Meet the "Mother of Hospice" and her endless support for women's health!

Meet the "Mother of Hospice" and her endless support for women's health!

Dr. Doris Howell, Mother of Hospice, quote

In celebration of National Hospice and Palliative Care month, we celebrate the dedication of Dr. Howell, known as the “Mother of Hospice”.   The ability to identify and act upon the care needs of those who are at the end stages of their lives became the model of care that many organizations follow today.

Doris A. Howell, M.D., a graduate of McGill University School of Medicine, has devoted her life to improving the lives of others. A Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist, and an internationally renowned leader hospice care, she was a faculty member at Harvard and Duke Schools of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical College of Pennsylvania.  In 1974, she joined the faculty at UCSD Medical School and chaired the Department of Community and Family Medicine.

When first introduced to the hospice concept in 1968, Dr. Howell immediately embraced this radical departure from the established way of dealing with the dying and their families. Her reputation as a hospice pioneer followed her when she moved to UCSD School of Medicine in 1976. Serving on the San Diego Hospice Board of Directors since its inception, she soon became a driving force for San Diego Hospice, a model recognized throughout the nation. She was elected Director Emerita in 1989, and is recognized today as “the mother of hospice” in the San Diego Community.  Today the Palliative Care and Consult Service at UCSD/Thornton Hospital is named for Dr. Howell, as is the palliative care service at Rady Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Howell has received national awards for leadership and service from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Humanism in Medicine Award from the Health Care Foundation of New Jersey. She has been honored by the Rotary of San Diego, MacLaggen Award; the Salvation Army Woman of Distinction Award; the Elderhelp Essence of Life Award; and the Soroptimists International of La Jolla Woman of Distinction Award, among others.

collage of press and images of Dr. Doris Howell, mother of hospice

Dr. Howell remains a vital force in realizing the goals of the Foundation named in her honor, serving as Chair Emeritus. Thank you! And our gratitude to the Board of Directors of the Howell Foundation for the commitment and dedication to making sure women are at the forefront of research!


About the Doris Howell Foundation: 

The Doris A. Howell Foundation is the premier organization advancing women’s health research and education.  We are dedicated to making a long-term, positive impact on women’s health.  
The organization does so by: 
  • Awarding undergraduate and graduate research scholarships.  The Howell Scholarships Program is unique in San Diego in awarding undergraduate research scholarships to UCSD and California State University students, allowing them to experience hands-on research in the area of women’s health.  In addition, the Foundation supports graduate nursing students at USD.
  • Community Engagement Program. Launched in 2013, this unique pilot grant award seeks to support researchers who partner with community organizations to address vital health issues involving underserved or “at risk” women in our community.
  • The Howell Outreach Programs translate novel research findings by providing  a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, researchers, and/or authors to convey the very latest information on topics relevant to women’s health; bringing women’s health research full circle.   


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