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Heather Coats is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado College of Nursing, and Director of Research for the Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses Association.

As a palliative care leader, Dr. Coats’ contributions focus on best practices to deliver high quality palliative care. Partnering with patient’s and their chosen support persons who are living with a serious illness, her program of research integrates a person-centered narrative into the patient’s electronic health record to enhance communication between persons needing care and their clinical team. The impact of her research is cited in journals of nursing, palliative care, medicine, and psychology, and she has been continuously funded by NIH since 2014 and received funding from the Cambia Health Foundation Sojourns Scholars Program. She is a co-editor for the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Nursing, has been an invited keynote speaker for the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association and American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Annual Assembly, and in March 2021, she was invited as a presenter at the NINR National Nursing Research Roundtable. In 2021, she received the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association Vanguard Award.

Dr. Coats received her BSN from the University of Arkansas, her MS from University of Colorado, her PhD from The University of Arizona, and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of Washington/Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence.


Heather Coats


Assistant Professor/Director of Research

University of Colorado & Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association


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