Friday, March 25, 2011

New chief of Palliative Care


VICKI JACKSON, MD, MPH, has been appointed chief of the MGH Palliative Care Unit. Jackson succeeds J. Andrew Billings, MD, who founded the Palliative Care Unit in 1996 and was its first director. Jackson previously served as acting chief and associate director of the unit.

“Vicki has brought a great deal of expertise, insight, vision and energy to the unit as associate director and will undoubtedly continue to do so as chief,” says Dennis Ausiello, MD, chief of the MGH Department of Medicine.

“We are delighted to have Vicki in this new role.” Jackson joined the staff of the MGH in 2002. She received a medical degree from University of Wisconsin Medical School and completed a residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at Cambridge Hospital in Cambridge, Mass. Jackson then completed research training with a Harvard General Medicine Fellowship, during which time she received a master’s degree in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. She also completed training in Pain and Palliative Care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and BWH. Recently she has pursued further study in medical education through both the Rabkin and HMS Academy Education fellowships.

Much of Jackson’s career has focused on developing and teaching palliative medicine curricula – educating physicians on the benefits of palliative care and how to best communicate palliative care options to patients. She is former director of the Harvard Palliative Medicine Fellowship, considered to be one of the premier training programs in the country, and she currently serves as co-chair for the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine's Leadership, Education and Academic Development Program. Jackson also co-edits a series for clinician-educators in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

Jackson’s focus on the importance of palliative care for oncology patients most recently resulted in co-authorship of an influential study published in the Aug. 19, 2010 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study demonstrated that the integration of palliative care early in the care of patients with metastatic nonsmall cell lung cancer was associated with improved quality of life, lower rates of depression and prolonged survival.

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