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​Researcher Honored for Nationally Recognized Palliative Care Model

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Cynthia Patton

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PITTSBURGH, April 25, 2018 – A UPMC and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine clinician educator, who has improved end-of-life care in patients with kidney disease, will receive a 2018 Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Award.
Jane Schell, M.D., a UPMC nephrologist and assistant professor of nephrology and palliative care at Pitt, developed NephroTalk, a nationally recognized communication tool that helps doctors have serious conversations about end-of-life care with patients being treated for advanced kidney disease. She was selected for the $15,000 award by The Hastings Center, The Cunniff-Dixon Foundation and the Duke University Institute on Care at the End of Life.
“It's an honor to be chosen by these prestigious organizations for this award that will further education in palliative care,” said Schell. “Having difficult conversations is never easy for a clinician or patient, but NephroTalk helps nephrology clinicians deliver serious news, address prognosis and assist with treatment decision making.”
Schell is one of five recipients selected to receive the award, which aims to foster models of good medicine for physicians and demonstrate the necessity of end-of-life care as it relates to the doctor-patient relationship.
“These physicians have been making a real difference to patients and their families during times of profound need,” said Mildred Z. Solomon, president of The Hastings Center. “In addition to great compassion and communications skills, they have demonstrated leadership abilities that are making significant and lasting improvements in end-of-life care in their institutions and communities.” 
Schell is an active participant in national organizations within palliative care and education, including the American Society of Nephrology, American Kidney Foundation and American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.