Welcome from the Interim Chief
As I step into the enormous shoes of my dear friends and mentors, Drs. Robert Horowitz and Timothy Quill, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude, honor, and privilege to serve as the next Interim Division Chief. I truly believe that this is a role of service to both our patients and families and this incredible team of people who have devoted themselves to caring for those most in need.
I have been at URMC since medical school in the year 2000 and through my Internal Medicine-Pediatrics residency. I joined the URMC Palliative Care Family in 2008 when I began as one of the first Hospice & Palliative Medicine Fellows. I felt the calling to Palliative Care early, and it has always been where my heart lies. Patients with serious illness and their families are at the center of all that we do. I have always treasured the beautiful intimacy as we walk alongside patients and families in their worst moments of life, leaning in when others might not. The daily work of palliative care is learning each person’s individual life story and then working in all ways to make their lives a little bit better. This team does that work with tremendous heart and passion.
This leadership role provides the opportunity to see the entire program from an elevated level and to advocate for the well-being of all. My first task has been a “Listening Tour,” meeting with everyone on the team to understand each person’s role, successes and joys, challenges, and concerns. I have learned that, while there are always things to work on, the URMC Palliative Care Program is STRONG.
As Chief, I will continue to embrace our well-established culture that fosters wellbeing, promotes inclusivity, and supports our mission and people. I will work to increase support for research and educational programs to increase the evidence base for our medical decisions and train future generations of palliative care teams. And I will advocate with the department and institution to continue to provide impeccable clinical care for our patients, families.
I come to this role with humility, excitement, and energy. I look forward to the journey!
Erin Denney-Koelsch, M.D.
Interim Chief, Division of Palliative Care