Dr. Betty Ferrell has devoted her professional career over the past 44 years to oncology nursing and palliative care. Dr. Ferrell has been a nurse scientist at City of Hope Medical Center in California since 1989 where she has conducted a program of research related to quality of life, symptom management, family caregiving and palliative care in oncology. Her research has been funded by NINR, NCI, ACS and several other foundations testing interventions to integrate palliative care for patients and families facing serious illness and the end of life. Dr. Ferrell served as co-chair for the National Consensus Project creating the national guidelines for the field of palliative care. She is the co-editor of 12 books including, The Oxford Textbook of Palliative Nursing (5th edition) and she has authored over 450 publications in leading journals.


In 2000, Dr. Ferrell and colleagues developed the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) project, a collaboration with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, to create a curriculum for nursing education in the developing field of palliative care. ELNEC has created palliative care curriculum in several areas including the ELNEC Core, Pediatric, Critical Care, Geriatric and Advanced Practice curricula as well as curricula for undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. ELNEC has now prepared over 40,000 Trainers who have taught over 1.2 million clinicians in all 50 states and 100 countries. ELNEC also has been translated into 12 languages .


Dr. Ferrell has received several awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oncology Nursing Society (2021) and the Distinguished Researcher Award from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (2007), American Psychosocial Oncology Society Jimmie Holland Award (2008), the AACN Spectrum/Gannett Foundation Leadership Award (2009) and American Society of Clinical Oncology Palliative and Supportive Care Award (2020).

The AAHPM recognized Dr. Ferrell as one of 30 visionaries creating the field of hospice and palliative care.  


Dr. Ferrell was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 1989. She is also a Fellow in the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA) and the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS). She was elected a member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2019.