Tim has developed poster and podium presentations for regional, national, and international conferences.  His primary area of interest is identifying and developing evidence-based interventions to decrease aggressive behaviors.

Sarah Merrifield, MD

Sarah Merrifield, MD, oversees the clinical quality of palliative care consult services at two hospitals and an outpatient clinic. In collaboration with her palliative care team colleagues from various disciplines, she continually strives to optimize the team's culture and skills for speaking with referring providers, with other stakeholders, and for communicating well within the palliative care team, itself. Dr. Merrifield has been a physician for over 20 years, worked as a palliative care consultant for nearly 15 years, and currently serves as Medical Director for Providence Palliative Care Services in Southwest Washington. In addition, she teaches with VitalTalk and is on the faculty of the Providence Institute of Human Caring.

Arika Patneaude, MSW, LICSW

Arika Patneaude, MSW, LICSW, is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, and an Ethnic Minority Mental Health Specialist who has been practicing in Seattle since 1992. She is a Clinical Instructor through the University Of Washington School Of Social Work, Director of Bioethics & Palliative Care at Seattle Children’s Hospital, as well as the founder and consultant of Moore Genesis Consulting Services which provides consultation to area programs on engaging in culturally responsive practice across settings.

Rashmi Sharma, MD, MHS

Rashmi Sharma, MD, MHS, is assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Washington. She is currently an attending physician on the UW Medicine Palliative Care Consult Service, an active investigator and an educator and mentor for numerous medical students, residents, and fellows. She also co-chairs the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. As a palliative care clinician and researcher on health equities, Dr. Sharma has centered her career around reducing racial/ethnic disparities in end-of-life communication and improving the quality of end-of-life care through patient and family-centered communication.

Robin Stahley, MSN, RN

Robin Stahley, MSN, RN, is dedicated to improving goal-aligned care with seriously ill patients and their families through communication training. As a program manager for advance care planning, Robin connects with caregivers throughout Southwest Washington to make caring for whole persons the new normal. In a previous role, she developed curriculum, workflows and standardized processes to improve patient care. Robin has been a registered nurse for 30 years; she has a master’s in health systems leadership from Gonzaga University; and is Vitaltalk faculty, and faculty at the Institute for Human Caring.

Patsy Treece, MN, RN

Patsy Treece, MN, RN, has been a nurse since 1979. She has worked at Harborview Medical Center since 1985 and retired in December 2020. Her background is Burn and Trauma ICU. Ms. Treece served on the UW Ethics Committee since 1993 and was a consultant on call since the program's inception. She's has been a research nurse since 1999, doing research in what developed into CPCCE.

Desiree Wood, DNP, ARNP

Desiree Wood, DNP, ARNP, is a Nurse Practitioner working in the Medical/Cardiology ICU at the Seattle VA Puget Sound. She has been a registered nurse for over 13 years and received her Doctorate at the University of Washington in 2015.  Dr. Wood is also a Clinical Faculty Member a the University of Washington where she serves as a preceptor and clinical placement supervisor for the DNP program.  This Year Dr. Wood was recognized as Preceptor of the Year by the UW and was selected by her provider peers as "Top Doc ARNP in the Seattle Met Magazine 2019 edition" Dr. Wood is passionate about topics on provider burn out and moral distress and is a featured lecturer both locally and nationally. She is also a certified yoga instructor and incorporates a holistic and dynamic approach to teaching. Participants can expect to be engaged, provoked and moved during her talks.

Yi Yan, RN

Yi Yan, RN, has over 20 years of critical care nursing experience in many different roles, including ICU Staff RN, care coordinator, clinical nurse educator, nursing faculty, and researcher. Her clinical expertise lies in cardiac devices and her research focuses on chronic co-morbidities, geriatric, and palliative care nursing.