9th Annual Great Lakes Palliative Care Virtual Conference

May 6, 2021 to May 7, 2021


Program Changes
The planning committee reserves the right to substitute faculty or cancel sessions due to unforeseen circumstances.

Preconference Workshop Fees:
$50 per Workshop for All participants 

Full-day Conference Fees:
$100 MD/DO/PHD 
$75 Allied Health Professionals 
$50 Resident/Fellow 

Any registrants that sign up for both workshops and the full-day conference will receive a $25 discount

Certificates are awarded upon completion of online evaluation. 

Please note: a non-refundable $10.00 processing fee is assessed on all registrations.

First time Attendees:  Click  "Create Account" in the upper right corner of your screen and follow the screen prompts.  Once you have created your account, click the "Registration" tab to choose your registration options for this conference.  **The billing address entered at check out must match the address associated with the credit card used or your credit card will be declined.

Attention Returning Attendees: Log in using your original username and password; Do Not create another account.

*All sales are final.  No refunds will be applied.

Please note: Speakers reserve the right to withhold slides from the site

Target Audience

Intermediate/Advanced Palliative Care Practitioners: Physicians, Psychologists, Allied Health Professionals (Advanced Practice Nurses, Physician Assistants, Registered Nurses, Hospice Personnel, Social Workers, Chaplains), Fellows and Residents.

Learning Objectives

  1. Given a simulated patient with a complaint of pain, recommend an appropriate starting dose of methadone including both opioid-naïve and opioid-tolerant patients  - FF 36, 75, 86, 132, 180, 358
  2. Practice reflecting in the moment about what you are feeling and what the emotions are in the room ("learn to read the room") - FF 29, 169
  3. Describe three innovative pain or symptom management treatment strategies - FF 334 
  4. Analyze ways the healthcare team can support a patient's "right death" - FF 65
  5. Identify ways that palliative providers can use comics to share and process powerful experiences in care - FF 169
  6. Identify common palliative needs of patients with Parkinson's disease and interventions that can be provided by a palliative care specialist. - FF 201, 217, 361, 362
  7. Identify commons symptoms in end-stage liver disease and their management with a goal of palliation - FF 188, 189, 260
  8. Discuss how to navigate challenges inherent to the assessment of decision-making capacity - FF 55
  9. Examine the challenges of perioperative care for geriatric patients and explore opportunities for palliative specialists to support patient-centered care, communication and decision-making. - FF 407
  10. Understanding the relevance of culture to palliative care and a method of partnering with community members to develop a culturally concordant palliative care program. - FF 204

Fast Facts and Concepts (FF) are a collection of over 300 one-paged, evidence-based, and peer reviewed clinical educational tools designed to answer a targeted clinical issue in hospice and palliative medicine.  They capitalize on teachable moments.  www.mypcnow.org

Additional information


Dan Bullock
Phone Number: 
+1 (414) 805-4617
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 9.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™
    AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™
  • 9.75 Hours of Participation
    Hours of Participation credit.
  • 5.00 NP Pharmacology
    NP Pharmacology credit.
  • 9.75 NP Contact Hours
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
05/06/2021 - 8:00am
Event ends: 
05/07/2021 - 4:50pm

Thursday, May 6, 2021
Preconference Workshops

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 

PC-1: When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going! Complex Pain Management in Serious Illness - Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, MA, MDE, BCPS, CPE
The majority of physical discomfort associated with serious illness can be well controlled using tried and true principles of pain management. Occasionally, however, things get a bit more complicated and require a great skill set including opioid conversion calculations, methadone dosing, and use of medications not routinely used such as ketamine and IV lidocaine. This presentation will arm practitioners with skills to take on these tough cases. Buckle your seat belt - not for the faint-hearted!
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

PC-2: Learn to Read and Respond to Emotion Using Improv Theater- Toby Campbell, MD, MS
Through the use of medical improv theater games, participants will grow in self-awareness, ability to read emotions, and respond, and learn to reflect in action to provide the most effective response to unique situations.

Friday, May 7, 2021
Full-day Conference   8:00 am - 4:30 pm

8:00 a.m.    Introduction

8:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.   Plenary Session One

The Right Death: Moving Beyond the Idea of a "Good Death", Sallie Tisdale

We often assume agreement about the meaning of a good death. But as soon as we begin to explore the definition of "good death," conflict arises. How do we balance the needs of patients and families when they differ? How do we manage disagreement between patients and their providers? Are there good deaths that don't look anything like our expectations? What other ways can we discuss this?

9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.   Concurrent Session One

When Decision-Making Capacity is a Hard Decision to Make, Heather Smith, PhD, ABPP-CG
Determining decision-making capacity is not always straightforward. This session will discuss challenging cases and how to navigate them.
Palliative Care in Parkinson's Disease and Other Movement Disorders, Jessica M. Baker, MD
The presentation will highlight a palliative care approach to the treatment of Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative movement disorders, reviewing symptom management, prognosis and communication challenges.

