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News and Events: UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute

The UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute participates in many community, educational, and professional events, throughout the Pittsburgh area and around the country. We invite you to contact us to learn more.


Gleitsman Award Funds Medical Student Research

Avery Meltzer, medical student at the University of Pittsburgh, has been presented the 2019 Gleitsman Award, which provides $3,000 towards summer learning in the Palliative Care Program. Avery is being mentored by Dr. Janel Hanmer in a research project that evaluates whether patients enrolled in the Enhanced Care Program (ECP), a chronic care management program serving complex patients, experience a change in Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) as a result of their participation in the program.

This project is part of a larger body of research being conducted at UPMC to establish a set of generic HRQoL metrics that can be used comparatively to assess patient outcomes across different health settings.

Avery plans to become a primary care physician and aspires to find solutions for underserved families to address the chronic illnesses that disproportionately affect them.

Avery Meltzer


Death & Dying Fellowship Concludes with Post-Gazette Feature Story

Dr. Robert M. Arnold mentors physicians, pharmacists, social workers and medical ethicists as part of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation's Death and Dying Fellowship, featured in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.


Hospice and Palliative Care Symposium 2019

Co-sponsored by UPMC's Family Hospice and Palliative Care and the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute, this year’s symposium brought together more than 150 physicians, physician assistants, social workers, and nurses to discuss strategies and resources to improve the patient experience for the seriously ill, as well as for their families.

Topics included expanded access, end stage renal disease care, and integrative oncology advancements. Dr. Karen Hacker, medical director for the Allegheny County Health Department, spoke to health care disparities.

Planning is underway for a fall symposium in Altoona.

2019 Symposium


Amdur Fellowship in Social Work Awarded 

Emily Svitek, University of Pittsburgh master’s in social work candidate, is the recipient of the 2019 Amdur Fellowship in Palliative Care. Awarded annually, this fellowship affords an opportunity for mentoring in field of clinical social work, specific to patients living with serious, traumatic, and/or chronic illness. 

Emily is being mentored by Natalie A. Magoc, LSW, Collaborative Care Management at UPMC Presbyterian. Natalie was herself an Amdur Fellow and hopes to impart skills in how to best support patients and their families, including having difficult conversations about end of life.

Dr. Karen Hacker


Researcher Honored for Work in Palliative Care

Dio Kavalieratos, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, University of Pittsburgh, and director of Implementation Research for the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute, has been awarded the 2019 American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) Early Career Investigator Award. This award recognizes Dr. Kavalieratos as a developing research leader, who shows promise in making contributions to the development of a scientific foundation for practice and research, and who conducts and facilitates research by others that advances the field of hospice and palliative medicine.

Dr. Kavalieratos is the first PhD to ever win this award. Recently, he has completed research and policy work integrating specialty palliative care into the care of patients with cystic fibrosis and conducted a trial with primary palliative care intervention for patients with advanced heart failure.

Dr. Kavalieratos

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Walk

The Palliative and Supportive Institute served as a sponsor for the Memory Tent at the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Walk. More than 130 families visited the tent for information on palliative care and bereavement resources. Staff from PSI collaborated with peers from Family Hospice and Palliative Care in providing support to individuals, families and caregivers.


PSI Receives Fine Award

The Palliative and Supportive Institute has been named a winner of the 10th anniversary Fine Award for commitment to excellence in safety, quality, efficiency, and innovation.

In this anniversary year, institutions previously recognized were considered for an additional award based on sustained and expanding growth of the program to other departments within their organization.

PSI Fine Award

PSI Physician honored as 2018 Hastings Center Cuniff-Dixon Physician Award

Jane Schell Hastings Award

Dr. Jane Schell is one of five recipients selected to receive this prestigious award. The award will be presented formally at a July 2018 reception in Pittsburgh.


PSI Pharm D Achieves Prestigious Distinction

Jennifer Pruskowski, PharmD, pharmacist, Palliative and Supportive Institute, has been selected as the 2018 ACCP New Clinical Practitioner Award winner. This award recognizes a person who, after less than six years since completion of training has made outstanding contributions to the health of patients and to the practice of clinical pharmacology.


PSI Medical Director named Distinguished Professor

The ASP Eric G. Neilson, MD, Distinguished Professor Award is presented annually to a physician who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and support of specialty internal medicine. This year's recipient is Dr. Robert M. Arnold, Medical Director of the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute. Dr. Arnold received the award at a March 2018 reception in San Antonio, Texas.

University of Oklahoma Awards Biomedical Ethics Prize to PSI Medical Director

The University of Oklahoma College of Medicine selected Dr. Robert M. Arnold, Medical Director of the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute, as recipient of the Patricia Price Browne Prize in Biomedical Ethics. This honor recognizes Dr. Arnold for his expertise in palliative care and doctor-patient communication. Learn more about the Biomedical Ethics Prize.

Medical Students Volunteer To Play Music For Patients

A group of medical students, lead by Sae Jang, volunteered to play music for patients at UPMC Presbyterian. Palliative care physician Dr. Jane Schell helps the students connect with the right patients. Read the full article and watch a video from KDKA.


Communication Strategies to Improve Cultural Competence

Dr. Jane O. Schell, palliative care physician at UPMC Presbyterian and Shadyside hospitals, co-authored an article addressing communication and cultural competence as it relates to shard decision-making. It was published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Read the article.


PharmD travels to China for Clinical Pharmacy Forum

2016 Sino American Forum of Clinical Pharmacy participants

Jennifer Pruskowski, PharmD with UPMC's Palliative and Supportive Institute and the University of Pittsburgh, participated in the 2016 Sino American Forum of Clinical Pharmacy in Shanghai, China. Jennifer presented on the topic of "Palliative Clinical Pharmacy Care in the United States."


The Unreasonable Patient

Dr. Andrew Thurston, a UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute physician at UPMC Mercy, recently had an opinion piece published in the Journal of American Medical Association. Read the reflection here.

PSI In The News

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently featured an in-depth story on the nature and benefits of palliative care for seriously ill patients. Read the story and watch the accompanying video interview with Robert Arnold, MD, Medical Director of the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute.


Robert M. Arnold, MD, Discusses Palliative Care and End of Life Issues on WESA Radio

Dr. Robert M. Arnold, Medical Director of the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute discussed palliative care, end-of-life issues, and how better communication can help patients, families, and their caregivers that are facing a serious illness or end-of-life concerns. Listen to the 30 minute discussion.

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