2020-2021 AAHPM Board of Directors
As the governing body, the AAHPM Board of Directors is comprised of 20 individuals who are responsible for the ultimate direction of the management of the Academy's affairs.
Rodney O. Tucker, MD MMM FAAHPM (2020-2021)
UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care
Rodney O. Tucker, MD MMM is Director and Christine S. Ritchie, MD Endowed Chair in Palliative Care Leadership of the Center for Palliative and Supportive Care at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In this role, he is active in the development of a comprehensive clinical, educational and research program in palliative care. Dr. Tucker completed his Masters in Medical Management at the University of Southern California in 2009. At UAB, Dr. Tucker has provided leadership in the opening of a 12 bed inpatient palliative care unit in 2006 as well as development of an ambulatory HIV palliative care clinic. The UAB Center provides care for over 2000 new patients annually and is currently a Palliative Care Leadership Center. Dr. Tucker has been an active member of AAHPM and CAPC for over fourteen years, having served in several leadership roles in the Academy. He has participated in the education and mentorship of over 300 fellow learners and health care systems over the past fourteen years. In 2013, Dr. Tucker also began in the role of Chief Experience Officer for UAB Medicine. In this role Dr. Tucker works with stakeholders numbering over 14,000 at Alabama's largest employer in the practice of evidence based leadership and enhancing the patient experience in the setting of a changing healthcare environment.
Nathan Goldstein, MD FAAHPM (2020-2021)
New York, NY
Goldstein has been a physician in the department of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York for 15 years. His clinical work includes inpatient attending, precepting fellows in outpatient practice, and serving as hospice medical director on the inpatient unit. He also is a clinician investigator whose research examines ways that clinicians and patients communicate about advanced cardiac technologies. In addition, he is the site-chair for the department of geriatrics and palliative medicine for Mount Sinai Downtown.
Ruth Thomson, DO MBA HMDC FACOI FAAHPM (2020-2021)
Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospie Care
Ruth has had the privilege of practicing full-time in Hospice and Palliative Medicine since 2001. She has achieved Internal Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and Hospice Medical Director Board Certification and is recognized as a fellow of the AAHPM and the ACOI. She is known for her expertise in hospice care – particularly in regulations, quality, and inpatient hospice care. She served 16 years at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, rising to the level of Chief Medical Officer. In that role, she led a team of over 30 physicians and nurse practitioners caring for more than 5,000 hospice patients and 1,800 palliative care patients annually. Ruth joined the faculty at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in 2017, serving as Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and as the Medical Director for the Jack Byrne Center for Palliative and Hospice Care. She championed the successful opening and directs ongoing clinical operations of the Center, which offers a unique model of providing hospice care in an academic medical center setting. An Academy member since 2006, Ruth has eagerly volunteered in numerous capacities over the years. She is passionate about increasing access to palliative and end-of-life care for those facing serious and terminal illness. She is also an ally to the LGBTQ community and an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Disclosures: Scientific Advisory Board, P & C Pharma
Holly Yang, MD MSHPEd HMDC FACP FAAHPM (2020-2021)
Scripps Health Inpatient Providers Medical Group
San Diego, CA
Dr. Yang provides hospice and palliative care services in the Scripps Health system. She has taught medical and interdisciplinary trainees in Hospice and Palliative Medicine (HPM) both in the US and internationally. She serves as the HPM Fellowship Program Co-Director at Scripps Mercy Hospital for the UCSD/Scripps HPM Fellowship Program. Her particular interests include: the intersection and integration of HPM with national and international health care systems, health professional education, communication skills training, whole-person care for the healthcare provider, and advocacy for HPM patients and the field.
