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.

Faculty

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Christy UllrichChristina K. Ullrich, MD, MPH, FAAHPM

Senior Physician, Pediatric Palliative Care and Pediatric Hematology Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI)

Attending Physician, Boston Children's Hospital (BCH)

Assistant Professor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Educational and Professional Experience

1990-1994

AB Dartmouth College

1997-2001

MD, Harvard Medical School

2001-2004

Resident in Pediatrics, Children's Hospital Boston

2004-2007

Fellow in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, DFCI/BCH

2005-2007

Fellow in Pediatric Palliative Care, DFCI/BCH

2005-2007

Fellow in Harvard Pediatric Health Services Research Program

Current Teaching and Research Interests

Board Certified in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Dr. Ullrich's interests center around improving the care of seriously ill children. Early on, she realized that children who undergo hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), intensive therapy delivered with curative intent, are at high risk for physical and psychological suffering. Her main career aim has since been to optimize the wellbeing of children who undergo HSCT by integrating the principles of pediatric palliative care (PPC) into the care of children undergoing HSCT through a variety of clinical, educational and research undertakings. For example, she developed the first guidelines prompting automatic palliative care consultation for pediatric HSCT patients. Beyond her local efforts, she is a member of the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) Steering Committee for Palliative Care and Co-chairs the ASBMT/National Marrow Donor Program Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Initiative's Physical Health and Fatigue Working Group.

Dr. Ullrich's research agenda is aimed at developing global interventions to ease distress in children undergoing HSCT. She has written some of the first papers on this topic (adult or pediatric), including one that demonstrated that HSCT is associated with significant suffering and little opportunity for end of life preparation and another that described end of life outcomes associated with palliative care consultation. She is currently investigating symptom and health-related quality of life data from children as they progress through transplant. Dr. Ullrich's research in this vein has been supported by a K23 Career Development Award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood institute.

Cancer-related fatigue is another area of interest. Through this research she aims to elucidate determinants of suffering from fatigue and to develop and evaluate of strategies to reduce distress from fatigue. For these efforts she has received two Paper Awards as well as the Young Investigator Award from the AAHPM.

As a physician spanning the realms of PPC and HSCT, she has focused her career on integrating these fields with the ultimate goal of ameliorating suffering in children who undergo HSCT. Whether through expertise and innovation, teaching and education, or research, she finds it to always be a privilege to contribute to the care of such children and their families and cannot imagine more rewarding or fulfilling work.