Partnerships – Palliative Care Advisory Council

Palliative Care Advisory Council

In the 2017 legislative session, the legislature created a Palliative Care Advisory Council under Minnesota Statutes, section 144.059.

The Council is made up of a variety of professionals who have palliative care work experience or expertise in palliative care delivery models. They come from a variety of inpatient, outpatient and community settings, like acute care, long-term care or hospice. They work with a variety of patients from pediatric to youth and adults. In addition, there are several positions on the council who provide a patient or caregiver perspective. 

During the most current application period, there were over 75 applications for the council. An external review team ranked applications and the Commissioner of Health made final appointments.

The next meeting of the Palliative Care Advisory Council is scheduled for October 10, 2018 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Stratis Health, 2901 Metro Dr., Ste. 400, Bloomington, MN 55425.  All meetings are open to the public.

Palliative Care Advisory Council Agendas and Meeting Minutes
Agendas Meeting Minutes
Agenda – October 10, 2018 (PDF) upcoming
Agenda – August 8, 2018 (PDF) upcoming
Agenda – June 13, 2018 (PDF) Meeting Minutes - June 13, 2018 (PDF)
Agenda – March 14, 2018 (PDF) Meeting Minutes - March 14, 2018 (PDF)
Agenda – January 10, 2018 (PDF) Meeting Minutes – January 10, 2018 (PDF)
Agenda – December 6, 2017 (PDF) Meeting Minutes – December 6, 2017 (PDF)
Agenda – November 15, 2017 (PDF) Meeting Minutes – November 15, 2017 (PDF)

Physician certified by American Board of Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine

  • Julie Mayers Benson, MD, FAAFP


  • Kirstin Lesage, MD

Registered Nurse certified by National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses

  • Joan Chrastek

Registered Nurse

  • Rebecca Weber

Care Coordinator

  • Patrice Moore

Spiritual Counselor

  • Elizabeth Mahan

Licensed Health Professionals

  • Ginger Thompson
  • Mark Burnett
  • Adine Stokes

Licensed Social Worker

  • Malinda Wise

Patient or Caregiver

  • Jessica Hausauer, Chair
  • Dannell Shu
  • Deborah Laxson  
  • Carol Shapiro

Representative from Health Plan

  • Howard Epstein, MD

Physician Assistant member of American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine

  • Ryan Baldeo

Members at Large

  • Karen Gervais
  • Karen Wald

Student Designee

  • Joy Liu, Co-chair

Council responsibilities

By law, the Council must do the following activities; however, they have the flexibility to decide on other projects.  By Feb 15 of each year, the council will submit to the appropriate legislative body:

  • An assessment of the availability of palliative care in the State of Minnesota.
  • Analysis of barriers to greater access to palliative care.
  • Recommendations for legislative action with draft legislation to implement the recommendations.

As results become available, they will be posted on this page.

Legislative reports

The 2018 Legislative Report provides a brief overview of Minnesota palliative care data along with the early development of the Council. Over the next year, the Council intends to continue gathering and studying Minnesota palliative care data, and has plans to develop a robust assessment of Minnesota’s need, availability and access to palliative care services. The Council will also assess the barriers to care.

From this data, the Council will analyze factors that could be considered for future legislation. In addition, the Council will continue to define its governance structure and will embark on strategic planning to ground itself as an advisory body. Future reports will provide details on these endeavors.

More information

Frequently asked questions.

To learn more about Palliative Care, please visit Palliative Care. If you have further questions about the Palliative Care Advisory Council, contact Lisa Gemlo at or 651-201-3557.