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Palliative Care and Aging Research Training (T32)


We’re currently accepting applications to begin positions Summer 2019.

Program Director Information​

Dr. Jean Kutner​ directs this T32-supported research training program. Dr. Kutner is a Professor of Medicine in the Divisions of GIM, Geriatrics, and Health Care Policy and Research (HCPR) in the DOM and was, until July 1, 2014, Head of the Division of GIM. She has been​​ developing aging research at the University of Colorado since her research and geriatric fellowship training (1994-1997), joining the UCSOM faculty in 1997. Her career trajectory demonstrates a commitment to: 1) enhancing the evidence base to improve care for older adults with serious illness; 2) mentoring others interested in aging and palliative care research; and 3) developing research, clinical and educational programs and infrastructure aimed at improving care for older persons with serious illness. Dr. Kutner has established a highly successful aging-focused research program addressing fundamental issues in the care of persons with advanced illness, increasing capacity for aging-related research locally and nationally.


Co-Director Information​

Dr. Stacy Fischer Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of GIM, DOM, UCSOM. Dr. Fischer has been conducting palliative care research for over 15 years with a focus on underserved populations. Dr. Fischer has devoted her academic career to exploring the relationship between poverty and ethnicity and preferences and outcomes in the setting of serious advanced illness. She developed and tested a culturally tailored patient navigator intervention designed to improve palliative care outcomes for Latinos with cancer, conducting a multi-site study across the state of Colorado, representing urban, rural, and mountain communities. Currently, she is testing the intervention in patients with advanced non-cancer medical illness. She has received funding from the National Institute of Aging Research (NIA), American Cancer Society (ACS), and National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). She received pilot grant funding from the National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC). She is serving as the site PI for a PCRC multi-site NINR-funded study (PI: Porter) of a cancer pain management intervention. She serves on the PCRC Investigator Meeting Task Force, has served as a reviewer for PCRC pilot grants and has been working on enhancing PCRC study site recruitment for the past year. Dr. Fischer is also a successful mentor, having mentored a Harold Amos Career Development Awardee. She is mentoring current T32 awardee Dr. Siler and Affiliated Faculty Drs. Kessler and Singh. As a co-director and program faculty, Dr. Fischer mentors T32 trainees interested in palliative care in underserved populations.


Dr. David Bekelman, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of GIM, DOM, UCSOM. Dr. Bekelman’s research aims to improve quality of life in adults with chronic and advanced illnesses. He is a practicing palliative care physician who is a board-certified internist and psychiatrist. His current research tests ways to integrate palliative and psychosocial care into the ongoing care of people with heart failure and lung diseases.  He has experience with behavioral/health services intervention trials, outcomes research, and qualitative and mixed methods. He has also investigated spirituality and informal caregiving in chronic illness. He is currently PI on a VA Merit Review award (IIR 14-346) to conduct a multisite clinical trial of early, primary palliative care in COPD and heart failure. He recently completed a R01-funded multisite trial of collaborative care in heart failure (R01-NR014322). Dr. Bekelman is primary mentor for one junior faculty cardiologist, one post-doctoral pulmonologist on the UCSOM pulmonary T32, and is a secondary mentor for T32 awardees Drs. Bickel, Portz, and Siler. He is highly regarded as a mentor, as evidenced by receipt of the UCSOM Dean’s Master’s Mentoring Award in 2017. As a co-director and program faculty, Dr. Bekelman mentors T32 trainees interested in testing palliative care interventions.​


Program Faculty:

Program Faculty​

Name

Degree(s)

Academic Affiliation

Research Expertise

T32 Faculty Collaborators

T32 awardees supporting

F. Amos Bailey

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/8154365

MD

GIM, DOM, UCSOM

Palliative care health services research

Candrian

Fink

 

Bickel

Portz

Reed

Elizabeth Bayliss

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/226825

 

MD, MSPH

Kaiser Institute for Health Research

Studying and improving the delivery of patient-centered care for persons with multiple medical conditions

Candrian

Fairclough

Portz

David Bekelman

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/227008

 

MD, MPH

GIM, DOM, UCSOM & VA

Improving quality of life in adults with chronic and advanced illnesses

Fairclough

Fischer

Kutner

Kluger

Lum

Matlock

Meek

Bickel

Portz

Siler

Rebecca Boxer

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/4077771

 

MD, MS

Geriatrics, DOM, UCSOM

Kaiser

Palliation of those with advanced cardiovascular disease

Bull

Fairclough

Lum

Meek

Portz

Plys

Sheana Bull

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224434

 

