Susan Harrington, Ph.D., RN

Assistant Professor, Kirkhof College of Nursing - Grand Valley State University

Dr. Harrington celebrates over 40 years in various aspects of the nursing field, from intensive care to pharmaceutical drug research to home care supervision to hospice/palliative care management.  As chair of the Grand Valley University Assessment Committee and national chair of the Nursing Education Research Group (MNRS), her scholarship focuses on the implementation and strategic evaluation of effective pedagogical teaching innovations.  In recognition of these continued achievements, Dr. Harrington was awarded one of the University's prestigious Teaching Excellence Awards in 2015.  She is certified in ELNEC Train-the-Trainer, teaches an issues course in nursing (Living with Life-Limiting Illness), and has presented at numerous hospice and palliative care conferences and seminars.


Robert F Johnson MD, MEd, FCCM, FCCP, FACP

Visiting Professor, Kirkhof College of Nursing - Grand Valley State University

Following 28 years of clinical practice in the Grand Rapids area as a medical intensivist and intensive care unit medical director, Dr. Johnson made a late-career transition to palliative medicine. A hospice and palliative medicine fellowship was followed by faculty experience at the Center for Palliative Care of the Ohio State University Medical Center. Dr. Johnson has served in the past as the chairperson of the Bioethics Committee at Blodgett/Spectrum. He has contributed to the palliative care literature in the area of palliative care consultation for the critically ill ICU patient. Dr. Johnson is board certified (American Board of Internal Medicine) in Internal Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, and Hospice and Palliative care Medicine.


Sally Pelon, Ph.D., LMSW

Assistant Professor, School of Social Work – Grand Valley State University

Dr. Pelon has extensive experience in the field of hospice and palliative care.  She has worked in direct clinical practice as a hospice social worker and grief counselor as well as in hospice management and supervisory positions.  Dr. Pelon’s research focuses on professional stress in end-of-life caregiving, exploring innovative ways to assist end-of-life caregivers to thrive in their work, and promoting healthy self-care among social work students.  Dr. Pelon is a licensed clinical and macro social worker and is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Michigan Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.  She has presented extensively on issues of aging, psychosocial aspects of death and dying, grief, and professional stress and self-care.           

Page last modified April 15, 2021