Life After Fellowship

Where Are They Now?

Our fellowship graduates are prepared to practice in various medical settings including urban and rural populations across the nation. 

Alumni Spotlight 

Annas Aljassem MD, MHSA
Annas Aljassem, MD, MHSA

After completing residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Beaumont Health System, Dr. Annas Aljassem graduated from our fellowship program in 2016. He is currently working in the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, leading the Functional Pain and Rehabilitation Service at Beaumont in Michigan. The service manages acute and chronic pain, addiction, end of life care,and rehabilitation issues in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. Dr. AlJassem carries multiple board certifications in the following specialties: PM&R, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Pain Medicine, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Addiction Medicine. This expertise has provided him with a broad understanding of complex symptom management in various patient populations.


Bridget Pekrul, MD

Dr. Bridget Pekrul graduated from our fellowship program in 2016. She received her medical degree from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and completed her Med-Peds residency at the University of Michigan before completing her Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship. Dr. Pekrul currently works in Baltimore, Maryland with Gilchrist Kids, a pediatric hospice program where she provides compassionate and comprehensive end-of-life care for infants, children, and young adults with life-limiting illnesses. To read more about Dr. Pekrul and her patients, please click here.


April Bigelow, PhD
April Bigelow, PhD

Dr. April Bigelow graduated from our NP-HPM Program in 2019 is an Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner who currently practices through Packard Health, a federally qualified health center. In this practice she provides patients with outpatient palliative care, advance care planning, and complex symptom management as well as primary care. In addition, Dr. Bigelow teaches in the Health Behavior and Biological Sciences Graduate Nurse Practitioner Programs. Since 2013, she has led a global clinical immersion experience in rural Thailand. Dr. Bigelow’s research focus includes the integration of palliative care practices and concepts into primary care and chronic disease management.


Tracy Hills, DO

Since 2016, Dr. Tracy Hills has been the Medical Director of Pediatric Palliative Care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Dr. Hills received her medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012. She completed a pediatrics residency at Nemours/AI duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware in June of 2015. Dr. Hill's special interests include medically complex children, palliative care in pediatric emergency rooms, sibling and family bereavement, and palliative care in the school setting.


Cynthia Chen, MD

Dr. Cynthia Chen is a Clinical Lecturer in the Department of Emergency Medicine as well as the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and medical degree from Wayne State University. Dr. Chen then completed her Emergency Medicine residency training at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Following residency, she completed her fellowship training in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Michigan Medicine. Her clinical and research interests are palliative care delivery in the ED, high stakes communication, and ED utilization at end of life. Dr. Chen divides her clinical effort between the Emergency Department and the Adult Palliative Care Consultation Service.


Katherine Recka, MD

Dr. Katherine Recka is an assistant professor of medicine (hematology and oncology) at the Medical College of Wisconsin, specializing in hospice and palliative medicine at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center. She graduated from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2006. Dr. Recka completed a residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics through the Medical College of Wisconsin and Affiliated Hospitals in 2010 and her fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at the University of Michigan in 2011. Dr. Recka is board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and has an interest in bioethics and in quality improvement. When thinking of Palliative Care, she states “Palliative Care can be an extra layer of support for any serious illness at any stage of treatment. I'm proud to be a member of a multidisciplinary team that focuses on all parts of the patient experience to improve quality of life.”