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Core Faculty

Core Faculty

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Ana-Maria Vranceanu, PhD

Associate Professor

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), formerly known as the Integrated Brain Health Clinical and Research Program (IBHCRP) 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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Dr. Tamra Keeney completed her PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at the MGH 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.

Tamra Keeney, PhD, DPT

Clinician Scientist

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 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.

Sachin Shah, MD, MPH

Physician Investigator and Assistant Professor

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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 multifaceted serious illness communication intervention (Serious Illness Care Program, SICP) that includes structured communication tools, clinician training, and systems-innovations, including patient identification strategies, interprofessional workflows, and electronic health record integration. She helped lead a cluster-randomized clinical trial of SICP in oncology and studied its impact on EHR-documented communication; patient and clinician experience; patient-reported outcomes; and healthcare utilization.  

Joanna Paladino, MD

Physician and Investigator

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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.

Lisa LaRowe, PhD

Instructor in Investigation

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Christine Ritchie, MD, MSPH is Professor of Medicine and the Kenneth L. Minaker Chair of Geriatric Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a board-certified geriatrician and palliative care physician and conducts research focused on optimizing quality of life for those with chronic serious illness and multimorbidity. She has provided geriatric and palliative care to functionally impaired, seriously ill patients with multiple co-occurring conditions and those with dementia for the past two and a half decades.

Her research focuses on patients with complex serious illness and multimorbidity and involves the assessment of patient and caregiver outcomes related to symptoms physical, cognitive and social function among older adults in multiple settings. As a clinician investigator, she has experience in informatics, mixed methods research, clinical trials and implementation science. Dr. Ritchie serves as MPI of the National Institute for Nursing Research-funded Palliative Care Research Cooperative (PCRC) and directs the PCRC Investigator Development Center. She is co-founder and co-director of the Home-based Primary Care Learning Network with co-investigator Dr. Bruce Leff.

She serves as Director of Research for the Division of Palliative Care and Geriatric Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and directs MGH Center for Aging and Serious Illness Research.

Christine S. Ritchie, MD, MSPH

Director

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Dr. Jackson is the Blum Family Endowed Chair in Palliative Care and the Chief of the Division of Palliative Care and Geriatric Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor in the Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School.  She also serves as the Co-Director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care. She was the founding Director for the Harvard Palliative Medicine Fellowship. She completed residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at The Cambridge Hospital, Harvard Medical School. She pursued training in research methods through the Harvard General Medicine Fellowship and completed a Master’s in Public Health at The Harvard School of Public Health. She completed training in palliative care at The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

 

Dr. Jackson is the Palliative Care lead investigator and mentor on numerous studies funded through NIH, NCI, and PCORI investigating the effect of early, integrated palliative care for patients with advanced cancer. In 2019, she was the recipient of the prestigious Harvard Medical School A. Clifford Barger mentoring award. She is the co-author of the book Living with Cancer: A step by step guide to coping medically and emotionally with a serious diagnosis, published by Johns Hopkins University Press and What’s in the syringe? Principles of early Integrated Palliative Care published by Oxford University Press 2022. Nationally she serves as Secretary of the Board for the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Vicki is married to a lovely endocrinologist named Phil who has a special love for the adrenal gland. She has two teenagers Hannah and Sam and a golden retriever named Millie and a very large (some might say overweight) cat named Toby. She is originally from a small town in Northern Wisconsin.

Vicki Jackson, MD, MPH

Chief of the Division of Palliative Care

Research Fellows

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Katie Fitzgerald Jones, PhD, APN, CARN-AP

Nurse Practitioner and Post Doctoral Research fellow

Katie Fitzgerald Jones, PhD, APN, CARN-AP is a Palliative and Addiction Nurse Practitioner and Post Doctoral Research fellow at the Center for Aging and Serious Illness at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Her clinical and research interests include improving pain management, quality of life, and enhancing opioid safety in individuals with cancer and substance use disorder. Her clinical experience includes working in a novel Opioid Reassessment Clinic, developing a sustainable Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner Fellowship at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, serving as the Palliative Nurse Director, and creating an innovative Palliative Care Program for older adults. Dr. Jones has been an active member of the Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care for the past ten years. In her early research career, she received funding from the Foundation of Addiction Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, and the National Institute of Nursing Research Predoctoral Fellowship Award (F31). She has authored several manuscripts and book chapters on the intersection between palliative care and substance use disorders. Dr. Jones expertise is sought nationally. She is key contributor to chronic pain, buprenorphine, and opioid safety resources for the Center to Advance Palliative Care.

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Lien Quach, MD, PhD

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Lien Quach, MD, Ph.D., is a Gerontologist and Research Scientist at the Medical Practice Evaluation Center at MGH and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Gerontology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She was born in Vietnam, she practiced geriatric medicine there for ten years before moving to the US to earn an MPH degree at Brown University and her Ph.D. in Gerontology at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. ​ Her research interests focus on the social determinants of health, specifically how social (dis)connection patterns relate to mental health, physical function, and quality of life in older adults. Her work seeks to understand the unique roles social isolation, network characteristics, and social support play in health outcomes in older adults, including people living with HIV/AIDS both in the United States and globally. She also has expertise in designing and analyzing surveys using survival analyses, generalized estimating equations, moderation, mediation analyses, network analysis, and measurement modeling.

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Darcé Costello

BIRT Fellow

​​My background is in the epidemiology of aging and applied biostatistics. I am interested in using clinical informatics methods to understand how social and cultural environments interact with biological processes to shape differences in health outcomes for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Team Members

Michelle StPaul, MA

Research Administrative Manager

Michelle StPaul is the Research Administrative Manager at Center for Aging and Serious Illness at the Mongan Institute. In this role she manages the operational and financial aspects of the center. She collaborates closely with Center leadership to support researchers and staff, manage finances, and coordinate strategic planning.