Disclosures: VitalTalk Partner
Joanne Wolfe, MD MPH FAAHPM (2020-2021)
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dr. Wolfe is the division chief of pediatric palliative care of the Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston, MA; director of pediatric palliative care at the Children's Hospital Boston; and professor of pediatrics at the Harvard Medical School in Boston. In 1997, Dr. Wolfe lead the development of the Pediatric Advanced Care Team at Children's Hospital Boston and the DFCI, now one of the longest standing and largest pediatric palliative care programs nationally. In 1999, she became a Faculty Scholar with PDIA and through this opportunity gained insight into the fundamentals of hospice and palliative care along the life spectrum. From 2002 to 2008, she was the pediatric medical director for a local hospice and came to more fully understand the needs of home-based patients and their families.
Chief Medical Officer
Joe Rotella, MD MBA HMDC FAAHPM
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Joe Rotella served as Chief Medical Officer for Hosparus, a community-based hospice in Louisville, KY for 15 years. During his tenure, he helped establish hospice inpatient units, palliative care consultation services, and a palliative medicine fellowship. Heeding a call to leadership and innovation, Rotella earned an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of Louisville. His work with the Academy includes serving on the Quality and Practice Standards Committee, Choosing Wisely Task Force and co-chairing the AAHPM and HPNA Measuring What Matters initiative and the AAHPM Hospice Medical Director Conference.
Joe knew he was bound for medicine when he entered college, but majored in English because he believed medicine belongs as much to the humanities as to the sciences. During his 12 years practicing primary care internal medicine in rural New Hampshire, he witnessed significant suffering in his sickest patients and their families and dedicated himself to finding ways to make their healthcare more human and compassionate. Rotella also founded an oncology support clinic at his local hospital and attended a seminar in England where he was inspired by the work of Dame Cicely Saunders.
Disclosures: Employed by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
Directors At Large
Rachelle Bernacki, MD MS FAAHPM (2020-2023)
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Bernacki is the director of quality initiatives in the department of psychosocial oncology and palliative care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She combines clinical practice in palliative care, training initiatives, and quality improvement research in serious illness that has broad impact. She also is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, where she teaches medical students, residents, fellows, and other faculty both clinically and through the HMS Center for Palliative Care. She is a founder of the Serious Illness Care Program at Ariadne Labs.
Elise C. Carey, MD (2018-2021)
Mayo Clinic Rochester
Carey is assistant professor of Medicine and Palliative Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She began practicing hospice and palliative medicine (HPM) at the University of California, San Francsico in 2004, where she was the founding director of the inpatient palliative care consult service at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. She subsequently joined the Mayo Clinic in 2007 to advance its palliative care program. Carey led efforts to transform a low-volume palliative medicine service into a nationally recognized program with three inpatient teams, a full-time outpatient clinic, an accredited HPM fellowship, and educational programs that support 80 new learners annually.
Vicki Jackson, MD MPH FAAHPM (2018-2021)
Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Jackson is the Chief of the Palliative Care Division at Massachusetts General Hospital and is the former Fellowship Director for the Harvard Palliative Medicine Fellowship. She completed training in palliative care at The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She joined the faculty of Massachusetts General Hospital in 2002 and pursued further research training in the Program for Cancer Outcomes Training. She was selected for the Harvard Academy Education Fellowship where her work focused on the development of end of life medical and communication curriculum which was the basis for the curriculum for the Harvard Palliative Medicine Fellowship. In 2009, she was selected as the Rabkin Fellow in Medical Education at The Beth Israel Hospital. Currently, she is the Palliative Care lead investigator for a grant funded by the National Institutes of Health investigating the effect of early ambulatory palliative care for patients with advanced cancer. Her work focuses on developing curricula to train others in the communication skills required to deliver this care. She spends much of her time developing, teaching, and evaluating palliative medicine curricula for medical students, residents, fellows, and faculty. Nationally she served as Co-Chair for an innovative 3 year academic leadership training program for junior palliative medicine faculty with American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She also served as the Co-Editor for a series devoted to the clinician-educator in The Journal of Palliative Medicine.
