Compassionate End-of-Life Care

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Core Faculty

kirsten deleo

Kirsten DeLeo, MA, International Trainer.
Drawing on more than fifteen years' experience accompanying people through the last phase of their lives, Kirsten leads trainings for professionals and the public in Europe and the US. Trained in Hakomi body-centered psychotherapy, Kirsten has been active in the hospice movement since the early 90’s. She served as a volunteer at the Zen hospice in San Francisco, and has worked as hospice volunteer coordinator and spiritual care counselor for people facing major life transitions. Since 2003, Kirsten has served on the faculty for Spiritual Care’s Contemplative End-of-Life Care Certificate Program, which she also co-designed. The certificate program is offered in partnership with Naropa University. Kirsten completed a three-year meditation retreat under the guidance of Sogyal Rinpoche and is an International Senior Meditation Instructor in Rigpa.


Pam Russell

Pam Russell, LMSW, Senior Educator.
Pam is an end-of-life care social worker and bereavement counselor with over twenty years' experience in elder care in long-term care facilities. She serves on the faculty for Naropa University's Contemplative End of Life Care training and is a Rigpa meditation instructor.


Ann Allegre

Dr Ann Allegre MD, FACP, Director of medical programs, Kansas City Hospice, medical director of palliative care, Providence Health, professor of medicine, University of Kansas School of Medicine and educator for the Spiritual Care Education Program. She was awarded the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine “Project on Death in America Community Leadership in Palliative Care Award” in 2007, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the advancement of the field of palliative medicine through the education and training of future leaders. She was named as Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine in 2008 and honored with the Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon 2011 Award in the senior palliative care physician category.
Ann is an educator with the Spiritual Care Program and faculty of Spiritual Care's "Contemplative End-of-Life Care Certificate Program" at Naropa.


Darci Meyer

Darci Meyers, MA, has worked in hospice and palliative care leadership for over 10 years and has experience starting new hospice and palliative care programs in the US and Ireland. She managed the hospice program for Intermountain Health care in Utah, was the founding director of Anam Chara Hospice in Boulder and served as the founding director of Dechen Shying Spiritual Care Centre in southwest Ireland, a center for respite and healing for the terminally ill and their families. She has been a Buddhist practitioner for over 20 years and is a student of Sogyal Rinpoche. Trained in spiritual care through Rigpa’s Spiritual Care Program and Clinical Pastoral Education, Darci also has worked as a chaplain. She currently teaches in Rigpa’s Spiritual Care Program and is in private practice in Spiritual Direction in Golden, Colorado.


with video teachings from:

Sogyal Rinpoche tahoe

Sogyal Rinpoche, world-renowned Buddhist teacher from Tibet and author of the groundbreaking bestseller, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Rinpoche is also the founder and spiritual director of Rigpa, an international network of over 130 Buddhist centers and groups in 41 countries around the world. He has been teaching for over thirty years and continues to travel and teach widely in Europe, America, Australia and Asia. In 1993 he created the Spiritual Care Program with Christine Longaker.


The Certificate Program is based on The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and the best of Rinpoche’s teachings are presented.

Online Faculty

Chrisitine Longaker

Christine Longaker, author of Facing Death and Finding Hope: A Guide to the Emotional and Spiritual Care of the Dying, which is translated into nine languages.
Former director and staff trainer of the Hospice of Santa Cruz County in California, Christine has provided hospice trainings internationally since 1978. She has been instrumental in developing Rigpa's Spiritual Care Education Program, and has served as its International Education Director for many years. She co-designed and serves as online faculty for 'Contemplative End-of-Life Care'.


Dr Ira Byock

Dr Ira Byock, MD is Director of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Centre in Lebanon, New Hampshire, Chair of Palliative Medicine and Professor, Departments of Anaesthesiology and Community and Family Medicine, at Dartmouth Medical School. Dr Byock has been involved in hospice and palliative care since 1978, starting in his residency. He is past president (1997) of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. During the 1990’s he was a co-founder and principal investigator for the Missoula Demonstration Project, a community-based organization in Montana. From 1996 through 2006, he served as director for Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care, a national grant program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He has authored numerous articles on the ethics and practice of hospice, palliative and end-of-life care. His first book, Dying Well (1997) has become a standard in the field. His most recent book, The Four Things That Matter Most (2004), is used as a counseling tool widely by palliative care and hospice programs. He was awarded the American College of CHEST Physicians Roger Bone Memorial Lecture Award (2003) and the Outstanding Colleague Award (2008) of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.


Angela Anderson

Dr. Angela C. Anderson, MD, FAAP, is a graduate of the Contemplative End-of-Life Care Certificate. She is currently an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University and Director of Pediatric Pain and Palliative Care at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. She received her M.D. degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio and completed her residency in Pediatrics at Yale Medical School. She then completed fellowships in both Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Clinical Toxicology and Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. She is quadruple boarded in Pediatrics, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, and Clinical Toxicology, and Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine. Dr. Anderson has received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Emergency Medicine Residents' Association, the Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award from Brown Medical School and the Outstanding Mentor Award from the National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.


Christina Puchalski

Dr. Christina Puchalski is the founding director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWISH) at George Washington University, where she seeks to integrate spirituality into health care in both the clinical setting and in medical education. There, she has developed a spiritual assessment tool called FICA that is used widely in clinical settings around the world. Dr. Puchalski is also a professor of medicine and health sciences at the George Washington University School of Medicine. She is an active board-certified clinician in internal medicine and palliative care. Dr. Puchalski has received numerous awards, including the Outstanding Colleague Award from the National Association of Catholic Chaplains and the George Washington University Distinguished Alumni Award. She is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of Alpha Omega Alpha. Dr. Puchalski is the author of several book chapters and the author of Time for Listening and Caring: Spirituality and the Care of the Seriously Ill and DyingMaking Health Care Whole, and, most recently, The Oxford Textbook of Spirituality and Health Care. She received her M.D. from the George Washington University School of Medicine and is a member of a contemplative lay order, the Secular Discalced Carmelites.