The 12th annual Caring Coalition Conference, The Best Care Possible, to be held on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 in Southfield, Michigan, will bring together nurses, social workers, clergy, case managers, nursing home administrators, and other health care professionals from Southeast Michigan and bordering states. The intent of this conference is to increase understanding of the complex issues related to serious and terminal illness. Conference participants will receive continuing education credits, along with the opportunity to network with others in their field.

Co-chaired by Rabbi Bunny (E.B.) Freedman, executive director of Jewish Hospice and Chaplaincy Network, and Cheryl Weiss, JHCN director of education, this symposium will feature national experts Dale Larson, PhD, Daniela Lamas, MD, Matthew Loscalzo, LCSW, and Marcus Engel, MA, with presentations from Catherine Runjie Yu, L.P.T.A, R.H.I.T.; Michelle Crowder Davila, N.D.; Kaitlin Ridgway, M.M., M.T.-B.C.; Rachel Lawrence-Lupton, M.A., M.T.-B.C..


The Best Care Possible conference is presented by the Caring Coalition, a diverse group of Southeast Michigan hospices, hospitals and community organizations whose purpose is to educate health care professionals and the general public about issues related to hospice and palliative care. Our attendees serve the physical and emotional needs of thousands of patients and their families throughout Southeast Michigan and bordering states. More than 75 members of the Caring Coalition have worked together since 2008 to present accredited conferences featuring nationally known and local experts and have each attracted more than 900 health care professionals.

Last year’s conference featured Betty Ferrell, RN, PhD, Steven Pantilat, MD, William Breitbart, MD, FAPM, and Sherri Mandell, MA, with presentations from Lyndsy Adamson, MT-BC, Joyce Simard, MSW, and Gail Elliott Patricolo, MA.

The 2017 conference featured national experts Dr. Ira Byock, Dr. Sheldon Solomon and Dr. Jessica Zitter, who brought us her award winning documentary, “Extremis”.

Our 2016 conference featured neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, PhD, geriatrician Joanne Lynn, MD, oncologist Richard Payne, MD, Marcus Engel, and Michael Paletta, MD.

The 2015 conference, Caring for the Whole Person featured Rawandan survivor Immaculeee Ilibagiza, grief specialist David Kessler, psychologist Dr. Dale Larson, and cancer researcher Dr. Sofia Merajver.

In 2014 Pain, Loss and Suffering presented journalist and author Joshua Prager, physicians Stacie Pinderhughes and Michael Levy, and local grief survivor Gary Weinstein.

The 2013 conference, Values, Ethics and Culture at End of Life, with keynote speaker bioethicist Arthur Caplan, focused on the impact of values and ethics on end of life experiences.

The 2012 conference, On My Terms: Patient Directed Care focused on patient centered care, and featured nationally recognized hospice physician and author Ira Byock, M.D.

Our 2011 conference, The Science of Comfort Care, explored evidence-based practices and philosophies offering comfort to those affected by chronic and life-limiting illness.

The 2010 conference, Handle with Care: Powerful Compassionate Care Giving drew attendees to a conversation about best practices in caregiving.

In 2009, our conference, The War on Pain, addressed the under treatment of pain in patients with chronic and terminal illness.

In 2008, The Same But Different symposium explored the similarities and differences in rituals and customs practiced by different faiths at the end of life.

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Event Details

Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Location: Congregation Shaarey Zedek, 27375 Bell Road, Southfield (Congregation Shaarey Zedek is centrally located in the 11 Mile and Telegraph area. View a map of the location.)

Agenda (Tentative)

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Sign in / Exhibits / Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Dale Larson, Ph.D. – “Beyond Burnout: Enhancing Resilience and Growth”

9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Daniela Lamas, M.D. – “Post Intensive Care Syndrome”

10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Break / Exhibits / Judge Michael L. Stacey Hospice Hero Awards at 10:35 a.m.

10:45 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Matthew Loscalzo, M.S.W. – “Couples Coping with Serious Illness: Understanding and Using Gender Strengths”

11:30 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Catered Lunch / Exhibits

12:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Feeling Great! Our Patients and Ourselves with
Michelle Crowder Davila, N.D. – Care for the Caregiver (30 minutes)
Catherine Runjie Yu, “Tai Chi” (30 minutes)
Kaitlin Ridgway and Rachel Lupton, “Music Therapy” 
(30 minutes)

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Break / Exhibits

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Marcus Engel, MS – “Presence: The Cornerstone of Giving” 

3:30 p.m.
Sign out / Evaluations


  • Identify the key features of burnout, compassion fatigue and moral distress.

  • Understand the range of long term outcomes after critical illness.

  • Know how to present gender-specific information in a manner that is respectful, honest and therapeutic.

  • Understand the power of human presence in patient experience and outcomes.

  • Explain how complementary therapies can help patients and reduce caregiver stress.