The National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care is pleased to announce the inaugural members of the national Pediatric Palliative Care Task Force. The Coalition board appointed Cheryl Ann Thaxton, DNP, and Rachel Thienprayoon, MD, to serve as co-chairs of the Task Force. Bios for the members and alternates can be found here.

Members of the inaugural Task Force represent the Coalition’s 13 membership organizations. Additional members representing invited stakeholder organizations and family advocates will be announced in the near future.

“The members of the Task Force are nationally-recognized interdisciplinary leaders in pediatric palliative care, and we are exceedingly grateful for their willingness to give of their time and expertise,” stated the Coalition’s Executive Director Amy Melnick. “We are also honored to have Dr. Thaxton and Dr. Thienprayoon spearheading this effort and are confident that under their guidance, the Task Force will make great strides towards increasing children’s access to critical pediatric palliative care services.”

Dr. Thaxton is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) who is certified as a pediatric nurse practitioner and family nurse practitioner and currently serves as Director of DNP Program and APRN Clinical Tracks at Texas Woman’s University. Dr. Thaxton has over 28 years of experience in nursing which includes several years of experience in critical care, palliative care, primary care, nursing leadership, education, program development and as school of nursing faculty. Full bio here. 

Dr. Thienprayoon is an Associate Professor of Anesthesia (Palliative Care) at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC).  She is a founding member of the Pediatric Palliative Improvement Network and founded and leads the national Quality Improvement in Pediatric Palliative Care Workshop.  Her research focuses on defining and benchmarking quality in pediatric hospice and home-based palliative care. Full bio here. 

The Task Force, which is funded by the Cameron and Hayden Lord Foundation, will host its first meeting in September and will meet monthly thereafter over the course of the next 18 months. The intent of the Task Force is to improve national alignment and impact of PPC services by identifying feasible initiatives that accelerate advancement of the field and increase children’s access to high-quality palliative care across settings.

To sign up to receive periodic updates on the work of the Task Force, please email