10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.   Plenary Session Two

The Critical Role of Understanding and Respecting Culture in Palliative Care: Caring for our African American Patients and Their Families  - Ronit Elk, PhD
Everyone views serious illness, suffering, death and dying from within their own cultural lens. Yet, the cultural values in the U.S. are based on a white, middle class model, values that are not applicable to other cultures or ethnic groups. Here we will explore how relevant culture is, how important it is to listen to the community and how to develop culturally relevant palliative care programs and trainings for clinicians. 
12:00 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.   Break

12:30 p.m. – 1:45 pm  Plenary Session Three
Speed Dating with a Palliative Care Pharmacist - Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, MA, MDE, BCPS, CPE
Medications are frequently used to reduce pain and non-pain symptoms in serious illness. This fast-paced session will provide a plethora of medication-related pearls and pitfalls that aim to maximize pain and symptom management. Tips and tricks culled from recent research, and suggestions for making medication management in this fragile population will be addressed.

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.   Concurrent Session Two

Surgeons Do Care: At the Corner of Palliative Medicine and Geriatric Surgery, Lee Ann Lau, MD and Mary Rhodes, MD, MS
As the Baby Boomers age, surgery in the elderly is becoming increasingly common, in particular near the end of life. Palliative medicine providers are often absent from both the surgical decision-making process and the post-operative care of geriatric patients. The presentation aims to give practical tips for integrating palliative medicine into the surgical realm, from a surgeon's perspective. 
Role of Palliation Care for End-Stage Liver Disease and Its Challenges, Aiman Ghufran, MD
Patients with end-stage liver disease develop chronic symptoms , the management of which can become quite challenging. Frequently, the available therapies place patients at risk for side effects and complications that further severely impact the quality of life in these patients. Having a combined palliative approach to overall management of this patient population can help alleviate the symptoms better with an improved quality of life. The goal of this presentation is to discuss this co-management.

3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.   Plenary Session Four

Speaking in Pictures: How the Visual Storytelling of Comics Can Inform Palliative Care, Nathan A. Gray, MD
Graphic narratives, sometimes referred to as "comics," are increasingly recognized as a powerful and unique platform for both patients and providers to share experiences that often defy words. Many palliative clinicians may be unfamiliar with the literature that exists on comics in healthcare, unaware of graphic resources available to patients, and uncertain how to utilize graphic narrative in the care of themselves and those they treat. In this conference session, we will open the pages of "graphic medicine" to participants with case examples and visual representations of outstanding health comics that highlight their potential uses in Palliative Care. Providers will develop a toolkit of techniques for using graphic narrative to care for themselves and their patients, and the session will close with an opportunity for participants to create their own brief comic narrative.

4:30 p.m.   Adjourn

Please note: Speakers reserve the right to withhold slides from the site

United States


This symposium is a virtual event. We will be hosting over a digital platform. A link to the event will sent to registrants in the weeks leading up to the conference. 


Ronit Elk, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Nathan A. Gray, MD, Duke University School of Medicine
Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, MA, MDE, BCPS, CPE, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy 
Sallie Tisdale, Author, End of Life Nursing Education Curriculum Trainer, Adjunct Faculty, Portland State University


Jessica Baker, MD, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI
Toby Campbell, MD, MS, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI


Aiman Ghufran, MD
Lee Ann Lau, MD
Mary Rhodes, MD, MS
Heather Smith, PhD, ABPP-CG

Program Co-directors
Renee Foutz, MD
Paul Stellmacher, MD
Education Program Coordinator
Dan Bullock

Susan Stoltz, PA-C
Catherine Van Schyndle, APNP

All persons in control of content have NO relevant financial relationships to disclose with the exception of the following persons:

Sallie TisdaleSquintmetricsConsultant

In accordance with the ACCME® standards for Commercial Support Number 6, all in control of content disclosed any relevant financial relationships. These relationships were reviewed via the MCW conflict of interest resolution process and resolved.

Guest Speaker Bios

Jessica Baker, MD, Dr. Baker is a movement disorders neurologist and palliative care physician at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She trained in the Partners Neurology residency program and completed a palliative care fellowship at UW. She sees patients in the outpatient neurology clinic and attends on the inpatient palliative care services. Her research interests include communication issues unique to neurology.

Toby Campbell, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH). He is a thoracic medical oncologist. Cheif of Palliative Care and the Ellen and Peter O. Johnson Chair in Palliative Care at the University of Wisconsin. He was the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program Director from 2010-2017. He completed a residency in internal medicine at UWSMPH and fellowship programs in medical oncology and hospice and palliative medicine at Northwestern University. His research interests are in communication education, empathy, high-risk shared decision-making, and models of care for palliative care implementation. Dr. Campbell's work on communication crosses a variety of disciplines, and he has published in multiple major medical journals on that and other topics. 

Ronit Elk, PhD, is Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, Gerantology and Palliative Care at the University of Alabama, Birmingham and Associate Director of the Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, and of the Southeast Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care. Her research focuses on partnering with underserved communities to develop culturally concordant palliative care interventions based on the community's cultural values and preferences at the end of life and in training clinicians in providing culturally concordant care. Dr. Elk has published extensively but is most proud of her work as the guest editor of a special issue in the Journal of Palliative Medicine, focusing on Palliative and End of Life Care for African Americans. Her editorial is titled: :The First Step is Recognizing, Acknowledging and Respecting the Inequity, Disrespect, and Disregard Our African American Patients Have Experienced". 

