Helene Starks, PhD MPH

Helene Starks, PhD MPH, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities, School of Medicine, and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Departments of Health Systems and Population Health; Family Medicine; Pediatrics; and Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Informatics at the University of Washington. She is also co-director and core faculty of the Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care, a 15-credit hybrid online program for interprofessional palliative care professionals offered jointly by the Schools of Nursing and Medicine. Additionally, she serves as the Academic Research Coach for the Division of General Internal Medicine, supporting the scholarship of DGIM faculty across UW Medicine, and Senior Mentor for the Quality Improvement Scholars program through the Center for Scholarship in Patient Care Quality and Safety. Dr. Starks holds an MPH in Health Policy and Administration from the University of California at Berkeley and a BA in Communications and PhD in Health Services Research from the University of Washington.

Her current research interests include issues related to palliative and end-of-life care for patients, their family members, clinicians, and health systems; medical decision-making and clinician-patient communication; qualitative and mixed methods research; stakeholder engagement; implementation and dissemination science; and quality improvement and systems change. She recently completed a 2-year organizational ethnography to create a toolkit for providers to support development of home-based palliative care programs. Her other projects relate to palliative care workforce development and curriculum development for pediatric palliative care. Earlier work focused on community-based participatory research and research ethics, especially involving indigenous communities and vulnerable human subjects in research. Her teaching focuses on qualitative and mixed research methods, patient/family-centered narrative medicine, and quality metrics and systems integration for palliative care programs.