FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Executive Director, Communications and Public Relations
(SAN DIEGO) – Seven medical professionals been selected from hundreds of applicants across the
United States to take part in the Clinical Fellowship Training Program Class of 2010 at The Institute
for Palliative Medicine at San Diego Hospice.
The Institute hosts one of the nation’s largest physician specialty training programs in the field of
palliative medicine. The Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program at The Institute is recognized as one
of the most rigorous, cutting-edge courses of study and is designed for physicians to learn new
specialist skills, typically with a goal of pursuing a long-term career as a clinician or academician in
Fellows work with San Diego Hospice home care teams throughout the county, as well as in San
Diego Hospice’s Inpatient Care Center in Hillcrest, the only hospice-hospital in California, as well as
in the San Diego Hospice Care Center at GlenBrook Skilled Nursing in Carlsbad.
Fellows are selected annually in a competitive process for the year-long Clinical Fellowship Training
Program that leads to board eligibility in hospice and palliative medicine. Fellows will participate in
academic training and apply their skills in real world settings, such as San Diego Hospice’s inpatient
unit, home hospice, consultation services in both academic and community hospitals, and ambulatory
clinic. These settings provide unmatched preparation for careers in palliative medicine.
Dr. Charles van Gunten, Provost of The Institute, says, “Our world-class program educates physicians
and other healthcare professionals in the most advanced treatment and procedures practiced in our
specialty. They become advocates for the highest quality palliative care for patients and their families
coping with life limiting illness.”
This year’s class includes physicians who have practiced medicine from San Diego to the Philippines,
Tibet, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates; and among underserved populations including at a
Salvation Army homeless shelter.
About The Institute for Palliative Medicine
The Institute for Palliative Medicine (IPM) at San Diego Hospice is internationally recognized for its
excellence in palliative care education and research. Dedicated to the relief of suffering through the
transformation of health care, it focuses on discovering, demonstrating and disseminating strategies
for palliative care in existing health care systems whether here in San Diego or throughout the world.
Physicians and healthcare professionals from around the globe come to The Institute for Palliative
Medicine to study. Home to the country’s largest palliative medicine physician fellowship program,
The Institute also provides education to more than 1,700 health care students and professionals each
year. The Institute helped pioneer the palliative medicine subspecialty approved by the American
Board of Medical Specialties in 2006. For more information, visit online at www.sdhospice.org
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Class of 2010 Fellows Biographies
Dr. Peter Brown was Associate Medical Director at Valor Hospice in Tucson, Arizona. He
graduated from the University Of Vermont College Of Medicine in 1994 and completed his
Residency at the University Medical Center, Dept. of Emergency Medicine in Tucson in 1997. In
addition to practicing Emergency Medicine for ten years, Dr. Brown studied Contemplative Endof-
Life Care at Naropa University in 2008 and has also studied acupuncture extensively. Dr.
Brown has traveled on medial missions to Sri Lanka, Bosnia, Mexico and Korea.
Dr. Susan (Sue) Bodtke earned her medical degree from Pennsylvania State University in
Hershey, PA in 1985 and completed her Residency in Family Medicine at East Carolina University
in Greenville, NC. In 2000, Dr. Bodtke traveled to the United Arab Emirates to work on a project
developing a Department of Family Medicine. Upon her return, Dr. Bodtke worked with women
and children in the primary physician in a Salvation Army shelter clinic. Following this was an
assignment working to improve emergency medical services for the country of Qatar. She has now
returned to the U.S. to pursue the study of palliative medicine.
Dr. Ann Marie Case earned her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School in
Houston in 1992 and completed a Pediatrics Residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston
in 1996. After residency, Dr. Case went into private practice in the under-served Hispanic
community for several years. She took a break to raise three children, and in 2007, she returned to
work as a physician consultant for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in the
Office of the Inspector General, Medicaid fraud investigation office.
Dr. Sonya Christianson comes to The Institute for Palliative Medicine from Scripps Mercy
Hospital, Chula Vista where she just completed her Family Medicine Residency in the role of
Chief Resident. Dr. Christianson earned her medical degree from Southern Illinois University
School of Medicine in 2006 and then relocated to San Diego. She is drawn to palliative
medicine because of the opportunity to spend quality time with her patients.
Dr. Abilene (Abi) Enriquez earned her medical degree from the University of the City of
Manila, College of Medicine in Manila, Philippines and recently completed her Family Medicine
Residency through the Stanislaus Family Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Enriquez is fluent in
Filipino and conversant in Cebuano, a local dialect in the Philippines.
Dr. Carrie Nelson-Vasquez earned her medical degree from UCSD and has just completed her
Family Medicine Residency at Kaiser Permanente in Orange County, California where she was
academic Chief Resident. Dr. Nelson-Vasquez spent significant time rotating through San Diego
Hospice as a medical student, including developing a research project using relaxation techniques
to decrease pain and increase autonomy of hospice patients.
Dr. Gary Pasternak earned his medical degree from UCSD in 1983 and completed his Internal
Medicine Residency at West Virginia University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill. He also completed a residency in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at UC San
Francisco and received his Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley in 1987. Since 1989 he
has been a Clinician Educator in the Division of Primary Care at Santa Clara Valley Medical
Center in San Jose, CA. Dr. Pasternak completed studies at the Chaplaincy Institute for Arts and
Interfaith Ministries in Berkeley and is a faculty intern for the “Project on Being with Dying,” a
course teaching contemplative approaches to end of life care at Upaya Monastery in Santa Fe,
New Mexico. He has been medical coordinator for medical missions to Tibet and India.