Mentee Research

Over the years, several mentees at all academic levels have successfully published and presented their palliative care research in a variety of journals and at several national conferences. Highlighted recent and current projects include:

Oncology and Palliative Care

  • Association Between System-Level Characteristics and Utilization of Outpatient Specialty Palliative Care in Patients with Advanced Cancer: Geographic Access and Co-location of Outpatient Specialty Palliative Care with Oncology Practices
    • Mentee: Justin Yu, MD (Palliative Care Fellow, University of Pittsburgh)
    • Mentor: Yael Schenker, MD, MAS
    • Years: 2017-present
    • Project Outcome: Dr. Yu presented this poster at the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine conference in March 2018 in Boston, MA.
       
  • Nurses' Perspectives of Nurse-Led Palliative Care Interventions in an Outpatient Oncology Setting
    • Mentee: Kaitlin Feldenzer, MSN, RN, OCN, CHPN
    • Mentor: Yael Schenker, MD, MAS
    • Years: 2016-present
    • Project Outcome: Dr. Schenker is an advisor for Kaitlin Feldenzer for her Capstone thesis project. Kaitlin will present her project at the annual Oncology Nursing Society Congress in Washington, DC in May 2018.
       
  • A Cluster Randomized Trial of a Primary Palliative Care Intervention for Patients with Advanced Cancer
    • Mentee: Claire Becker (Medical Student, University of Pittsburgh)
    • Mentor: Yael Schenker, MD, MAS
    • Years: 2016-present
    • Project Outcome: This mentorship resulted in the protocol manuscript for Dr. Schenker's CONNECT trial, which was published in Contemporary Clinical Trials. Claire was awarded the Deans Summer Research Project award for her work on this project.
       
  • Monitoring and Maintaining Fidelity of a Primary Palliative Care Intervention
    • Mentee: Gregg Robbins-Welty (Medical Student, University of Pittsburgh)
    • Mentor: Yael Schenker, MD, MAS
    • Years 2016-present
    • Project Outcome: A manuscript about intervention fidelity in Dr. Schenker's CONNECT trial is currently under review at Contemporary Clinical Trials. Under the mentorship of Dr. Schenker, Gregg also authored a manuscript about medical comorbidity in complicated grief in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.
       
  • Descriptive Analysis of Patient-Reported Symptoms and Associated Shared Care Plans from a Primary Palliative Care Intervention (CONNECT) for Patients with Advanced Cancer
    • Mentee: Chandler Mitchell (Undergraduate Student, University of Pittsburgh)
    • Mentor: Yael Schenker, MD, MAS
    • Years: 2017-present
    • Project Outcome: Chandler presented this poster at the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine conference in March 2018 in Boston, MA.
       
  • Palliative Care in Gynecologic Oncology
    • Mentee: Casey Hay, MD (Former Gynecologic-Oncology Fellow, University of Pittsburgh)
    • Mentor: Yael Schenker, MD, MAS
    • Years: 2015-2017
    • Project Outcome: Dr. Hay received an AAHPM Palliative Medicine Access Fund Scholarship to attend annual AAHPM meeting and a Merit Award to present her abstract at ASCO Palliative Care meeting. Manuscripts resulting from this mentorship were also published in the International Journal of Gynecologic Oncology and the Journal of Oncology Practice.

Palliative Care in Cystic Fibrosis

  • Associations between Symptom Burden and Unmet Supportive Care Needs in Adults with CF
    • ​Mentee: Elizabeth Trandel, BS (Medical Student, University of Pittsburgh)
    • Mentor: Dio Kavalieratos, PhD
    • Years: 2017-present
    • Project Outcome: Dr. Kavalieratos is mentoring Elizabeth Trandel, a medical student at University of Pittsburgh, during her summer 2017 research experience. Elizabeth presented this talk at the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine conference in March 2018 in Boston, MA. Elizabeth was awarded the competitive Alan Gleitsman Student Research Fund in Palliative Care to conduct this research.
       
  • Associations between Demographic Characteristics and Unmet Supportive Care Needs in Adults with CF
    • Mentee: Laura Obregon (Undergraduate Student, University of Pittsburgh)
    • Mentor: Dio Kavalieratos, PhD
    • Years: 2016-present
    • Project Outcome: Laura presented this oral presentation at the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine conference in March 2018 in Boston, MA. Laura was awarded funding from the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Office of Undergraduate Research and Office of the Associate Dean at the University of Pittsburgh to attend this conference.
       
  • Discordance Between Pulmonary Function and Symptom Burden in Patients with CF
    • Mentee: Rob Tessier, BS (Medical Student, Northwestern University)
    • Mentor: Dio Kavalieratos, PhD
    • Year: 2017
    • Project Outcome: Rob presented this oral presentation at the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference in Fall of 2017.

Palliative Care in Cardiology

  • Preferences for primary versus specialty palliative care among patients with heart failure.
  • Exploring the role of specialty palliative care for patients with pulmonary hypertension
    • Mentee: Alicia Topoll, MD (Cardiology Fellow, University of Pittsburgh)
    • Mentor: Dio Kavalieratos, PhD
    • Years: 2017-present
    • Project Outcome: Alicia is currently conducting a mixed-methods study combining a retrospective review of the processes and outcomes of specialty palliative care encounters and qualitative interviews of patients with pulmonary hypertension.  
       
  • Do Cardiac Devices Act as a Barrier to Advance Care Planning in Heart Failure?
    • Mentee: Rachel Hadler, MD (Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, University of Pennsylvania)
    • Mentor: Dio Kavalieratos, PhD
    • Years: 2017-present
    • Project Outcome: Rachel’s research will be presented as a poster at the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation’s Annual Meeting in Nice, France in April 2018.

Patient-Provider Communication and Palliative Care

  • Emotion Reactivity and Regulation and their Applicability to Physician-Patient Communication
    • Mentee: Jesse Soodalter, MD, MAS
    • Mentors: Yael Schenker, MD, MAS and Robert Arnold, MD
    • Years: 2016-present
    • Project Outcome: Dr. Schenker is a primary mentor for Dr. Soodalter during her post-doctoral palliative care research fellowship at the University of Ptitsburgh. To date, Dr. Soodalter's manuscript about doctor-patient communication at the end of life has been published in Patient Education and Counseling.

Evidence Synthesis in Palliative Care

  • Comparison of Palliative Care Interventions for Cancer and Non-Cancer Populations
    • Mentee: Megan Bannon (Medical Student, University of Pittsburgh)
    • Mentor: Dio Kavalieratos, PhD
    • Years: 2017-present
    • Project Outcome: Megan’s research resulted in a poster presentation at the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine conference in March 2018 in Boston, MA.
       
  • Examining the Role of Provider Specialization on Outcomes of Palliative Care Interventions
    • Mentee: Natalie Ernecoff (PhD student, Health Policy and Management, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
    • Mentor: Dio Kavalieratos, PhD
    • Years: 2018-present
    • Project Outcome: In process.