Core Faculty

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Christine S. Ritchie, MD, MSPH

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.

Director

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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

Team Members

Naomi Gallopyn, MS

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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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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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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.

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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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Affiliate Faculty

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Lien Quach, MD, PhD

Research Scientist

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.

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)