Lisa Deal, RN, MPH, ScD
Growing up in Wenatchee, Washington, Lisa knew she wanted to be a nurse, doctor, or a physical therapist. She went on to earn her RN, Masters in Nursing, Masters in Public Health, and Doctor of Science in Public Health – and has made health care her life’s work.
Lisa’s professional journey has taken her across the United States and abroad, as she worked as a cardiology nurse in Boston, a public health nurse at HIV and family planning clinics in Seattle, a policy analyst and program officer for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in Los Altos, and as a public health research analyst in Jakarta, Indonesia.
In 1986, she vigiled at her first death. Sitting in a nursing home in the middle of the night with a woman who had no family, Lisa was struck by the sacredness of the woman’s death. A few years later, working as a visiting nurse, she cared for a number of AIDS patients. “Their dying was labored and painful,” she says, “but at the same time beautiful in a unique way.”
She found Mission Hospice after facing end-of-life in a very personal way through the deaths of her younger brother, her father, and a close friend. Having stepped back from the workforce to raise her three children, she was ready to step back in – and engage in something meaningful.
Lisa joined Mission Hospice in 2010 as a nurse intern – and shortly after that, became a nurse case manager.
“It’s a unique honor to be invited into someone’s home when they’re dying,” she says. “Our job is to help people enjoy a quality of life up until the very end, with as much dignity and autonomy and possible – while honoring their values, goals, and wishes. We’re really helping patients live as well as possible.”
In the past nine years, Lisa has worn a number of hats at Mission Hospice: Advanced Care Program Director, Director of Clinical Outreach, and Chief Clinical Officer, a role in which she worked closely with former CEO Dwight Wilson.
In early 2019, our Board of Directors invited Lisa to serve as the nonprofit’s CEO. “I am honored to be stepping into this role,” says Lisa. “I’m proud to be part of an organization that focuses first on the needs of patients and families. And I’m excited about the opportunities we have to partner with other groups that share our commitment to preserving nonprofit, community-based and mission-driven care.”
She sees hospice care as just one part of our overall service to the community. “Our work to help people through the social and practical challenges of a serious illness, serve entire families, and provide grief support is all part of easing the many transitions in the final phase of life.”
Lisa says an important part of this is Mission Hospice’s work to educate the community about the need for early conversations about end-of-life wishes, resources, and plans.
“Our courage to be present through the dying process – some of life’s most tender moments – is the biggest gift we can give to those we serve.”