PhD, MPH

CSPH, UC-AMC

Testing and determining the efficacy of interventions for health promotion using mobile and social media technologies

Boxer

Portz

Eric Campbell

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/19514733

 

PhD

GIM, DOM, UCSOM

Survey research methodology; ethical frameworks in research

 

 

Myles Cockburn

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/12650030

 

PhD

CSPH, UC-AMC

Epidemiology, cancer-related research

 

 

Diane Fairclough

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224164

 

DrPH

CSPH, UC-AMC

Advanced statistical methods

Allen

Bayliss

Bekelman

Boxer

Colborn

Kessler

Kluger

Kutner

Laudenslager

Matlock

Meek

 

 

Stacy Fischer

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224790

 

MD

GIM, DOM, UCSOM

Palliative care in underserved populations

Bekelman

Fink

Kessler

Kutner

Lefkowits

Matlock

Singh

 

Siler

R. Mark Gritz

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/3353663

 

PhD

HCPR, DOM, UCSOM

Economic analyses; Implementation costs and return on investment of interventions

Kluger

Kutner

Schilling

 

Benzi Kluger

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224721

 

MD

Dept of Neurology, UCSOM

Neuropalliative care

Bekelman

Fairclough

Kutner

Lum

 

 

Jean Kutner

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224405

 

MD, MSPH

GIM, DOM, UCSOM

Palliative care clinical studies, caregivers, medication deprescribing

Allen

Bekelman

Candrian

Colborn

Fairclough

Fink

Fischer

Gritz

Kessler

Kluger

Laudenslager

Levy

Lum

Matlock

O’Bryant

Schilling

Wynia

 

Amoyal Pensak

Bickel

Plys

Portz

Reed

Sannes

Siler

Mark Laudenslager

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/230526

 

PhD

Dept of Psychiatry

Psychosocial interventions for distressed caregivers

Fairclough

Kutner

Sannes

Amoyal Pensak

Cari Levy

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224675

 

MD, PhD

Geriatrics, DOM, UCSOM & VA

Quality of life at the end of life in nursing homes; quality of care in non-institutional care settings

Albright

Kutner

Lum

Bickel

 

Kevin Masters

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/230471

 

PhD

Dept of Health Psychology, UCD

Religiousness, spirituality, behavioral medicine

Allen

Bekelman

Matlock

 

Dan Matlock

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224504

 

MD, MPH

Geriatrics, DOM, UCSOM

Communication and decision making; implementation science

Allen

Bekelman

Candrian

Fairclough

Fischer

Kutner

Lum

McIlvennan

 

Sannes

Wells Messersmith

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/225824

 

MD

Oncology, DOM, UCSOM

Palliative care for older adults with gastrointestinal malignancies

Kessler

O’Bryant

 

Lisa Schilling

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224574

 

MD, MPH

GIM, DOM, UCSOM

Health services research, clinical and research informatics that support improvements in health outcomes and health care value

Fairclough

Gritz

Kutner

Wynia

Reed

Matthew Wynia

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/5516545

 

MD, MPH

GIM, DOM, UCSOM

Patient and physician engagement, stakeholder-driven research, and medical ethics

Glover

Kutner

Schilling

 

Affiliated Faculty

Name

Degree(s)

Academic Affiliation

Research Expertise

T32 Faculty Collaborators

T32 awardees supporting

Larry Allen

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/226050

 

MD, MHS

Cardiology, DOM, UCSOM

Aging, palliative care and cardiovascular disease

Bekelman

Colborn

Fairclough

Kutner

Lum

Matlock

Masters

McIlvennan

 

Joanna Arch

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/226493

 

PhD

Department of Psychology, UC-Boulder

Anxiety and depression among patients with metastatic cancer

Kutner

Plys

Ben Brewer

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/226749

 

PsyD

Hematology & Hematologic Malignancies, DOM, UCSOM

Palliative interventions in stem cell transplant patients and their caregivers

Kolva

Sannes

Amoyal Pensak

Carey Candrian

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/231383

 

PhD

GIM, DOM, UCSOM

Communication and decision making in the context of hospice and palliative care

Kutner

Lum

Matlock

 

Heather Coats

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/14824293

 

PhD, MS

CON, UC-AMC

Patient-centered communication interventions to optimize quality of life for minority patients with life limiting illness

 

 

Kathryn Colborn

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/11763981

 