Arif Kamal, MD MBA MHS FAAHPM (2018-2021)
Duke Cancer Institute
Kamal is the physician quality and outcomes officer at Duke Cancer Institute. He also is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology at Duke School of Medicine and an outpatient attending physician in Duke’s Palliative Care Program at the Duke Health System. He has published more than 80 original research articles, clinical reviews, and editorials, and is a recipient of an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality K08 grant to study quality measurements in palliative care. Kamal was the first hospice and palliative medicine fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, in 2009. He is the founder and co-chair of the Global Palliative Care Quality Alliance, a leading palliative care quality improvement and learning collaborative. He received the Cambia Sojourns Scholar Award, Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC), and the Top Overall Junior Investigator Award. Kamal is the co-chair of the AAHPM Technical Specifications for Electronic Clinical Quality Measurers Working Group and a current member of the Quality Committee. He also is one of the recipients of the AAHPM 40 Under 40 award (2015).
Tammy Kang, MD FAAHPM (2019-2022)
Texas Children's Hospital
Tammy Kang received her medical degree from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and completed her pediatric residency at University of California, San Francisco and a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She is board certified in pediatric hematology/oncology and hospice and palliative medicine. Kang is the inaugural chief for palliative care at Texas Children’s Hospital, associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, and Associate Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs for the Department of Pediatrics. She has given numerous lectures across the country and authored articles and chapters on topics related to the care of children with serious illness.
Kang serves as co-chair for the National Pediatric Hospice and Palliative Care Collaboration. She is a member of the Supportive and Palliative Care Board of the National Cancer Institute PDQ and a founding member of the Pediatric Palliative Care Research Network. She also serves on the technical advisory panel for the Joint Commission Certification in Advanced Palliative Care and the NCP Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care.
Dana Lustbader (2019-2022)
ProHEALTH, New York
Great Neck, NY
Dana Lustbader is triple board certified in hospice and palliative medicine, critical care medicine, and internal medicine. She founded the division of palliative medicine, created the HPM fellowship and developed the nation’s third progressive care unit for Northwell Health, a 22-hospital health system in New York. After 20 years of inpatient focus at Northwell, Lustbader subsequently launched a home-based palliative care program that serves 1,800 patients in the New York City metro area with plans to scale through partnership with Optum. She also served as senior medical director for Aspire and launched its Northeast market. Most recently, her focus has been to create home-based and outpatient palliative care services in the home and in their cancer center. A member of the Academy since 2005, Lustbader also has served on numerous AAHPM committees. She is currently working with NCQA and RAND to develop quality metrics and a patient survey for the field and has been involved with developing an Alternative Payment Model for Palliative Care.
Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD MA BCPS (2020-2023)
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy
McPherson has practiced hospice and palliative care as a clinical pharmacist since 1985. She is a professor at the University of Maryland and executive program director of the online Master of Science in Palliative Care program. She has served as a resource to medical staff for pain and symptom consultations, opioid conversion calculations, methadone dosing, and other drug information queries. She attends hospice team meetings, writes and reviews policies related to medication use, and reviews medical error data and trends. She publishes a monthly newsletter, PharmSmart, and a monthly column, "PharmFlash," and has authored five books and more than 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts.
Laura J. Morrison, MD FAAHPM (2020-2023)
Yale School of Medicine
New Haven, CT
Morrison has been a palliative care clinician and educator for more than 15 years. She leads the palliative care clinical and educational program development at Yale University. She is a founding director of Yale University's palliative care fellowship, has developed numerous palliative care curricula for learners across disciplines and training levels, and has advocated to raise the bar for national palliative care training standards for physicians through AAHPM and ACGME committees by working on competencies and milestones.
Debra Parker Oliver, PhD MSW (2020-2023)
Univeristy of Missouri
Parker Oliver is a hospice and palliative care researcher and social worker. She has directed three hospice programs and served as president and board member for the Missouri Hospice and Palliative Care Association. A strong advocate for hospice certification in Missouri, Parker Oliver helped write the original regulations for certification. She now teaches first-year medical students as an associate professor at the University of Missouri in Columbia. In her roles as a former hospice manager, a state leader, and now as a teacher and researcher, her passion always has been improvement in the care of the dying and the health of those caring for them.
