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Talking Circles: Palliative Care Networks for Native Americans

Project Overview:

This project helped support a collaboration between the All Indian Pueblo Council, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque Area Indian Health Service, and the Palliative Care Education, Research and Training Center at the University of New Mexico, to sponsor a national forum to increase awareness of the end-of-life needs of Native Americans and provide direction for change in improving end-of-life care for Indians. The first national “Talking Circle: Palliative Care and End-of-Life Care for Native American Communities” was held March 28-30, 2001, in Albuquerque, NM. Spiritual teachers, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, community elders, Native American health program administrators and behavioral health providers from 18 states gathered to discuss the need for palliative and end-of-life services for Native Americans.

The goal of the project was to identify national, tribal and Indian Health Service change agent leadership in elder and palliative care, and involve them in a national forum for the development of advocacy and policy for promoting excellence in end-of-life care for Native Americans. The forum produced the following consensus statement: “National American Indian/Alaska Native leadership action is needed to promote implementation of palliative and end-of-life care services.”


  • Helping Hands Program - Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation
  • When Cure is no Longer Possible: a Palliative Care Center for Excellence in Rural New Mexico - University of New Mexico, Health Sciences Center
  • Native American Resources

For More Information Contact:

Judith Kitzes, M.D., M.P.H.
UNM Palliative Care Office
MSC 11 6020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
Phone: 505.272.4868
Fax: 505.272.8572
E-Mail: [email protected]

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Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care was a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation dedicated to long-term changes in health care institutions to substantially improve care for dying people and their families.