Posted on: January 31, 2020
Written by: Kelley Queale
With close to 20 years of experience in pediatric palliative care, Kimberly Bower, MD, FAAHPM HMDC, brings a valuable perspective to her role as a member of the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California’s (CCCC’s) Board of Directors. Dr. Bower’s appointment to the CCCC board reflects the important role pediatrics plays in CCCC’s work.
Dr. Bower serves as the Medical Director for the San Diego office of Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, where she is working to support the implementation of SB 1004 Medi-Cal funding for pediatric and adult patients. In addition to her work at Blue Shield, Dr. Bower also sees palliative medicine patients part-time in an oncology based palliative medicine clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital.
“I am committed to ensuring that pediatrics is included in the statewide palliative care agenda in parallel with the adult population,” said Dr. Bower. “When state policy or funding discussions are held around palliative care, state leaders need to think about the impact on pediatric patients and pediatric providers. I want to ensure the pediatric voice is heard too.”
After earning her medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, KS, Dr. Bower completed her family medicine residency training at Brown University / Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island in Pawtucket, RI, in 2003.
Subsequently, she moved to San Diego and spent a year providing care to patients within community health centers. In 2004, she began a fellowship in Hospice & Palliative Medicine at San Diego Hospice & the Institute for Palliative Medicine (SDHIPM). She stayed on for a second year, serving as chief fellow, with a focus on building skills in pediatric palliative medicine and working on international initiatives. In 2006, she became the medical director for the pediatric programs at SDHIPM and also served as core faculty within the palliative medicine fellowship program, designing the pediatric track within the fellowship and the pediatric curriculum for the adult palliative medicine fellows.
It was during this time that she first became involved with the Children’s Hospice & Palliative Care Coalition (CHPCC) and the regional Pediatric Palliative Care Collaborative meetings. Under her leadership, SDHIPM was one of the first pilot sites for the Partners for Children program which provided home-based palliative care through a Medi-Cal waiver, and during the implementation of this program, Dr. Bower worked very closely with CHPCC.
In February 2014, Dr. Bower became the first Chief of Palliative Medicine at Rady Children’s Hospital, where she was involved in starting palliative medicine out-patient clinics and a home-based palliative care program. She stepped down from her leadership position at Rady Children’s Hospital in July 2018 to take the position at Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan.
“Dr. Bower is a respected and passionate advocate for pediatric palliative care,” said Judy Thomas, JD, CCCC’s CEO. “She has been directly involved in the fight to achieve adequate Medi-Cal funding for pediatric palliative care from the beginning of the Pediatric Waiver through to today’s work around SB 1004. We are very fortunate to have someone with her depth of knowledge representing the pediatric palliative care provider perspective on our Board of Directors.”