Thomas Smith, MD FAAHPM (2018-2021)
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Tom is a medical oncologist and palliative care specialist with a lifelong interest in better symptom management, open and accurate communication, and improving access to high quality affordable care. He is the Director of Palliative Medicine for Johns Hopkins Medicine, charged with integrating palliative care into all the Johns Hopkins venues. The hospital wide PC consult service sees over 1850 patients a year, runs multiple outpatient clinics, and has a growing research agenda with “Scrambler Therapy” for pain (Avon Foundation), peri-operative palliative care (PCORI), integrated palliative care for patients on Phase I drug trials (RO1), and communication. He used an ACS grant to study "ABH" gel for nausea, which led to the AAHPM Choosing Wisely statement and removal from most hospice formularies.
Dr. Smith has a long track record of starting innovative programs with concurrent evaluation of their impact on care and costs, including the Virginia Rural Cancer Outreach Program, the Thomas Palliative Care Program, the Virginia Initiative on Palliative Care, and the Rural Palliative Care Program, among others. They train 3-5 adult and pediatric HPM fellows yearly.
Disclosures: Member of ASCO and co-chair of their CSF Growth Factor Guideline Panel, Neuropathy Guideline Panel, Lung Cancer Guideline Panel, recurrent Prostate Cancer Panel, Value of Cancer Care Task Force
Shaida Talebreza, MD HMDC FAAHPM AGSF (2018-2021)
University of Utah George E. Wahlen, Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Bristol Hospice
Salt Lake City, UT
Dr. Shaida Talebreza MD, AGSF, FAAHPM, HMDC serves as Associate Professor at the University of Utah and is board certified in in family medicine, geriatric medicine, hospice and palliative medicine, and is hospice medical director certified. Dr. Talebreza serves as a palliative care specialist and geriatrician for the George E. Wahlen, Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center and as a national leader for the VA National Center for Ethics in Health Care VA Life-Sustaining Treatment Decisions Initiative (VA LSTDI). The goal of the VA LSTDI is to develop and implement new practices to ensure that the values, goals, and life-sustaining treatment decisions of seriously ill Veterans are elicited, documented, and honored. Dr. Talebreza strives to promote geriatric, hospice and palliative medicine education nationally. She serves as one of the leaders of AAHPM’s Hospice Medical Director Leadership Council and is the creator and lead editor of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Geriatrics Evaluation and Management Tools, a web-based educational resource and smartphone clinical app. She is the recipient of the American Geriatrics Society Outstanding Junior Clinician Educator of the Year Award, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources Geriatric Academic Career Award (GACA), and the Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Award. Dr. Talebreza is passionate about providing comprehensive, compassionate, evidence-based care to people with serious illness and educating and inspiring others to do this important work.
Paul Tatum, MD MSPh CMD AGSF FAAHPM (2018-2021)
University of Texas at Austin
Paul Tatum is a family physician, geriatrician, palliative care physician, and hospice medical director who sees patients in primary care ambulatory clinics, in hospital palliative care consults, in nursing homes and with hospice. He is fellowship director for HPM at the University of Missouri. He serves on the National Medical Directors Advisory Council of Compassus Hospice and Palliative Care. He dreams of the day when every American receives excellent palliative care and he strives to be an effective advocate for making comprehensive primary, secondary, and tertiary palliative care a reality.
