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Welcome from the Program Director

Program Director Name

Rachel Diamond, M.D.

Fellowship Director


It is my profound honor to be the new Program Director for the URMC Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship. I have had the pleasure of serving as the program’s Associate Program Director under the mentorship of Dr. Erin Denney-Koelsch for the last 3 years.  I came to Rochester for my Pediatric training back in 2012 and fell in love with the program, institution and city, choosing to stay here for my fellowship training and now to raise my family. It’s been amazing watching the program grow into the highly sought-after, growing program that it is today. We added a Pediatric track in 2014, for pediatricians, internist-pediatricians or family physicians who plan to see a mixture of babies, children and adults. After recruiting Dr. Benzi Kluger as Neuro-palliative care pioneer and Palliative Care Research Center Director, we welcomed our first Neuro-palliative track fellow in 2022.

Our program has been home to national leaders in the field, including our program’s founder, Dr. Timothy Quill, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine in 2018. Dr. Ron Epstein is a pioneer in patient-doctor communication, mindfulness, and resilience. Other researchers of note, Erin Denney-Koelsch is the co-editor and author of the first clinical guide to Perinatal Palliative Care and Dr. David Korones, chief of Pediatric Palliative Care and a pediatric neuro-oncologist, is a leader in the field of narrative medicine. We have a thriving group of scholars and researchers in addition to passionate clinicians and educators.

I truly believe that the education fellows receive is unparalleled, with the beautiful, deep and passionate work done on our 12-bed inpatient Sussman Palliative Care Unit (4-1200), the breadth of patient stories and backgrounds seen on our consultation service, and dedication of our diverse faculty in specialty and background. The fellows contribute so much to our program, helping us with continual improvement through their QI projects, helping us all to stay up to date with the evidence, and many staying in our region.

I personally chose to stay at the University of Rochester because I truly loved working and living here. It is a wonderful place to work, with kind, compassionate and brilliant colleagues at a first-class academic medical center, within a beautiful gem of a city and region. Being involved with the fellowship has truly been one of the best parts of my work, especially watching and guiding the fellows’ professional and personal growth. I look forward to many more wonderful classes of fellows!

I’m also thrilled to introduce Dr. Paul Vermilion as Associate Program Director in 2023. He is an alumnus of our program, an internist-pediatrician, who has a passion for evidence-based practice, “out-of-the-box” therapeutics and battling racism and care inequities in our community. He has led our inpatient palliative care team in education around and protocol development for ketamine, lidocaine and dexmedetomidine infusions, and can frequently be found lecturing on the history and use of medical marijuana or buprenorphine. He also started the Pediatric Neuropalliative Care clinic in 2020 that has grown exponentially in the last 3 years. He is a kind, skilled educator with a quick wit and an enviable collection of bow-ties.

Rachel Diamond, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Pediatric Palliative Care
Fellowship Director