Harvard Medical SchoolCenter for Palliative Care

Our Mission

The Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care (HMS CPC) aims to ease suffering and enhance the quality of care for patients and their families dealing with life-threatening and/or serious illness, through fostering leadership and supporting outstanding educational programs in palliative care. By educating future generations of physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals, the Center serves as a national and international resource for the best practices in palliative care education and practice.


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Juliet Jacobsen, MD, DPHJuliet Jacobsen, MD, DPH

Attending Physician, Division of Palliative Care and Geriatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital

Director, Harvard Interprofessional Palliative Care Fellowship

Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School


Educational and Professional Experience


BA, Psychology, University of Chicago


MD, Medicine, University of Chicago School of Medicine


Intern, Transitional, Andrews Air Force Base (AFB), MD


DPH, Public Health, University of Cambridge, England


Resident, Internal Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center


Fellow, Palliative Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)

Current Teaching and Research Interests

As a palliative medicine clinician at MGH, Dr. Jacobsen has been extensively involved with the care of dying patients and the teaching of palliative medicine to clinical fellows. She has a particular interest in how patients process prognostic information and come to terms with serious illness. This body of work hopes to identify patterns of behavior and reactions to serious news that may be confusing to clinicians, but that should be understood as within the normal range of behavior.

In addition to work with patients, Dr. Jacobsen has also explored the clinician perspective of talking with patients about serious news. She was the Principal Investigator for a quality improvement project that set about to improve how physicians and staff discussed advance care planning (ACP) with patients. Through this project, she created a cognitive framework for discussing ACP with patients and families effectively.

Dr. Jacobsen's interest in how patients process serious news and how clinicians communicate serious news has informed both her scholarship and her teaching contributions, as well as her clinical practice. Her future plans are to continue to define communication practice in a rigorous and academic manner, and to pass on this teaching to residents and fellows.