PhD

CSPH, UC-AMC

Advanced statistical methods

Allen

Fairclough

Kutner

Lum

 

Reed

Regina Fink

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/227649

 

PhD, MS

CON and GIM, DOM, UCSOM, UC-AMC

Interventions to improve palliative care for underserved patients with serious illness

Bailey

Fischer

Kutner

 

Elizabeth Kessler

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/2769063

 

MD

Oncology, DOM, UCSOM

Impact of cancer treatment on function & how to best assess and intervene to support patients and caregivers

Fairclough

Fischer

Kutner

Laudenslager

Messersmith

O’Bryant

 

Elissa Kolva

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/11660606

 

PhD

Hematology & Hematologic Malignancies, DOM, UCSOM

Improving assessment and treatment of psychological distress in patients with serious illness

Brewer

 

Carolyn Lefkowits

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/11764061

 

MD, MS

Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UCSOM

Intersection between surgical oncology and palliative care

Fischer

 

Hillary Lum

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/229860

 

MD, PhD

Geriatrics, DOM, UCSOM & VA

Developing and implementing novel advance care planning interventions for older adults into healthcare system and community-based settings

Allen

Bekelman

Boxer

Candrian

Colborn

Kutner

Levy

Matlock

 

 

Colleen McIlvennan

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/226349

 

PhD, DNP, MS

Cardiology, DOM, UCSOM

Patients with end-stage heart failure who are considering a left ventricular assist device (LVAD)

Allen

Matlock

 

Paula Meek

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/230260

PhD, MS

CON, UC-AMC

Symptom monitoring, appraisal, treatment, and management

Bekelman

Boxer

Fairclough

 

Jenny Portz

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/12707707

 

PhD

GIM, DOM, UC-SOM

Heart failure, m-health, symptoms

Boxer

Bekelman

 

Cindy O’Bryant

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/227521

 

PharmD

School of Pharmacy, UC-AMC

Geriatric oncology

Kessler

Kutner

Messersmith

 

Tim Sannes

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/4077826

 

PhD

Hematology & Hematologic Malignancies, DOM, UCSOM

Strategies to better support patients and their caregivers facing serious illness

Brewer

Laudenslager

Matlock

 

Sarguni Singh

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/11589600

 

MD

Hospital Medicine, DOM, UCSOM

Identifying cancer patients at highest risk for poor outcomes after discharge from the acute care setting to a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)

Fischer

 

Advisors

Jackie Glover

https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/225204

 

PhD

Department of Pediatrics, UCSOM

Responsible conduct of research

Wynia

 

 

CCTSI

Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute

CON

College of Nursing

CSPH

Colorado School of Public Health

DOM

Department of Medicine

GIM

General Internal Medicine

PCRC

Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group

UC-AMC

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

UCSOM

University of Colorado School of Medicine

VA

Veterans Affairs Medical Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

T32 postdoctoral fellows:

Shauna Siler, PhD ​(2018-2020); The focus of Dr. Siler’s research is on integrating spiritual care into palliative care and implementation of community-based palliative care interventions for minority populations.​

Evan Plys, PhD​ (2018-2020); The focus of Dr. Plys’ research is on quality of life of older adults with physical and/or cognitive limitations due to serious illness in residential care settings.​

Kathleen Bickel, MD, MPhil, MS​, (2017-2019); Dr. Bickel is examining the hypothesis that patients with a diagnosis of PTSD are more likely to have increased acute health care utilization at the end-of-life, using a retrospective cohort study of chronically ill Veterans receiving VA health care benefits dying between 2010-2015. Using multivariate regression, Dr. Bickel will determine if PTSD is associated with increased end-of-life health care utilization. Dr. Bickel also hypothesizes that the effect of PTSD on end-of-life will vary depending on the primary chronic illness, it will be important to accurately characterize a veteran’s primary chronic illness at time of death. These findings will provide baseline information about the scope of this problem so that appropriate interventions can be developed.

