Research Scholars Program

About the Program

The HPNA Research Scholars Program supports funding for HPNA members to participate in the Annual Kathleen Foley Palliative Care Retreat and Research Symposium of the National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC), co-sponsored by American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM), American Cancer Society (ACS), and HPNA. The retreat is held in different locations each year, with the 2017 retreat being held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on October 24-26. Also participating in the retreat are the recipients of National Palliative Care Research Center Pilot/Exploratory Grants and Career Development Awards and recipients of American Cancer Society Palliative Care Pilot/Exploratory Grant Awards.

The goal of the retreat is to advance the scientific endeavors of those who are or will become independent investigators actively involved in palliative care research through development of attendees’ individual works in progress and improvement of specific competencies and core methodologies essential to conducting palliative care research. The meeting format will include didactic lectures, small group discussion by topic area and/or discipline, mock study sections, poster presentations, and networking opportunities.

Applying to be a Research Scholar

Previous recipients of the CPC or AAPHM Scholars Program, as well as previous recipients of NPCRC Pilot/Exploratory Grants and Career Development Awards and ACS Palliative Care Pilot/Exploratory Grant Awards are not eligible for funding as an HPNA Research Scholar.

The successful applicant will be:

  • nearly finished or have completed formal research training (e.g., research fellowship and/or doctoral degree);
  • a regular or student HPNA member for at least one calendar year
  • currently conducting research in palliative care;
  • have an identified research mentor; and
  • have research papers on palliative care or end-of-life issues published or in press, preferably with at least one as first author

The HPNA Research Scholars Program is intended for individuals who are or will soon be applying for federal awards (e.g., K award) or research funding awards (e.g., R01, R03, or R21). Doctoral students will be expected to have an approved dissertation proposal. Priority will be given to applicants who have a demonstrated commitment to an independent palliative care research career, in either a full or part-time academic appointment,. In the event of multiple equally qualified applicants, priority will be given to HPNA members with a history of service to the organization.

Previously selected HPNA Scholars may submit an application to return to the retreat for a second year. They will be expected to display a poster or make a brief presentation about their research at the retreat in a session designed for peer feedback.


Deadline for applications: March 6, 2017
Notification of awards: May 1, 2017

Submission Instructions

Completed application form and required supporting documents should be submitted together as Word documents attached to an email message to Holly Nesbitt at on or before the deadline date.

Any questions should be directed to Dr. Marianne Matzo, FAAN, Director of Research, be email at

New Research Scholar applicants should submit the following:

  • Completed application form (saved to your files for completion).
  • Applicant’s Curriculum Vita.
  • Brief, two-page description of a current or planned research project, including topic, study questions, methodologies, populations and future directions.
  • Research mentor’s biosketch, not to exceed four pages. Click here for the NIH biosketch template.
  • Letter of support from research mentor

Returning Research Scholar applicants should submit the following:

  • Completed application form (saved to your files for completion)
  • Updated Curriculum Vita
  • One page abstract of research conducted since their first retreat, intended for a poster or presentation at the retreat to seek feedback from peers
  • Letter from research mentor attesting to interim accomplishments
Application Evaluation Criteria

Multiple peer reviewers will rate each application to the Research Scholars Program by indicating their agreement with each of the following statements:

  • The applicant is very likely to make an important contribution to our field.
  • The applicant is very likely to benefit from attending the retreat.
  • The applicant has had adequate training in research.
  • The applicant has a qualified and well-matched mentor.
  • The applicant’s research area is very important to palliative care.
  • The applicant has a promising publication track record.
  • There is evidence that the applicant is well positioned to apply for external funding
Award Parameters

For Research Scholars attending their first retreat, the HPNA will pay for all retreat costs, including hotel, plus travel expenses. For returning Research Scholars, the HPNA will pay for all retreat costs, plus $500 towards hotel and travel expenses.

Mentoring Help Available

Previous HPNA Research Scholars have graciously agreed to be available to answer questions and help potential applicants shape a competitive application. To take advantage of the program, please contact the HPNA Director of Research, Marianne Matzo, by email at, with the name of the scholar with whom you would like to connect.

Research Scholars

Esther R. Smith-Howell, PhD, RN
HPNA Research Scholar 2016

  • End-of-life care disparities among African Americans and their families

Rafael Romo, PhD, RN, PHN
HPNA Research Scholar 2016

  • Decision-making processes used among older Latinos who are living with co-morbidities and are near the end of their lives

Joan G. Carpenter, MN, CRNP, NP-C, GNP-BC, ACHPN, PhD
HPNA Research Scholar 2015-16

  • Continuity of palliative care after hospital discharge to nursing home

Christine Fortney, PhD, RN
HPNA Research Scholar 2015

  • Infant symptoms in the NICU effect on parent stress, coping, and decision-making

Hyejin Kim, PhD-c, CRNP
HPNA Research Scholar 2015

  • Surrogate decision-makers’ experiences of POLST discussions in the nursing home

Judith Adams PHD, MSN, RN, FNP
HPNA Research Scholar 2014

  • Improving communication between ICU staff nurses and family members of seriously ill patients

Stewart Bond PhD, RN, AOCN
HPNA Research Scholar 2014

  • Delirium in advanced cancer patients, particularly those in the outpatient or home setting

Jennifer Seaman BSN, RN
HPNA Research Scholar 2014

  • Ways to integrate palliative care principles in critical care nursing practice

J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, PhD RN
HPNA Research Scholar 2014

  • Surrogate decision-making at the end of life

Caitlin Brennan, PhD APRN
HPNA Research Scholar 2013

  • Measuring patient acuity in the palliative care setting

J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, PhD RN
HPNA Research Scholar 2013

  • Surrogate decision-making at the end of life

Jay R Horton, PhD, ACHPN, FNP-BC
HPNA Research Scholar 2012-2013

  • Association of treatment intensity and palliative care services

Joy Buck PhD, RN
HPNA Research Scholar 2012

  • Intersection of formal and informal care in complex chronic illness

Susan Lysaght Hurley, PhD, GNP-BC, ACHPN
HPNA Research Scholar 2011-2012

  • The experience of older adults as they negotiate hospice care

Joy Goebel, PhD RN
HPNA Research Scholar 2011

  • Structures and processes of care, interdisciplinary collaboration

Denice Sheehan, PhD, RN
HPNA Research Scholar 2011

  • Adolescents with a parent near the end of life

Lisa C. Lindley, PhD, RN
HPNA Research Scholar 2010

  • Pediatric hospice care

Polly Mazanec, PhD, ACNP-BC, AOCN, FPCN
HPNA Research Scholar 2010

  • Supportive communication with long distance caregivers

Ab Brody, RN, PhD, GNP-BC
HPNA Research Scholar 2010-2011

  • Geriatric palliative care in the community

Gail Towsley PhD NHA
HPNA Research Scholar 2010

  • End-of-life discussions with nursing home residents and their families

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