3rd Annual Summer Educational Forum

Featuring spectacular speakers, sponsorship opportunities and CEU credits. For Sponsorship or Registration Opportunities email us at: SEF2016@hospicewestaz.com or Call 602-343-6422.

Registration fee is $25.00 per person Registration Deadline is September 6, 2016.

September 20, 2016

Black Canyon Conference Center
9440 N. 25th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85021

6:30am – 7:30am Sponsors / Exhibitor Set-up
7:30am - 8:30am Registration / Check-in / Visit with Sponsors
8:30am - 8:45am Welcome and Introductions By Dr. Lorree Ratto
8:45am - 9:30am Robin Finkelstein – “Improving the Hospice Experience”
9:30am - 10:45am Gary Gardia – “What is a Team to Do? Working with Challenging Families”
10:45am - 11:00am Morning Break / Visit with Sponsors
11:00am - 12:00pm Dr. Walter J. Nieri – “Understanding the Palliative Care and Hospice Philosophy”
12:00pm – 1:15pm Buffet Lunch, Book Signings and Sponsors Feature
1:15pm - 2:15pm Dr. Fred Vanhoose – “Dementia & Psychiatric Disorders”
2:15pm - 2:45pm Priscilla Ronan – “Being Present When Someone is Dying”
2:45pm – 3:00pm Afternoon Break / Visit with Sponsors
3:00pm – 4:15pm Deborah Grassman – “Soul Injury: Unmourned Loss & Unforgiven Guilt”
4:15pm – 4:30pm Closing, Raffle, CEU Reminder


Featured Presenters:

Walter J. Nieri, M.D., AGSF, FACP, CMD - Keynote Speaker
Program Director, Family Medicine Geriatric Fellowship Program University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix Hospice of the West Associate Medical Director

Dr Nieri is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and is certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics and Long Term Care. He has been selected as one of “Arizona’s Top Doc” numerous times and is also a member of the Arizona’s Governor’s Council on Aging and End-of-Life. He is the past director of the Banner Sun Health Research Institute’s Center for Healthy Aging. In addition, he serves as the Dementia Care Medical Director for Silverado Senior Living and also as the Hospice of the West Associate Medical Director. Dr. Nieri has specific interest in healthy aging and in developing innovative models of care for long-term care and dementia patients to ensure the best quality of life in later years and at the end-of-life.

Robin Finkelstein
Founder, Market Insight National Speaker for NHPCO and HAHC

Robin founded Market Insight and serves as President and Consultant. She has over 25 years of proven experience working with home health and hospice organizations to establish and improve processes across the organization. She is an effective communicator, trainer, coach and motivational speaker. She has served as a National Speaker for NHPCO and HAHC.

Gary Gardia, MEd, MSW, LCSW
Recipient of the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Network (SWHPN) 2015 Award of Excellence in Professional Education

Gary holds a Master’s Degree in both Education and Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He began his career over 30 years ago as a hospice volunteer. He has worked in many capacities leading a variety of teams and departments, including volunteers, social work, bereavement and education and staff development . Gary was instrumental in creating and teaching the NHPCO’s Management Development Program and has developed and taught an 8 month long online course for post-MSW hospice and palliative care social workers.

Dr. Fred Vanhoose, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist Clinical consultant for behavioral health services at Copper Village Memory Care

Dr. Vanhoose received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 1996 from the University of California San Diego. His clinical training and professional experience encompass the clinical assessment of psychological, intellectual and neurocognitive functioning, personality assessment and counseling and psychotherapy with adults, geriatric patients, adolescents, children, disabled persons and the terminally ill in a variety of settings. He is a clinical consultant in private practice in the Greater Phoenix Area.

Priscilla Ronan
Author, “ Someone I Know is Dying: Practical Advice from an End-of-Life Companion”

Priscilla has served as a volunteer for hospice since 2005. She uses her vast personal experience to speak and write about end of life issues. She has published “Someone I Know is Dying: Practical Advice from an End-of-Life Companion.” She was also instrumental in developing a program to help parishioners who were dealing with a terminal illness at St. Bridget Catholic Church, Ministry of Care. Priscilla is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and ASU.

Deborah Grassman, NP
CEO and Co-Founder of Opus Peace Author, “The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill”

Deborah is a mental health Nurse Practitioner, who over her 30 year career, has served at Department of Veteran Affairs and included being Director of the Hospice Program. She is well-known for her “Wounded Warriors: Their Last Battle” presentation which was the first of its kind to identify the unique needs of Veterans as they age and their warrior wisdom emerges. Deborah is the author of two books: “Peace at Last” and “The Hero Within”. She is the CEO and co-founder of Opus Peace, a non profit organization that provides programs that raise awareness about the soul injury that occurs during trauma, abuse, self-neglect and chronic or serious illness.


 2016 Event Sponsors:

Silver Sponsors:

Bronze Sponsors:



Exhibitor Sponsors:













I liked that Hospice of the West didn’t overly push themselves.  It was done very tastefully. 

Hospice of the West never fails to provide quality, timely, information.  Provided amazing speakers and practical information. There were lots of love, laughter and even tears shared today! 

Every time I thought the conference couldn’t get any better, it did! It increased our awareness beyond comprehension. Positive atmosphere.  Hospice of the West is friendly and well liked – you sure have a big following. 

I learned that hospice needs to be called sooner.  Hospice of the West will be the first one I call.

Just like last year, the venue was a perfect setting for your forum. Excellent service. Delicious food!



I heard so many meaningful conversations during the breaks between attendees and sponsors.  I think this conference enabled people to start to think more about life and death and its not so scary!

The size of the audience and variety of professional backgrounds of those attending was impressive.  It made for great networking and dialogue.

I am so looking forward to next year.  I would like information on being a vendor next year.  You had some quality organizations represented.



This is the best education conference I have attended.  All star cast.  HOW did an exceptional job with speakers.  We will try hard to give you referrals we have 4-10 facilities in the east valley.

Speakers phenomenal. Ive been to many conferences and seminars and never seen so many back-to back engaging speakers!Speakers empowered and inspired attendees to raise their bar at a higher level.

Loved the humor of some of the speakers!  We healthcare workers really needed it.

I am asking myself many questions – doing a lot of reflecting and am very motivated.