​Sean M. Reed, PhD, APN, ACNS-BC, ACHPN,​ (2017-2019); The focus of Dr. Reed’s research is on the design and testing of economic and predictive models aimed to improve the delivery of care for the seriously ill.​

Jennifer Dickman Portz, PhD, MSW, (2016-2018); Dr. Portz’s mission is to advance social work research in geriatric palliative care by developing digital health interventions that can be used by older adults with advanced illnesses, their caregivers, and family to effectively improve patient-family centered outcomes. To achieve this goal, her current research is focused in three related areas: 1) identification of outcomes and needs important to patients with chronic disease and adva​nced illness 2) creation, study, and dissemination of digital health for older adult users, and 3) chronic disease self-management.​

Nicole Amoyal Pensak, PhD (2015- 2016); Dr. Amoyal Pensak’s research focuses on improving distress management in patients and caregivers of adults with serious illnesses.​

Tim Sannes, PhD​ (2015- 2017); ​Dr. Sannes’ research aims to develop new and improved support mechanisms for patients and their family members facing serious illness. Specifically, he seeks to determine if stress marker data can be translated into meaningful strategies for patients and their caregivers and investigate if emerging biomarker data influences decision-making and behavior.​

 ​


Goals and Objectives Curriculum
All T32-funded trainees will be postdoctoral physician scientists or PhD scientists who have indicated substantial interests in learning translational or clinical research that is relevant to aging and palliative care.  Upon completion of the program, the trainees will be expected to have mastered basic technical aspects of research and to have progressed to an independent stage of developing their own ideas and projects.

Curriculum: Personalized Formal Research Training

Coursework: As a T32 trainee, you will be required to take the following courses or equivalent (or demonstrate equivalent prior training):

Course Name (all courses are semester long)

Course number

Credits (total 15)

Applied Biostatistics I and II

BIOS 6601 and 6602

3 credits each

Design of Clinical Trials and Experiments

CLSC 6648

3 credits

Introduction to Health Information Technology

CLSC 6800

3 credits

Scientific Writing (grants & manuscripts)

CLSC 7101 and 7102

1 credit each

Critical Appraisal Seminars in Clinical Science

CLSC 6270

1 credit

 

As required by the NIH, you must complete 8 hours of training in the responsible conduct of research.  This requirement may be fulfilled by taking the CLSC courses 7150 (Ethics) and 7151 (Responsible Conduct of Human Research), the PHCL course 7605 (Ethics in Research) or the BIOS course 7605 (Ethics: Computational Bioscience Research) or via the seminar series offered by University of Colorado Clinical research Support Center http://www.ucdenver.edu/research/ORC/RI/Pages/rcrt.aspx .  This requirement must be completed in Year 1 of the award.​

Additional courses will be selected from the CLSC catalogue by the trainee and his or her mentor(s) to best fit the future research goals of the trainee.  The course work plan will be part of the required Career Development Plan (CDP).  T32 trainees will have the option of completing the requirements for award of a Master's degree in Clinical Investigation.
 
Minimum Expectations for ALL T32 Trainees
 

·        Attend and present in twice monthly research in progress sessions and actively participate in providing feedback to colleagues through peer mentorship.

·        Present research to a topic-relevant research seminar (as agreed to with mentors) at least once per year.

·        Develop andconduct at least 1 research project with their mentor(s), including agreed upon timelines and productivity benchmarks  as part of a written Individual Career Development Plan.

·         Participate in weekly meetings with primary mentor (or senior/junior mentorship dyad) and with entire Mentorship Committee (at least twice yearly).

·        Attend other relevant conferences (e.g. University of Colorado Palliative Care Conference (UC-PCC), Geriatrics Grand Rounds).

·        Present at Palliative Care Journal Club as assigned and at the UC-PCC at least twice each year.

·        Completion of required courses and other didactic training as determined by the needs assessment delineated in the Individualized Career Development Plan.

·         Submission of required review materials to document progress (twice yearly).

·         Presentation of abstracts at relevant national professional meetings (submit 2 abstracts per award year).

·         Publication of peer-reviewed manuscripts (submit 3 manuscripts per award year).

·         Application for pilot grant funding (internal or external) during year 1.

·        Submission of an individual research career development award application prior to completion of the T32 training period.

·        Maintain contact with the T32 following training for collection of data on presentations, publications, grants, degrees and academic positions.

Application Process 

Please provide the following application components​​:
  • Application form​​ (PDF - requires Acrobat Reader)
  • Letter of Interest
  • NIH format Biosketch with personal statement (CV or resume accepted)
  • 3 Letters of recommendation
  • 3-page Goals Statement
  • 3-page Project Description

 Please refer to the flier​​​ for more information.

Send materials to:

Agata Hardin
General Internal Medicine
Department of Medicine
Academic Office 1, room 8411
12631 E 17th Ave, Mail Stop B180
Aurora, CO  80045

Phone: (303) 724-2261
Fax: (303) 724-2270
agata.hardin@ucdenver.edu

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