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The Latest News

Dr. J. Randall Curtis Receives 2013 Sojourns Award

[August 2013]  J. Randall Curtis, director of the UW Palliative Care Center of Excellence, professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and holder of the A. Bruce Montgomery-American Lung Association Endowed Chair in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, has been selected to receive the 2013 Sojourns Award from Cambia Health Foundation (CHF) for his work in palliative care. The Foundation seeks to promote and recognize leaders who have an impact on the field through program innovations, clinical practice, patient and family care, policy, research, training education and advocacy.

Curtis is an internationality known physician, researcher and educator in the field of palliative care. Author of more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, over 100 editorials and editor of a textbook, Curtis’s research has led to a number of innovations in education, communications and palliative care in the ICU.

The Sojourns Award honors exemplary leaders and organizations in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington, who strive to advance the access, quality and understanding of palliative care locally and nationally. Recipients of the Sojourns Award receive a $50,000 grant to advance their work.

[Notice originally reported in UW Medicine Online News]

 

The University of Washington Palliative Care Center of Excellence Receives Award from Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to Study Patient-Clinician Communication

[June 2013]  The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has approved a research award to The University of Washington Palliative Care Center of Excellence to study patient-clinician communication. The study is part of a portfolio of patient-centered research that addresses PCORI’s national research priorities and will provide patients with information that will help them make better informed decisions about their care.

Dr. J. Randall Curtis, the A. Bruce Montgomery-American Lung Association Endowed Chair in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine will lead the research project at The University of Washington. The project will focus on ensuring that patients with serious illness receive the care they desire through improved patient-clinician communication. If effective, this health-system intervention will improve: 1) the occurrence and quality of patient-centered communication about serious illness for patients with chronic life-limiting illness and their families; 2) the agreement between patients’ wishes for care and care received; and 3) the burden of symptoms of anxiety and depression associated with healthcare that is experienced by patients and families.

Four decades of research indicate that people who are dying often spend their final days with a significant burden of pain and other symptoms and receive care they would not choose.  Patient-clinician communication about care for serious illness is an important focus for improving care for three reasons: 1) when it occurs, it is associated with improved quality of life, reduced anxiety, and the receipt of care that patients desire; 2) physicians frequently do not have discussions about patients’ goals and preferences for care for serious illness even though most patients desire these discussions; and 3) our preliminary studies suggest that a simple intervention based on each patient’s informational needs and preferences can increase the occurrence and quality of patient-clinician communication about serious illness. By tailoring patient-clinician discussions to the individual patient, patients will be able to help them make care decisions that are best for them and clinicians will be able to provide patients with the care patients’ desire.

“This project reflects PCORI’s commitment to support patient-centered comparative effectiveness research, a new approach to health research that emphasizes the inclusion of patients and caregivers at all stages of the study process,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH. “The research will provide patients and those who care for them better information about the healthcare decisions they face.”

The University of Washington Palliative Care Center of Excellence study is one of 51 projects totaling more than $88.5 million approved for funding by PCORI’s Board of Governors on May 6. All were selected through a highly competitive review process in which scientists, patients, caregivers, and other stakeholders helped to evaluate more than 400 applications for funding. Proposals were evaluated on the basis of scientific merit, how well they engage patients and other stakeholders, their methodological rigor, and how well they fit within PCORI’s national research priorities.

The awards are part of PCORI’s second cycle of primary research funding. This new round of funding follows PCORI’s initial approval of $40.7 million in support for 25 projects under the institute’s national research priorities. All awards in this most recent round of funding were approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

For more information about PCORI’s Funding Announcements, visit www.pcori.org/funding-opportunities.

About PCORI:  The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health care decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work. More information is available at www.pcori.org.

