Jennifer Temel, MD

Jennifer Temel, MD

Research Interests: Palliative care, symptom management, and patient-clinician communication.



Jennifer Temel MD is a 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.

Research Interests

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.


Selected Publications

  1. Temel JS, Greer JA, Muzikansky A, Gallagher ER, Admane S, Jackson VA, Dahlin CM, Blinderman CD, Jacobsen J, Pirl WF, Billings JA, Lynch TJ. Early Palliative Care for Patients with Metastatic Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer. New England Journal of Medicine 2010; 363(8) 733-742.
  2. Temel JS, Greer JA, Admane S, Gallagher ER, Jackson VA, Lynch TJ, Lennes IT, Dahlin CM, Pirl WF. Longitudinal perceptions of prognosis and goals of therapy in patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer: Results of a randomized study of early palliative care. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2011; 29(17) 2319-26.
  3. Greer JA, Pirl WF, Jackson VA, Muzikansky A, Lennes IT, Heist RS, Gallagher ER, Temel JS. Effect of Early Palliative Care on Chemotherapy Utilization and End-of-Life Care in Patients with Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2011; 30(4) 394-400.
  4. Pirl WF, Greer JA, Traeger L, Jackson V, Lennes IT, Gallagher ER, Perez-Cruz, P, Heist RS, Temel JS. Depression and Survival in Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Effects of Early Palliative Care. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2012; 30(12) 1310-15.
  5. Volandes A, Paasche-Orlow MK, Mitchell SL, El-Jawahri A, Delight Davis A, Barry MJ, Hartshorn KL, Jackson VA, Gillick MR, Walker-Corkery ES, Chang Y, Lopez L, Kemeny M, Bulone L, Mann E, Misra S, Peachey M, Abbo ED, Eichler AF, Epstein A, Noy A, Levin TT, Temel JS. Randomized Controlled Trial of a Video Decision Support Tool for CPR Decision-Making in Advanced Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2013; 31(3) 380-6.
  6. Temel JS, Greer JA, Gallagher ER, Jackson VA, Lennes IT, Muzikansky A, Park ER, Pirl WF. Electronic Prompt to Improve Outpatient Code Status Documentation for Patients with Advanced Lung Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2013; 31(6) 710-5.
  7. Yoong J, Park ER, Greer JA, Jackson VA, Gallagher ER, Pirl WF, Back AL, Temel JS. Early Palliative Care in Advanced Lung Cancer: A Qualitative Study. JAMA Internal Medicine 2013; 173(4) 283-290.
  8. Yoong J, Traeger LN, Gallagher ER, Pirl WF, Greer JA, Temel JS. A pilot study to investigate adherence to long-acting opioids among advanced lung cancer patients. Journal of Palliative Medicine 2013; 16(4) 391-6.
  9. El-Jawahri, Traeger LN, Park ER, Greer JA, Pirl WF, Lennes IT, Jackson VA, Gallagher ER, Temel JS. Associations among Prognostic Understanding, Quality of Life, and Mood in Patients with Advanced Cancer. Cancer 2014: 120(2) 278-85.
  10. Greer JA, Pirl WF, Jackson VA, Muzikansky A, Lennes IT, Gallagher ER, Prigerson HG, Temel JS. Perceptions of health status and survival in patients with metastatic lung cancer. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2014; 48(4) 465-70.
  11. Back T, Park ER, Greer JA, Jackson VA, Jacobsen JC, Gallagher ER, Temel JS. Clinician roles in early integrated palliative care for patients with advanced cancer: A qualitative study. Journal of Palliative Medicine 2104, 17(11) 1244-8.
  12. El-Jawahri AR, Traeger LN, Kuzmuk K, Eusebio JR, Vandusen HB, Shin JA, Keenan T, Gallagher ER, Greer JA, Pirl WF, Jackson VA, Ballen KK, Spitzer TR, Graubert TA, McAfee SL, Dey BR, Chen YB, Temel JS. Quality of life and mood of patients and family caregivers during hospitalization for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Cancer 2014, 121(6) 951-9.
  13. Pirl WF, Greer JA, Irwin K, Lennes IT, Jackson VA, Park ER, Fujisawa D, Wright AA, Temel JS. Processes of discontinuing chemotherapy for metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer at the end of life. Journal of Oncology Practice 2015; 11(3) 405-12.
  14. El-Jawahri AR, Abel GA, Steensma DP, LeBlanc TW, Fathi AT, Graubert TA, DeAngelo DJ, Wadleigh M, Ballen KK, Foster JE, Attar EC, Amrein PC, Brunner AM, Stone RM, Temel JS. Health care utilization and end-of-life care for older patients with acute myeloid leukemia. Cancer 2015; 121(16) 2840-8.
  15. Traeger L, McDonnell TM, McCarty CE, Greer JA, El-Jawahri A, Temel JS. Nursing intervention to enhance outpatient chemotherapy symptom management: Patient-reported outcomes of a randomized controlled trial. Cancer 2015; 212(21):3905-13.
  16. Greer JA, MacDonald JJ, Vaughn J, Viscosi E, Traeger L, McDonnell T, Pirl WF, Temel JS. Pilot Study of a Brief Behavioral Intervention for Dyspnea in Patients with Lung Cancer. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2015, in press.


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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