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Personal Mission Statement:

“The goal of my research is to enhance care for people with serious advanced illness and their family caregivers.  My research involves measurement of complex outcomes, such as caregiver burden, symptom distress, quality of life, depression and grief. I have significant experience in the conduct of community-engaged interdisciplinary extramurally-funded research.

Clinical Activities

Attending Physician

-    Continuity Clinic (UCD LOWRY)

-    Inpatient palliative care consult service (UCH AMC)


Areas of Research

Most recent publications can be found here

Current Research Interests

-      Family caregivers

-      Medication deprescribing near the end of life

-      Care delivery models to enhance care for people with serious advanced illness and their family caregivers

-      Cancer survivorship


Ongoing research projects

-      Caregiver Life Line (CaLL) – support for family caregivers of people with serious advanced illness

-      Palliative care registry and quality benchmarking

-      Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group (PCRC)



-     NIA – Academic Career Leadership Award in Geriatric Palliative Care Research (2009)

-     NHLBI – An Intervention to Improve ICD Deactivation Conversations (2011)

-     AHRQ – Center for Research in Implementation Science and Prevention (CRISP) (2011)

-     NCI – Cancer Center Support Grant (2012)

-     NCI – Strategies to Improve Kaposi’s Sarcoma Outcomes in Zimbabwe (2012)

-     ACS - Prognosis Communication and Race in Advanced Cancer Care (2013)

-     AHRQ - Implementing Best Practice in Palliative Care (2013)

-     NINR - Refinement and expansion of the Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group (2013)


Past research projects

-     Creation & Demonstration of a Collaborative, Multi-site, Palliative Care Research Network

-     Communication in Late-stage Cancer: Exploring Hospice Decision

-     Examining the Effect of Hospital Palliative Care Programs on Utilization and Costs

-     Hospice-Academic Partnership to Improve Care for Vulnerable Populations

-     Support by Telephone for Elderly Caregivers in Hospice (Support TECH)

-     Evaluation of Rural Hospice Demonstration


Teaching Activities

Areas of Expertise (topics taught within the past 5 years):

-     Palliative Care

-     Primary Care

-     Pain Management

-     Advance Directives / Advance Care Planning

-     Self Care and Work-Life Balance

-     Quality Improvement


Audiences educated in the past 5 years:

-    Medical Students (clinical)

-    Housestaff (Internal Medicine and other)

-    Fellows

-    Faculty

-    Community



-   Student and Resident Research

-   Fellows Research

-       Sara Combs (Renal)

-   GIM Faculty Research and Career Mentorship

      -       David Bekelman

      -       Stacy Fischer

      -       Jean Youngwerth

      -       Heidi Wald

      -       Ingrid Binswanger

      -       Ethan Cumbler

      -       Judy Zerzan

      -       Daniel Matlock

-       Other Faculty Research and Career Mentorship

      -       Benzi Kluger (Neurology)

      -       Hillary Lum (Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine)

      -       Liz Kessler (Oncology)


Administrative Activities

Committee and Service Responsibilities:


-       Editorial Advisory Board, Journal of Pain and Symptom Management;

-       Scientific Review Committee, National Palliative Care Research Center

-       President, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

-       National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Research Committee

-       Invited member, National Hospice Work Group

-       Manuscript reviewer - multiple journals

-       Medical Editor, Informed Medical Decisions Foundation

-       Member, Nursing and Related Clinical Sciences (NRCS) Study Section, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health

-       Member, Institute of Medicine Committee on Transforming End of Life Care



-      Executive Committee, International Palliative Care Family Carer Research Collaboration (IPCFRC)



-       Primary Care Curriculum Committee



-      Intern Selection Committee

-      various ad hoc committees


Institution (University or Hospital)

-     Grant Review Committee, Center for Womens' Health Research

-     Associate Director for Medicine, Center on Aging

-     UPI Governance Committee, Executive Committee and Finance Committee

-     Staff Investigator for Survivorship Research, University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center

-     Chief Medical Officer, University of Colorado Hospital

-     Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, University of Colorado School of Medicine


Volunteer Activities and Community Service


-      Volunteer Alumni Interviewer, Stanford University Office of Undergraduate Admissions