Eric Widera, MD FAAHPM (2019-2022)
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
Eric Widera is a clinician-educator in the Division of Geriatrics at the University of California San Francisco. His main goal is to improve the care provided to elderly patients with severe chronic and/or terminal conditions through program development and educational innovations. Eric accomplishes this through various leadership roles, including Director of the Hospice & Palliative Care Service at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and Program Director for the Geriatrics Fellowship at UCSF. Eric received his medical school training at UCSF and his internal medicine training at Mount Sinai Hospital. He returned to UCSF to complete a fellowship in Geriatric Medicine. He joined the faculty at UCSF in August of 2006. Since then, Eric has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards including a Geriatric Academic Career Award (GACA), the Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Award, AAHPM Hospice and Palliative Medicine Leaders Under 40 award, and the AAHPM PDIA Palliative Medicine National Leadership Award, and the AAHPM Visionary Award. He is also a co-founder of GeriPal, a Geriatrics and Palliative Care blog and podcast, as well as ePrognosis, an online set of prognostic calculators for the elderly.
Donna Zhukovsky, MD FACP FAAHPM (2019-2022)
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Professor of Palliative Care at MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) and board certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine (HPM) and Medical Oncology, Dr. Zhukovsky has over 30 years of experience in HPM, starting before the formal inception of our specialty. An institutional leader of Advance Care Planning, the Psychosocial Council and former chair of the Clinical Ethics Committee, Dr. Zhukovsky maintains a strong focus on the provision of adult and pediatric clinical care, while conducting clinical trials and promoting evidence-based care in the field of Palliative Medicine through research, education and advocacy. Recently, she was named the physician lead of an institutional operational priority committee tasked with integrating end of life care into a culture where aggressive efforts at anti-cancer treatment predominate.
Nationally and internationally, she has played an active role on the NCI PDQ Supportive Care Board and has served as a palliative care grant reviewer for the ACS, NCI-Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute. First and foremost a clinician, Dr. Zhukovsky is the recipient of competitive research grants (American Cancer Society, MDACC institutional awards, industry) that have focused on pediatrics and advance care planning. She has authored multiple peer-reviewed papers, chapters and editorials, is the past Editor-in-Chief of PC FACS and has lectured extensively at AAHPM, ASCO, and in international venues including India and China. Through her efforts, Dr. Zhukovsky has impacted the development of a generation of AAHPM members and future HPM leaders.
AAHPM's Chief Medical Officer sat down with some of our past presidents to talk about their year as president. Listen to their stories with the links below.
2019: Joanne Wolfe, MD MPH FAAHPM
2018: Tammie E. Quest, MD FAAHPM (interview)
2017: Janet Bull, MD MBA HMDC FAAHPM (interview)
2016: Christian Sinclair, MD FAAHPM (interview)
2015: Christine Ritchie, MD MSPH FACP FAAHPM (interview)
2014: Jean S. Kutner, MD MSPH FAAHPM (interview)
2013: Amy P. Abernethy, MD PhD FACP FAAHPM
2012: Timothy E. Quill, MD FACP FAAHPM (interview)
2011: Ronald J. Crossno, MD FAAFP FAAHPM (interview)
2010: R. Sean Morrison, MD FAAHPM (interview)
2009: Gail Austin Cooney, MD FAAHPM HMDC (interview)
2008: Russell K. Portenoy, MD (interview)
2007: J. Cameron Muir, MD FAAHPM (interview)
2006: Ron S. Schonwetter, MD FAAHPM (interview)
2005: Robert M. Arnold, MD FAAHPM (interview)
2004: James Cleary, MD (interview)
2003: David M. McGrew, MD FAAHPM (interview)
2002: Martha Twaddle, MD FAAHPM FACP (interview)
2001: John W. Finn, MD FAAHPM
2000: Carla S. Alexander, MD FAAHPM (interview)
1999: Michael H. Levy, MD PhD (interview)
1998: Walter Forman, MD FAAHPM
1997: Ira Byock, MD FAAHPM (interview)
1996: Laurel Herbst, MD (interview)
1995: Charles Sasser, MD FAAHPM FACD (interview)
1994: Gerald Holman, MD FRCP(C) FAAP
1993: Jack Starr, MD
1992: Marty Skinner, MD
1991: J. Andrew Billings, MD
1990: Wilbur Flannery, MD
1989: Robert Miller, MD
AAHPM Executive Interviews