Section of Palliative Care



ENHANCE is: “Empowering Nursing Homes to Accomplish Nuanced   Communication Expertise and Goals of Care Discussions in Tennessee Long Term Care Facilities.”   

The Principal Investigator for this 3-year CMS-funded project is Dr. Sumi Misra, with Co-PI’s Drs. Ralf Habermann, Mohana Karlekar and Sandra Simmons. Residents, family members, and clinicians will learn effective communication skills with emphasis on how to conduct conversations to elicit individual resident preferences and advanced care planning.  

To learn more, visit the ENHANCE website.  


A Comparative Effectiveness of Early Integrated Telehealth versus In-Person Palliative Care for Patients with Advanced Lung Cancer. Dr. Sara Martin is the site director PI for this multicenter study. This study builds on initial work which showed significant benefit to patients with advanced NSCLC that received early in- person palliative care.   

National Cancer Institute K12 Grant  

Dr. Rajiv Agarwal, an NCI K12 scholar at Vanderbilt, aims to design palliative care interventions for patients who are participating in clinical trials and receiving investigational cancer treatment. He also plans to develop studies to improve communication, advance care planning, and symptom management for patients with gastrointestinal cancers.   

Dr. Agarwal’s 2018 ASCO Young Investigator Award grant funded a prospective study at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which he designed during his fellowship training. This trial examines the impact of proactive palliative care for patients initiating Phase I targeted and immune-based therapies across solid tumor malignancies.  


The Surgery for Cancer with Option of Palliative Care Expert (SCOPE) Trial, led by faculty member Dr. Myrick Shinall, is an NIH-funded study of the effect of specialist palliative care for patients having major surgery for cancer. This randomized, controlled trial will test whether specialist palliative care improves the quality of life and survival for these patients.