Ms. StPaul received her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis - St. Louis, Missouri. She has over a decade of experience within research training, sponsored research administration, regulatory compliance, and project management.

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James Breed, MPA

Administrative Director

James Breed is the administrative director for the Massachusetts General Hospital's Division of Palliative Care and Geriatric Medicine. He is focused on supporting the delivery of accessible high-quality healthcare for patients and their caregivers.

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Naomi Gallopyn, MS

Program Manager

Naomi Gallopyn is a Program Manager at Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) Center for Aging and Serious Illness at the Mongan Institute. In this role she manages the National Home-based Primary Care Learning Network and the Investigator Development Center of the Palliative Care Research Cooperative. Ms. Gallopyn received her Master's degree in Gerontology from the University of Massachusetts –Boston and her Bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Rhode Island. She has worked on many research projects examining home and community-based services as well as the experiences of older adults and persons with significant disability at both MGH and in her educational career. She is passionate about improving the quality of care and accessibility of care to homebound older adults with serious illness and limited resources.

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Angela Miller

Senior Data Analyst

Angela Miller is a Senior Data Analyst at the Center for Aging and Serious Illness at the Mongan Institute. In her role she provides programming, analytical, and statistical support for projects. She also co-leads the Center’s Data Core and provides mentoring and training to junior analyst.

 

Angela received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree in Health Economics from Eastern Michigan University. Her previous work focused on evaluations of Population Health Management programs in both the provider and insurance settings.

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Shanaz Sharieff, MS, MBA

Data Analyst

Shanaz Sharieff is a Data Analyst at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Aging and Serious Illness at the Mongan Institute and the Department of Palliative Care. In this role she manages the creation, maintenance, support, and innovation of databases and dashboards as well as data analytics. She received her Dual Masters of Master of Business Administration and MS in Business Analytics from Suffolk University –Boston and her Bachelor's degree in Business Management with Finance Major from one of the most well-reputed University in India. She has worked as a Teaching Assistant and Tutor at Suffolk University and enjoyed helping students, she has done multiple analytic projects using complex data sets. She is very data-driven and passionate about converting data into actionable solutions. In her free time, she loves Baking, reading, and traveling but that was before the pandemic.

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Maimouna Sy, BS

Clinical Research Coordinator

Maimouna Sy is a clinical research coordinator at the Center for Aging and Serious Illness. A recent graduate from the University of Connecticut, she received her Bachelor’s in Molecular and Cell Biology and minored in French on the pre-medical track. A Connecticut native for over 15 years, Maimouna travels to Boston with hopes of exploring the city, finding new places to run, and occasionally indulging in her guilty food pleasures. Maimouna joins the Center for Aging and Serious Illness (CASI) with past research experience in exploring cancer survivorship and improving survivors' quality of life through interventions involving mindfulness, spirituality, and coping and is eager to expand her knowledge on serious illnesses.

Aniyah Travis, BS

Clinical Research Coordinator

Aniyah Travis is a clinical research coordinator at the Center for Aging and Serious Illness. She recently graduated with a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Northeastern University and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Health. A Chicago native, her exposure to the obvious need for community improvement has motivated her to seek opportunities that will introduce skills needed to impact change within her community. Aniyah’s past research focused on aging populations and early childhood development. She is excited to apply what she has learned in past experiences to this new role while also developing new skills in a clinical setting.

Sarah Stone, BA

Clinical Research Coordinator

Sarah Stone is a clinical research coordinator at the Center for Aging and Serious Illness. Sarah is a recent graduate from Brandeis University with a B.A. in Health: Science, Society, Policy, and English. Sarah is passionate about helping vulnerable and under-represented communities access healthcare services while providing opportunities to be a part of innovative and transformative research.

 
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Kelly Hsu, BA

Clinical Research Coordinator

Kelly Hsu is a Clinical Research Coordinator with the Center for Aging & Serious Illness and the Cancer Outcomes Research and Education Program. She joined after graduating from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Neuroscience. Kelly works with Dr. Laura Petrillo on the UPLIFT study, research focusing on improving patient-physician communication regarding cancer and immunotherapy. She also works on the POISE study, a novel survivorship and palliative care intervention for patients with lung cancer on targeted therapy. She is excited to have a role within these innovative clinical trials and hopes to continue pursuing her interests in education and health outcomes research in the future.

 

Affiliated Faculty

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Linda L. Emanuel, MD, PhD

Psychoanalyst

Linda Emanuel, MD, PhD is a psychoanalyst with a general practice, working with adults and children. She has a special interest in people coping with serious illness and loss. She lives near Boston and works for the most part by videoconference with people wherever they are. Dr. Emanuel has a special interest in people coping with serious illness and loss that continues from her many years working as an academic internist in palliative medicine.

She is a member of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and a Professor Emerita of Medicine at Northwestern University’s Medical School. Dr. Emanuel was formerly Director of the Buehler Center on Aging.

CASI Alumni

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Jessica Ding was a clinical research coordinator at the Center for Aging and Serious Illness. She graduated from the Harvard and New England Conservatory dual degree program, earning her B.A. in social anthropology and her M.M. in harp performance. Besides the harp, Jessica also plays the piano (and she recently started learning a portable instrument: the acoustic guitar!). Her past research in anthropology and public health spanned topics such as integrative medicine in China, the development of tech for eldercare, and chronic illness narratives. In fall 2022, Jessica will be entering the MD/PhD program in medical anthropology at Michigan State University. She looks forward to spending more time outdoors and exploring a new state!

Jessica Ding, BA, MM

Clinical Research Coordinator (May 2021 - June 2022)

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