Research Scholars Program

Update 5/15/2020
The National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC) has announced the cancellation of the 14th Annual Kathleen M. Foley Palliative Care Retreat, scheduled for October 19-21, 2020 in South Carolina. The NPCRC has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, including recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and state/local governments, and felt that there were too many uncertainties to move forward with the October meeting. The NPCRC is looking into a modified virtual meeting option, but as of now, the in-person meeting is cancelled. We will keep you posted with updates from the NPCRC. 

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 this year's event taking place October 19-21, 2020 in Bluffton, South Carolina. Also participating in the retreat are the recipients of the National Palliative Care Research Center Pilot/Exploratory Grants and Career Development Awards, and recipients of the 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 apply 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.

Date and Location 

Kathleen Foley Palliative Care Retreat and Research Symposium
October 19-21, 2020
Montage Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina


Deadline for applications: June 1, 2020
Notification of awards: August 3, 2020

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 HPNA by 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 NIH biosketch, not to exceed four pages.  For an NIH biosketch template, follow this link:
  • Letter of support from research mentor
Returning Research Scholar applicants should submit the following:
  • Completed application form 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, HPNA will pay for all retreat costs, including hotel, plus travel expenses. For returning Research Scholars, 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 HPNA by email at, with the name of the scholar with whom you would like to connect.

HPNA Research Scholar Recipients

Returning scholars research listed under their first year as a scholar, as noted


Daniel David PhD, RN "PC-CRAFT (Palliative Care: Connecting Residents of Assisted Living and Family through Telehealth): An intervention to support palliative care communication between assisted living residents, caregivers, and providers"
Tamryn Gray PhD, RN, CNL-BC "Instrument and intervention development to prepare and support family caregivers of patients with advanced cancer"
Shelli Feder PhD, FNP-BC, APRN, ACHPN "Identifying factors associated with high-quality end-of-life care among veterans with heart failure in the Veterans Health Administration"


Jackelyn Boyden, MS, MPH, RN. "Utilize choice-based methods and cognitive interviewing to develop a parent-reported outcomes instrument for home-based pediatric palliative care."
Kristin Corey, PhD, RN, AGPCNP-BC. "Expanding our understanding of the post-caregiving experiences of different profiles of former dementia caregivers."
Mary Issacson, PhD, RN, CHPN. "Working with Native American population to develop culturally relevant palliative and end-of-life care interventions."
Yasemin Turkmin, PhD, MPH, PMHNP. (2017-18)


Masako Mayahara, PhD, RN, FPCN. “Developing a digital pain diary application for hospice patients and their caregivers.”
Rafael Romo, PhD, RN, PHN. (2016-17)
Jiayun Xu, PhD, RN. “The needs of employed caregivers of advanced cancer patients.” 
Yasemin Turkmin, PhD, MPH, PMHNP. “Detecting the differences in PC use and outcomes between older AAs and Caucasians with high-risk cancers in the Southeast.” 


Joan G. Carpenter, MN, CRNP, NP-C, GNP-BC, ACHPN, PhD. (2015-16)  
Rafael Romo, PhD, RN, PHN. “Decision-making processes used among older adults with mild cognitive impairment.”
Esther R. Smith-Howell, PhD, RN. “End-of-life care disparities among African Americans and their families.” 


Joan G. Carpenter, MN, CRNP, NP-C, GNP-BC, ACHPN, PhD. “Continuity of palliative care after hospital discharge to nursing home.”
Christine Fortney, PhD, RN. “Infant symptoms in the NICU effect on parent stress, coping, and decision-making.”
Hyejin Kim, PhD-c, CRNP.  “Surrogate decision-makers’ experiences of POLST discussions in the nursing home.”  


Judith Adams, PhD, MSN, RN, FNP.  “Improving communication between ICU staff nurses and family members of seriously ill patients.”
Stewart Bond, PhD, RN, AOCN. “Delirium in advanced cancer patients, particularly those in the outpatient or home setting.”
J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN. (2013-14)   
Jennifer Seaman, BSN, RN. “Ways to integrate palliative care principles in critical care nursing practice.”


Caitlin Brennan, PhD, APRN. “Measuring patient acuity in the palliative care setting.”
J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN. “Surrogate decision-making at the end of life.”
Jay R. Horton, PhD, ACHPN, FNP-BC. (2012-13)


Joy Buck, PhD, RN. “Intersection of formal and informal care in complex chronic illness.”
Jay R. Horton, PhD, ACHPN, FNP-BC. “Association of treatment intensity and palliative care services.”
Susan Lysaght Hurley, PhD, GNP-BC, ACHPN. (2011-12)


Ab Brody, RN, PhD, GNP-BC. (2010-11)
Joy Goebel, PhD, RN. “Structures and processes of care, interdisciplinary collaboration.”
Susan Lysaght Hurley, PhD, GNP-BC, ACHPN. “The experience of older adults as they negotiate hospice care.”
Denice Sheehan, PhD, RN. “Adolescents with a parent near the end of life.”  


Ab Brody, RN, PhD, GNP-BC. “Geriatric palliative care in the community.”
Lisa C. Lindley, PhD, RN. “Pediatric hospice care.”
Polly Mazanec, PhD, ACNP-BC, AOCN, FPCN. “Supportive communication with long distance caregivers.”
Gail Towsley, PhD NHA. “End-of-life discussions with nursing home residents and their families.”