Mentee Research

Mentee Spotlight: Justin Yu, MD
Justin Yu, MD

Dr. Yu is a Clinical Instructor of Medicine in the Department of General Internal Medicine and a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Clinical and Translational Science (TL1) Fellowship Program. He is pursuing a career as a clinician investigator, focused on advancing the field of pediatric palliative care for children with medical complexity.

Dr. Yu first came to UPMC for the Internal Medicine-Pediatrics combined residency program, hoping to pursue a combined adult-pediatric critical care fellowship and career. However, over time, he was drawn to a career in palliative care.  “I realized that palliative care’s underlying philosophy and approach to serving patients was what drew me to medicine in the first place,” he says. Fortunately, he was able to tap into the palliative care resources in Pittsburgh and learn about other aspects of hospice and palliative care during his residency training. After residency, he completed the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship, offered by the Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics.  

As a post-doctoral scholar, Dr. Yu works closely with an interdisciplinary team of mentors: Dr. Yael Schenker, Dr. Amy Houtrow, and Dr. Kristin Ray. He has completed several research projects, including an examination of system-level factors associated with utilization of outpatient specialty palliative care for patients with advanced solid tumors (published in the Journal of Oncology Practice) and a descriptive model of pediatric palliative care in the medical neighborhood for children with medical complexity (published in Families, Systems, & Health).

Dr. Yu also has several ongoing projects, demonstrating his ability to use a variety of different research methods to address important questions in his area of interest. For example, he is conducting a secondary analysis using data from the National Survey of Children’s Health to develop a novel methodology for identifying children with medical complexity. He is leading a longitudinal cohort study of parental caregivers establishing care at UPMC’s medical home for medically complex children to evaluate associations between enrollment in this clinic and families’ experiences of care coordination, health-related quality of life, and health care utilization. And finally, he is conducting a qualitative in-depth interview study to explore parental caregivers’ perspectives on what constitutes high quality care through a pediatric medical home for children with medical complexity. Through this work, Dr. Yu hopes to improve the quality of pediatric palliative care and expand access to needed services for children with medical complexity.

Dr. Yu’s work has been recognized as the 1st place award recipient at the University of Pittsburgh 2019 Health Disparities Poster Competition. He was also selected to give a platform presentation at the 2019 Pediatric Academic Society Conference.

Outside of medicine, he enjoys CrossFit and placed 23,980th in the world in the 2019 CrossFit Worldwide Open. He and his wife are the proud parents of a spoiled puppy named Wee-Bey.