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Research at Mass General
Jennifer Temel MD is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Clinical Director of Thoracic Oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Director of Cancer Outcomes Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and co-leader of the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Outcomes Research Program. Dr. Temel’s research focuses on optimizing palliative and supportive care for patients with cancer and their families. Her major research interest includes the study of early, integrated palliative care for patients with advanced cancers.
Dr. Temel’s research focuses on palliative care, symptom management, and patient-clinician communication. She has studied novel care models of providing palliative care to patients with advanced cancer, including the early involvement of palliative care in the ambulatory care setting. Dr. Temel’s paradigm changing research in this area was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. As a thoracic oncologist, she has a longstanding interest in improving both physical and psychological symptom in patients with lung and esophageal cancer. She has conducted numerous trials aimed at improving physical function, fatigue, quality of life, mood, and shortness of breath in patients with advanced cancer.
Dr. Temel is also interested in enhancing patient-clinician communication about the goals of cancer treatment and patients’ preferences for care at the end of life. She has conducted several trials focused on improving patients’ understanding of their prognosis and patient-clinician communication about end of life care.
Her future goals are to continue to develop innovative interventions to improve communication between patients and their families and their oncology clinicians. Dr. Temel is also interested in mentoring students, trainees, and junior faculty and has two National Cancer Institute grants to support her efforts training others in palliative care and supportive care research.
A landmark study on the integration of palliative care during early onset of a cancer diagnosis was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Here, lead authors Jennifer Temel, MD, and Vicki Jackson, MD, MPH discuss palliative care and the impressive study findings which showed patients experienced a better quality of life and actually lived longer than patients not receiving the same level of care at an early stage. Jim Windhorst, a stage IV, lung cancer patient describes how palliative care has helped him cope with his illness.
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