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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Jane deLima Thomas, MD FAAHPMJane deLima Thomas, MD FAAHPM

Director, Inpatient Palliative Care, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women's Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center

Associate Director, Harvard Interprofessional Palliative Care Fellowship

Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Educational and Professional Experience


BS in Biology, Northeastern University


MD, University of Massachusetts Medical School


Internal Medicine Primary Care Residency, Yale University


Geriatrics Fellowship, Yale University


Palliative Care Fellowship, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


Attending Physician, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Current Teaching and Research Interests

Dr. Thomas's academic focus is teaching clinician self-awareness in communicating with patients, families, other clinicians, and learners. She teaches medical students, residents, fellows, and CME audiences about communications skills such as breaking bad news, having goals of care discussions, leading conflictual family meetings, and managing patient requests for hastened death. Additionally, she has taught nationally about mindfulness of emotion in the clinical encounter, the role of hope in palliative care, and clinician self-care. Her publications include giving feedback to learners, interprofessional communication in palliative care, managing misunderstandings about prognosis, and self-care for clinicians caring for patients with advanced cancer.

Her teaching has roots in her clinical practice as a palliative care physician; the desire to teach others to be effective, empathic communicators springs from her own deep pleasure when she can achieve that with her patients. At BWH she attends on the consult service and the Intensive Palliative Care Unit; in both settings she precepts learners at all levels of training. As a result of her efforts as a clinician, teacher, and administrator, she was awarded the 2013 Cunniff-Dixon Physician Award, which is given to five US physicians annually for leadership in advancing the art of end-of-life care.