Compassionate Care Leadership Awards


The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California is proud to announce the winners of the 2020 Compassionate Care Leadership Awards. These awards recognize individuals and organizations that are changing the way we care for people who are seriously ill or approaching the end of life.

Compassionate Care Leadership Award | Individual

Honors an individual who has emerged as a leader in palliative and end of life care in California, and whose work has resulted in improved care for seriously-ill patients and their families.

2020 Recipient:

Jeanine Ellinwood, MD
Snowline Hospice, Diamond Springs

Dr. Ellinwood serves as Medical Director for Snowline Hospice in Diamond Springs, California, and has been instrumental in expanding community-based palliative care by working to educate the community’s clinicians that palliative care can be provided concurrent with curative treatment, and at any point during a serious illness.

Prior to joining Snowline Hospice in 2011, Dr. Ellinwood worked for Los Palos Medical Association in Salinas where she was in private practice since 1996. Dr. Ellinwood was also the medical director of the Central Coast Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice.

After moving back to northern California and joining Snowline Hospice, Dr. Ellinwood helped launch Marshall Hospital’s Advanced Illness Management (AIM) Team, which directs palliative care to chronically ill Marshall patients.

While serving as Medical Director at Snowline Hospice, Dr. Ellinwood has led the company in serving hospice patients and palliative care patients who receive care through Snowline’s Supportive Care department.  The Supportive Care department, which was created in 2014, provides community-based palliative care to individuals who are living with serious illness and chronic illness, but are not yet qualified for hospice care.  Palliative care everywhere is the mantra Dr. Ellinwood lives by.

Dr. Ellinwood’s passion is rooted in improving the quality of life for patients receiving end of life care. As an internist in internal medicine, she found it difficult to observe patients getting treatments that weren’t going to prolong their lives or improve the quality of life that remained. With board certification in hospice and palliative care, she learned to encourage seriously ill people to live the best life possible.


Compassionate Care Leadership Award | Organization

Honors an organization in California striving to improve the care provided to patients with serious illnesses or life-threatening conditions, whether in a hospital, hospice, nursing home, or at home. Honorees are organizations whose contributions and passion for change are transforming people’s lives.

2020 Recipient:

CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care, San Marcos

CSU ShileyThe California State University Shiley Institute for Palliative Care, headed by Executive Director Jennifer Moore Ballentine and headquartered at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), is a workforce development initiative of the California State University system.

The mission of the Institute is to increase access to and awareness of palliative care by:

  • Educating current professionals,
  • Educating the future workforce, and
  • Building community awareness and advocacy

Founded in 2012 as CSU Institute for Palliative Care, CSUSM has educated more than 12,542 doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains and other healthcare professionals in palliative care best practices through convenient online courses and other programs.

CSUSM forged partnerships with CSU campuses in Fresno, Monterey Bay, and San Marcos to integrate palliative care into undergraduate curricula and educate the community about palliative care.

Pediatric Palliative Care Leadership Award

Honors an individual who has emerged as a leader in pediatric palliative and end-of-life care in California, and whose work has resulted in improved care for seriously-ill children/young adults and their families.

2020 Recipient:

Joan Fisher, MD
George Mark Children’s House

Dr. Joan Fisher is an accomplished physician and leader who offers transformative pediatric palliative care for her patients and their families; supports and inspires her interdisciplinary team members to work compassionately and with shared purpose; and actively promotes greater awareness of pediatric palliative care.

Dr. Fisher is the Medical Director of George Mark Children’s House (GMCH), which opened in 2004 as the first freestanding pediatric palliative care facility in the United States. She is also a faculty member and Director of Outreach, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Stanford Children’s Health. At California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), Dr. Fisher is the Medical Director of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

Dr. Fisher works to raise the awareness of pediatric palliative care and its value in the health care field. Together with colleagues at GMCH, she spearheaded and planned the first Summit on Pediatric Palliative Care on the West Coast, a sold-out day and a half event offered by George Mark in 2019.  She also makes herself available for the frequent invitations she receives to speak in grand rounds and presentations in hospitals, Regional Centers, and other venues.

Her contributions to Pediatric Palliative Care are extraordinary and she is determined in her devotion to sharing its value and meaning.

Questions? Call (916) 779-7504 or email

Click here to learn about past recipients of the Compassionate Care Leadership Awards.