A vision for Duke Palliative Care

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The wintry weather Durham faced earlier this week did not prevent a significant turnout for the first Town Hall for Duke Palliative Care Services. The event leaders both claim Duke General Internal Medicine as home – the new Chief, David Casarett, MD, MA, and palliative care researcher Karen Steinhauser, PhD. Attendance was broadly representative, both within Duke as clinicians, researchers, and medical students, and outside Duke from other medical centers. 

A vision for population-based palliative care 

Dr. Casarett kicked off the affair with a brief presentation telling the audience “We envision this event as the first step in creating a vision for population-based palliative care at Duke.” He went on to explain the issues of supply and demand for palliative care. “We’ll never have enough palliative care specialists to meet every patient’s needs.” 

Casarett believes the program requires four essential “ingredients”, as he refers to them, components that will evolve over time: 

  1. Deliver tomorrow's palliative care today 
  2. Accelerate palliative care discovery and it's translation 
  3. Create palliative care education that is transforming 
  4. Build communities that have access to high quality palliative care 
  5. Improve palliative care globally 

"We envision this event as the first step in creating a vision for population-based palliative care at Duke."

Stirring strategic thinking 

Four panelists then challenged the audience with their comments, for example, how can we expand our interdisciplinary footprint? How we can develop partnerships with community entities in Durham and across North Carolina, a vision for population-based palliative care at Duke? 

* Nancy Andrews, MD, PhD, Dean of the School of Medicine and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Duke University 

* Marion Broome, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean of the School of Nursing; Vice Chancellor for Nursing Affairs, Duke University; and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs for Nursing, Duke University Health System 

* Lisa Pickett, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Duke University Hospital 

* Lesley Curtis, PhD, Director of the Center for Population Health Sciences in the Duke University School of Medicine, and Director the Center for Pragmatic Health Systems Research in the Duke Clinical Research Institute 

Casarett tells us he's hoping for "some intriguing suggestions to get us thinking." He was very pleased with the turnout of the event and the interest exhibited, both reassuring his decision for coming to Duke: "I was told when coming here that there would be a lot of enthusiasm, and I am so glad to see that that was true." 

The event was followed by a daylong workshop for continued conversation on the vision and goals for Duke Palliative Care Services. 

Read more about Casarett and Steinhauser.