 

Announcement from UW Medicine Online News: UW Launches Palliative Care Center of Excellence

[October 2012]  With its official launch Oct. 8, the UW Palliative Care Center of Excellence will be poised to become an international leader in advancing the science and the delivery of palliative and end-of-life care for patients with chronic and life-limiting illnesses.  The UW Palliative Care Center of Excellence will bring together individual leaders who are recognized for palliative care research, education and clinical care across the health sciences disciplines.  “We are fortunate that the UW has pockets of excellence in palliative care across the health sciences schools and UW Medicine clinical sites,” said J. Randall Curtis, UW professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine and director of the new UW Palliative Care Center of Excellence.  “However, there has not been a systematic coordination and integration of all these activities. The Center will be one of few academic palliative care institutions in the nation to comprehensively advance the science of palliative and end-of-life care by increasing interdisciplinary and interprofessional collaborations in research, education and clinical care. Of course, the ultimate goal is to improve quality of care for patients and their families.”  Curtis, an international authority on critical, palliative and end-of-life care, was recently named the first holder of the A. Bruce Montgomery-American Lung Association Endowed Chair in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Curtis will co-direct the UW Palliative Care Center of Excellence with Anthony Back, professor of medicine in the Division of Oncology.  Other UW faculty assuming leadership roles in the new center are Stuart Farber, professor of family medicine; Darrell Owens, clinical assistant professor of medicine and director of outpatient palliative medicine servicesat Harborview Medical Center; Wayne McCormick, professor in geriatrics and gerontology and director of the palliative medicine fellowship; Elizabeth Loggers, assistant professor in medical oncology and director of palliative care at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance; Ruth Engelberg, research associate professor in pulmonary and critical care medicine and associate director of end of life care program at Harborview Medical Center; and Helene Starks, associate professor of bioethics and humanities.  The new UW Palliative Care Center of Excellence will be officially launched with the center’s inaugural visiting lecture by Susan Block, professor of psychiatry and medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care (photo, left). Block is chair of the Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.  Block will give the lecture, Moving Conversations about the End of Life Upstream: The Serious Illness Communication Checklist, at 4 p.m., Monday, October 8, 2012 in Room T-625, Health Sciences Building. Block, an international leader in palliative care, has directed national and international faculty development programs for palliative care clinicians. She studies interventions to improve communication in the setting of serious illness, psychological issues in palliative care and medical education.  Curtis will be recognized for holding the first endowed chair in pulmonary and critical care medicine at a reception following Block’s lecture.  For more information, please visit the new Palliative Care Center for Excellence website: http://www.uwpalliativecarecenter.com/ .

 

Dr. Curtis Honored with Endowed Chair

[September 2012]  J. Randall Curtis, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Medicine, has been named as the first holder of the A. Bruce Montgomery-American Lung Association Endowed Chair in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.  Dr. Curtis is an Adjunct Professor in three departments; the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems in the School of Nursing, the Department of Health Services in the School of Public Health, and the Department of Bioethics and Humanities in the School of Medicine.  Dr. Curtis is the Section Head for Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Harborview Medical Center and the Director of the new UW Palliative Care Center of Excellence.  Dr. Curtis’ research focuses on improving palliative and end-of-life care for patients with critical illness and their families and improving communication about palliative and end-of-life care for patients with chronic and life-limiting illnesses including COPD, heart failure, AIDS, and cancer.  He has an active research program with over 15 years of continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health and is currently Principal Investigator for 3 grants from the National Institutes of Health including two R01 Awards and a K24 Award.

 

UW Establishes Palliative Care Center of Excellence

[April 2012]  The University of Washington recognizes the importance of palliative care for patients with life-threatening illness and the value that it can bring to the lives of patients and their families.  To enhance research, education and patient-centered care, the University of Washington has established a Palliative Care Center of Excellence. The Center will leverage its nationally recognized experts in these domains of palliative care to become a national leader. The goal of this Center is to enhance current research while providing increased opportunities to develop new research collaborations thereby increasing research funding and productivity.  This Center will also integrate, coordinate and enhance education in palliative care across UW Health Science Schools with a focus on interprofessional education, further strengthening our health science education programs and making us a national leader in this area.  Finally, the Center will integrate, coordinate, and augment the clinical palliative care provided throughout UW Medicine and in the region through key activities such as development and implementation of standards, program evaluation, and program development support.  The Palliative Care Center of Excellence will be lead by J. Randall Curtis, MD, MPH, professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and by Dr. Anthony L. Back, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology.  Drs. Curtis and Back are national leaders in palliative care and were recently recognized by awards from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.  In addition, the Center will incorporate leadership and membership from across all of the Health Science Schools and work toward increased interdisciplinary and interprofessional collaborations.