Nathan A. Gray, MD, is a palliative care physician and assistant professor at Duke University School of Medicine. His academic interests explore the intersection of visual storytelling and healthcare. Dr. Gray's graphic work has been featured in the L.A. Times, the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, the Annals of Internal Medicine, Topic Magazine, and the American Medical Association's Journal of Ethics. After medical training in the wide-open spaces of Texas, he now lives amidst the greenery of Durham, North Carolina with his wife Bethany, his two energetic foster kids and one rambunctious standard poodle. 

Mary Lynn McPherson, Pharm.D., MA, MDE, BCPS, CPE, is Professor and Executive Director, Advanced Post-Graduate Education in Palliative Care in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in Baltimore. Dr. McPherson has a master's degree in Instructional Systems Development and a Masters in Distance Education and e-Learning. Dr. McPherson has maintained a practice in both hospice (local and national) and ambulatory care her entire career. She is the Executive Program Director of the Online Master of Science and Graduate Certificates in Palliative Care at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Dr. McPherson is particularly interested in the safe and effective use of medications in patients with a life-limiting illness, ranging from drug selection, deprescribing, risk mitigation with controlled substances and medication disposal.  

Sallie Tisdale, RN, is the author of nine books, most recently Advice for Future Corpses. Her essays have appeared in many publications. She has been a registered nurse for many years, and currently works in palliative care. She is trained as an End of Life Nursing Education Curriculum trainer. Tisdale is also a teacher in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition. 

Froedtert and MCW Speaker Bios

Suzanne Berg, BS, CCLS, Suzanne has a bachelor's degree in Child Life and is a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS). Presenting in the past at the National Association of Child Life Professionals Conference and at the Annual Assembly of Hopsice and Palliative Care Conference. Her profession as a child life specialist finds her supporting young adult patients going through cancer treatment in the outpatient, inpatient, and ICU setting. She has worked as a CCLS for more than 35 years focusing on supporting not only the Adolescent Young Adult Patient (AYA) but their families as well.

Aiman Ghufran, MD, Dr. Ghufran finished medical school at Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan. Completed Internal Medicine Residency, GI Fellowship, and Transplant Hepatology Fellowship at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison. She joined the Medical College of Wisconsin in August 2017 following completion of training. Recently appointed Associate Program Director for GI and Hepatology Fellowship.

Lee Ann Lau, MD, Dr. Lau is a Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellow at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She completed general surgery residency at UT Southwestern/Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas. She practiced as a community general surgeon for 13 years before starting her fellowship. She plans to continue a career in HPM with a focus on education, especially for surgical trainees. 

Heather M. Smith, PhD, ABPP, Dr. Smith is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Lead Psychologist at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center. Board certified in Clinical Geropsychology, Dr. Smith provides psychological services to geriatric and palliative care patient populations in addition to engaging in teaching, clinical supervision and research activities.











ACCME Accreditation Statement:
The Medical College of Wisconsin is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA Credit Designation Statement:
The Medical College of Wisconsin designates this live activity for a maximum of up to 13 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Hours of Participation for Allied Health professionals: (RN, Social Workers, Chaplains, etc.)
The Medical College of Wisconsin designates this activity for up to 13 hours of participation for continuing education for allied health professionals.

Nurse Practitioner:
Medical College of Wisconsin, Inc. is approved as a provider of nurse practitioner continuing education by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners: AANP Provider Number 150930.  This program has been approved for up to 13 contact hours of continuing education (which includes 5.0 hours of pharmacology).  Nurse Practitioners should claim only those hours actually spent participating in the CME activity.

Program Changes
The planning committee reserves the right to substitute faculty or cancel sessions due to unforeseen circumstances.

Workshops: 3 credits per workshop (up to 6) 
Full-day Conference: 7 credits

Available Credit

  • 9.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™
    AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™
  • 9.75 Hours of Participation
    Hours of Participation credit.
  • 5.00 NP Pharmacology
    NP Pharmacology credit.
  • 9.75 NP Contact Hours


Please login or register to take this course.



TimeRegistration OptionsFee
8 am - 4 pmOptional Pre-Conference Workshops* - May 6, 2021$50.00 per workshop
8 am - 4:30 pmPalliative Care Conference - May 7 2021 
 Allied Health Care Professionals$75.00
 Concurrent Sessions** - May 7, 2021 
9:30-10:30 amConcurrent Sessions OneComplementary
2:00- 3:00 pmConcurrent Sessions TwoComplementary

**Concurrent Sessions are complementary with your paid conference fee however pre-enrollment is required.

Please note! The billing address entered upon checkout must match the billing address on the credit card you will be using to pay for this course. MCW accepts MasterCard, VISA and Discover. All registrations will be assessed a $10 non-refundable processing fee.