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Welcome from the Palliative Care Research Center Director

Benzi Kluger, MD, MS

Current Division Research

  • We’ve expanded the fellows’ research exposure, with a seminar where all the faculty who participate in research present a brief overview of their projects and identify how they could potentially be available to the fellows as mentors for their fellowship projects
  • Helena Temkin-Greener, PhD, is completing the final year of a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute grant to improve quality palliative care outcomes in skilled nursing homes. Her research focuses on the effect of embedded palliative care teams on patient care and staff communication, teamwork and knowledge in comparison to usual care, via a facility-level randomized trial approach.
  • Sally Norton, PhD, RN, is serving as the local Principal Investigator for a study funded by the American Cancer Society to study the components of palliative care consultations that improve patient-centered care and quality of life among people with advanced cancer. In conjunction with Bob Gramling, MD ScD, who is now the Director of Palliative Medicine at the University of Vermont, the team is beginning analysis of more than 200 conversations between patients, their family members, and palliative care team members to understand how patients, families and palliative care doctors and nurses work together to craft treatment plans compatible with the patient’s values and options. Also, Sally is co-chairing a consensus-based committee with Dave Casarett on quality indicators for palliative care and hospice. 
  • Erin Denney-Koelsch, MD, continues to describe and study her perinatal palliative care team’s experience doing perinatal palliative care consultations.
  • Sue Ladwig, MPH, continues to anchor our quality improvement and research efforts. She was central to our successful Joint Commission Certification Review in October of 2015, which included both our Pediatric and Adult Programs.

Team Publications 2015-2016

  • Li Y, Harrington C, Temkin-Greener H, You K, Cai X, Cen X, Mukamel DB. Deficiencies In Care At Nursing Homes And Racial/Ethnic Disparities Across Homes Fell, 2006-11. Health Aff (Millwood). 2015 Jul;34(7):1139-46.
  • Gramling R, Gajary-Coots E, Stanek S, Dougoud N, Pyke H, Thomas M, Cimino J, Sanders M, Alexander SC, Epstein R, Fiscella K, Gramling D, Ladwig S, Anderson W, Pantilat S, Norton SA. Design of, and enrollment in, the palliative care communication research initiative: a direct-observation cohort study. BMC Palliat Care. 2015 Aug 19;14:40.
  • Epstein RM. Making the ineffable visible. Fam Syst Health. 2015 Sep;33(3):280-2.
  • Quill TE. Voluntary stopping of eating and drinking (VSED), physician-assisted death (PAD), or neither in the last stage of life? Both should be available as a last resort. Ann Fam Med. 2015 Sep;13(5):408-9.
  • Quill CM, Sussman BL, Quill TE. Palliative Care, Ethics, and the Law in the Intensive Care Unit. Crit Care Nurs Clin North Am. 2015 Sep;27(3):383-94.
  • Gramling R, Sanders M, Ladwig S, Norton SA, Epstein R, Alexander SC. Goal Communication in Palliative Care Decision-Making Consultations. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2015 Nov;50(5):701-6.
  • Epstein RM, Back AL. A PIECE OF MY MIND. Responding to Suffering. JAMA. 2015 Dec 22-29;314(24):2623-4.
  • Quill TE, Back AL, Block SD. Responding to Patients Requesting Physician-Assisted Death: Physician Involvement at the Very End of Life. JAMA. 2016 Jan 19;315(3):245-6.
  • Gramling R. Introduction to the Special Series on Measuring What Matters. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2016 Feb;51 (2):149.
  • Dy SM, Herr K, Bernacki RE, Kamal AH, Walling AM, Ersek M, Norton SA. Methodological Research Priorities in Palliative Care and Hospice Quality Measurement. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2016 Feb;51(2):155-62.
  • Rodenbach RA, Rodenbach KE, Tejani MA, Epstein RM. Relationships between personal attitudes about death and communication with terminally ill patients: How oncology clinicians grapple with mortality. Patient Educ Couns. 2016 Mar;99(3):356-63.
  • Wool C, Côté-Arsenault D, Perry Black B, Denney-Koelsch E, Kim S, Kavanaugh K. Provision of Services in Perinatal Palliative Care: A Multicenter Survey in the United States. J Palliat Med. 2016 Mar;19(3):279-85
  • Bartels J, Rodenbach R, Ciesinski K, Gramling R, Fiscella K, Epstein R. Eloquent silences: A musical and lexical analysis of conversation between oncologists and their patients. Patient Educ Couns. 2016 Apr 20. pii: S0738-3991(16) 30183-5.
  • Côté-Arsenault D, Denney-Koelsch E. "Have no regrets:" Parents' experiences and developmental tasks in pregnancy with a lethal fetal diagnosis. Soc Sci Med. 2016 Apr;154:100-9.
  • Sussman BL. The Nazi Patient. Ann Intern Med. 2016 Apr 5;164(7):507-8.
  • Mahmood LA, Casey D, Dolan JG, Dozier AM, Korones DN. Feasibility of Early Palliative Care Consultation for Children With High-Risk Malignancies. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2016 May 3.
  • Horowitz, R. Compassion, the Heart of Medicine. The Medical Student Press ( 2016; 3: 1-4.