Current Fellows

Current Cambia PCCE Research Fellows


Robert Y. Lee, MD comes to us from the fellowship program of the UW Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and will be working under the mentorship of Dr. Erin Kross.


Dr. Lee’s research will include an initial project examining the associations between sedation‐related practices in the intensive care unit and the development of long‐term psychological symptoms in survivors of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).


“My  experiences in caring for the chronically and critically ill have brought to light many unanswered research questions surrounding the prevention and relief of suffering associated with intensive care and the advancement  of long‐term quality of life in survivors of critical illness. I hope to dedicate my career to answering those questions.”






Nancy Lau, MS, PhD joins us from Harvard University where she completed her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.


Dr. Lau will be mentored by Dr. Abby Rosenberg at Seattle Children’s and plans to work with Dr. Rosenberg and Dr. Elizabeth McCauley on the Promoting Resilience in Stress Management (PRISM) study testing a psychosocial intervention for adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer.


“I have seen firsthand the ways in which youths in palliative care struggle with a myriad of comorbid psychopathology due to and further complicated by their medical illnesses and how current quality of care falls short of their needs. Although advances in pediatric cancer care provide state of the art biomedical treatment, psychosocial health outcomes have remained largely ignored. I aim to address this important gap in the field by conducting research on the development and dissemination of psychosocial treatments for young cancer survivors.”





Cara McDermott, PharmD, MSc, PhD has been part of the Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy Program (PORPP) at the University of Washington.


Her PhD training focuses on health economics and health services research. Dr. McDermott will be working with Scott Ramsey, MD, PhD, Director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research (HICOR).


“My future research plans are to explore predictors and patterns of care for multi‐morbidity patients with chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, dementia and depression, with particular attention paid to palliative and end‐of‐life care.”






Heather Coats, PhD, MS, APRN‐BC recently received her PhD at the University of Arizona College of Nursing. As a Palliative Care and Advanced Oncology Nurse Practitioner, she joins us with over 18 years of clinical experience in palliative, oncology and hospice care.

Her dissertation, titled “African American Elders Psycho‐Social‐Spiritual Healing across Serious Illness,” describes her research interests.


“First, because of my background in transcultural nursing, helping minority elders  is my passion. Second, focusing my research on serious illness allows me to contribute to palliative care science, a field with which my clinical practice interests align. Third, the phenomenon of psychosocial‐spiritual healing for patients with serious illness, in all stages of serious illness, is a focus for palliative care practitioners. Fourth, my research helps fill knowledge gaps in palliative care science.”





Crystal Brown, MD has been a fellow in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University  of Washington.


Crystal’s research is the effect of health literacy on adherence in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and how physician trust mediates this effect.


“My research interests include studying empirical bioethics questions that pertain to justice in health and health care disparities. By understanding the effects of health literacy and physician trust on adherence to guideline recommended therapies in

patients with COPD, we can better understand the patient and physician characteristics that promote adherence to therapies and improve patient outcomes.”






Jill Steiner, MD has been a fellow in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Washington.


Jill proposes to study the use of palliative care services in the adult congenital heart disease population.


“Adult congenital heart disease refers to the care of a growing, heterogeneous group of patients whose needs are largely unknown. Our ability to care for these patients is limited not only by anatomy and physiology, but also by our lack of understanding of their needs as they cope with challenges posed by their disease. By understanding the current state of palliative care services in this population, including barriers to and predictors of use, we will be able to improve the availability of services as well as patient outcomes.”








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