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State Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council

Palliative care is specialized care for people facing serious illness.


The State Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council was created by the Tennessee General Assembly as a result of Chapter 955 of the Public Acts of 2018. The Council meets quarterly. Information on previous and upcoming Council meetings, including agendas and minutes, are available by request.

The purpose of the council is to continually assess the status of palliative care, including barriers to care, in Tennessee. The council shall provide recommendations to the Governor and to the General Assembly on issues related to its work.

Council Members

  • Justin Baker, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN
  • James Dunn, Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, Nashville, TN
  • Linda Estes, Tennessee Health Care Association, Nashville, TN
  • Karen Hyden, Compassus, Nashville, TN
  • Clay Jackson, West Cancer Center, Memphis, TN
  • Mohana Karlekar, Vanderbilt Medical Center, Nashville, TN
  • Maria Vilmerding Moore, Avalon Hospice, Nashville, TN
  • Kimberly Goessele, Alive Hospice, Nashville, TN
  • Jill Patterson, University Palliative Care, Knoxville, TN
  • Greg Phelps, Hospice of Chattanooga, Chattanooga, TN
  • Sally Pitt, Tennessee Department of Health, Nashville, TN
  • Tammy Stokes, Maury Regional Medical Center, Columbia, TN

2021 Quarterly Meeting Schedule

July 23, 2021 11am – 1 CST State Palliative Care & Quality of Life Advisory Council – Palliative Care Mentoring Luncheon, Register Here

Oct 27 2021, 11am – 1pm CST State Palliative Care & Quality of Life Advisory Council

For more information please email

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is specialized care for people facing serious illness1, focusing on providing relief of suffering (physical, psychosocial, and spiritual), to maximize quality of life for both the patient and family. 1-Within palliative care, serious illness is defined as a health condition that carries a high risk of mortality and a) negatively impacts a person’s daily function, b) negatively impacts a person’s quality of life, and/or c) excessively strains the person’s caregiver.

*This definition was adopted by the State Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council on January 30, 2019.

State Palliative Care Education Initiative 

Topic: Palliative Care Overview with Dr. Justin Baker

Topic: Referral Etiquette/Team Dynamics by Dr. Clay Jackson

Topic: Communication Techniques: How to Have Difficult Health-Related Conversations by Karen Hyden

Topic:  Advanced Care Directives by Dr. Greg Phelps

Advanced Care Planning

Palliative Care Advisory Council

Making the Case for Palliative Care – Dr. Mohana Karlekar

Statewide Palliative Care Conference

2019 Palliative Care Conference: How Palliative Care can Support Patients, Communities and the Care Continuum
September 27, 2019
Funded by the Tennessee Department of Health

Promo Videos:

Palliative Care Conference - Aging Population:

Palliative Care Conference - Continuum of Care:

Palliative Care Conference - Physician and Patient Perspective:

If you would like more information about the conference or a copy of the presentations please email


Palliative Care and Quality of Life Task Force Final Report

2019 State Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council Update Report     *Added May 2019

2021 Palliative Care Update Report

Alzheimers Disease and Related Dementia State Plan Update 2021


Although Tennesseans’ values and opinions about care for serious illnesses, including palliative care or end-of-life care, will inevitably vary by person, the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council recognizes the importance of increasing access to, and accurate dissemination of, information so that individual care decisions can be made. The following resources may be helpful:

Honoring Choices Tennessee Palliative Care

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Get Palliative Care

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Dr. Diane E. Meier Defines Palliative Care (YouTube video)

Dr. Diane E. Meier Discusses Palliative Medicine and Geriatric Care (YouTube video)

Integrating Palliative Care

Advance Care Planning