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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James A. TulskyJames A. Tulsky, MD

Chair, Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Chief, Division of Palliative Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Co-Director, Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care

Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School


Educational and Professional Experience


AB, Biology and Society, Cornell University


MD, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago


Resident, Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)


Chief Medical Resident, Internal Medicine, UCSF


Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, Clinical epidemiology/bioethics, UCSF


Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers


Award for Research Excellence from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine


George L. Engel Award from the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare


American Cancer Society Pathfinder in Palliative Care award


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital

Current Teaching and Research Interests

Dr. Tulsky has a longstanding interest in doctor-patient communication and quality of life in serious illness, and has published widely in these areas. His current research focuses on the evaluation and enhancement of communication between oncologists and patients with advanced cancer, identification of clinical, psychosocial and spiritual trajectories of patients at the end of life, development of self-management interventions for patients with life-limiting illness, and evaluating the role of palliative care in congestive heart failure. He is a Founding Director of VitalTalk (www.vitaltalk.org), a non-profit devoted to nurturing healthier connections between clinicians and patients through communication skills teaching.