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Sevdenur Cizginer, MD, MPH, AGSF

Physician Investigator

Dr. Sevdenur Cizginer, MD, MPH, AGSF, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Palliative Care and Geriatric Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) in Boston, Massachusetts. She is double board-certified in Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine and serves as a physician-scientist at the Center for Aging and Serious Illness (CASI) at the Mongan Institute, HMS. She is a nationally recognized leader in geriatric surgery and collaborates with the American College of Surgeons Leadership team to implement evidence-based geriatric surgery standards throughout U.S. hospitals.Her work has garnered numerous local and national recognitions. Notably, she received the 2020 Charles C.J.Carpenter, M.D., Outstanding Physician of the Year Award at Brown University as the youngest recipient to date. Most recently, she was awarded a highly competitive “K76 Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging” from the National I nstitute on Aging. Her Beeson project focuses on the adaptation and implementation of a care transition model to improve post-discharge care for older colorectal cancer surgery patients. Utilizing qualitative and mixed methods through an implementation science approach, the project is conducted in collaboration with national research leaders. Dr. Cizginer is married, has three young children, and resides in Sharon, MA.

Tamra Keeney, PhD, DPT

Clinician Scientist,
Data Core Co-Director

Dr. Tamra Keeney completed her PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Health Professions and was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Keeney is now a faculty member at the Mongan Institute Center for Aging and Serious Illness Research and Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Keeney conducts health services research and is interested in the relationships between frailty, function, and outcomes for persons with chronic diseases. She is studying the role of palliative rehabilitation in improving quality of life for older adults with advanced heart failure. She also leads evaluation of the MGH Perioperative Surgical Care for Seniors program. Dr. Keeney is clinical lead of the Center for Aging and Serious Illness Data Core.

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Lisa LaRowe, PhD

Instructor in Investigation,
Coaching & Consulting Core Co-Director

Dr. Lisa LaRowe is a research faculty member at the Mongan Institute Center for Aging and Serious Illness and Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. LaRowe completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Syracuse University and her predoctoral clinical psychology internship in Health Psychology/Behavioral Medicine at the Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. She subsequently completed an NIA F32-funded postdoctoral fellowship in the Center for Health Promotion and Health Equity at the Brown University School of Public Health. Dr. LaRowe’s research program employs a multi-method approach to explicate mechanisms underlying health behavior change among midlife/older adults with chronic pain, and to develop tailored intervention approaches to promote adherence to healthful behaviors (e.g., substance cessation, physical activity) among this population. The ultimate goal of this work is to optimize healthy aging by reducing the burden of chronic pain (e.g., disability, comorbidity), and by improving the well-being and quality of life of aging adults with chronic pain.


Joanna Paladino, MD

Physician Investigator,
Coaching & Consulting Core Co-Director

Joanna (Jo) Paladino, MD is a palliative care physician and faculty investigator at the Mongan Institute Center for Aging and Serious Illness at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Paladino has focused her career on designing, studying, and spreading a system-level serious illness communication intervention (Serious Illness Care Program, SICP) that includes structured communication tools, clinician skills training, and systems-innovations, including EHR integration. She has partnered with health systems and national organizations to adapt, implement, and study SICP across specialties, clinical settings, and diverse patient populations. Dr. Paladino has experience with intervention design, implementation toolkit development, mixed-methods research, and implementation and delivery science. This work has contributed to a growing knowledge base about serious illness communication impact, adaptation, and implementation. Dr. Paladino serves as a co-investigator on several federally funded projects, including: SCOPE Leukemia (PCORI, El-Jawahri (PI)) and Equity in Caregiving (NINR, Tjia (PI)). She teaches courses at Harvard Medical School in communication skills, train-the-trainer, and implementation. Dr. Paladino lives with her husband and son in Boston, Massachusetts.


Laura Petrillo, MD

Physician Investigator

Laura Petrillo, MD is a palliative care physician-investigator in the Division of Palliative Care and Geriatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She completed medical school, internal medicine residency, and a palliative care fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco and a Veterans Affairs Quality Scholars fellowship at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. Dr. Petrillo's research focuses on improving palliative and supportive care for adults living with advanced cancer in the precision medicine era. She has received grants from the National Cancer Institute, the American Lung Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology Conquer Cancer Foundation, and the American Cancer Society. Dr. Petrillo is the Co-Chair of the National Lung Cancer Roundtable Survivorship Task Group and a past chair of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Early Investigator Forum


Sachin J. Shah, MD, MPH

Physician Investigator

Dr. Shah’s research helps older adults make individualized treatment decisions when they face high-stakes medical decisions like deciding to use blood thinners or undergo a medical procedure. His work helps physicians and patients make medical decisions accounting for the whole person. Dr. Shah works collaboratively with patient groups, physicians, nurses, statisticians, informaticists, economists, and epidemiologists. ​ After attending Yale Medical School, Dr. Shah completed his residency, chief residency, and research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. His research has garnered national awards from the American Heart Association and the American College of Physicians. Additionally, Dr. Shah serves as an expert advising the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service and the National Quality Forum. His research is funded by the National Institutes on Aging.


Ana-Maria Vranceanu, PhD

Director of Innovation, Intervention and Implementation

Dr. Vranceanu is a clinical health psychologist, Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, and Founding Director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Interdisciplinary Research (CHOIR) at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School (MGH/HMS). She is also the James and Elizabeth Gamble Endowed Chair Co-Director (Psychiatry) for MassGeneral Neurosciences and Co-director for Grants Consultation and Support within the Department of Psychiatry. She is an expert in mind-body and lifestyle intervention development and testing as well as in-person and live video mind-body and lifestyle modification programs, which are integrated within medical practices, hospital systems, and communities to: 1) preserve overall health, 2) promote recovery after injury or surgery, and 3) optimize management of chronic illness. She works with individuals, caregivers, and patient-caregiver dyads. Dr. Vranceanu has served as Principal Investigator (PI) for over 20 research grants and has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles. She is currently PI on several federally funded projects including: Active Brains Digital (NIA R01); Doorstep (NCCIH 34 with Cale Jacobs); Resilient Youth with Neurofibromatosis (DoD R01); Resiliency in Adults with Neurofibromatosis (DoD Ro1); Recovering Together (NINR R01); and Toolkit for Optimal Recovery (NCCIH R01). Dr. Vranceanu has a mid-career mentoring award (NCCIH K24) focused on mentoring interdisciplinary trainees at MGH and nationally. Dr. Vranceanu actively mentors clinical psychology interns as part of the CHOIR Track of the MGH Internship in Clinical Psychology as well as postdoctoral fellows, medical residents, and junior faculty members. She developed and runs a “K club” that includes 15 mentees from various disciplines who are either K awardees or in the process of preparing or submitting K awards. In her free time, she enjoys running, swimming, and spending time with her family and friends.

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