Autumn leaves

As our population ages and more people are living with chronic disease, the need for effective palliative care will only increase. It is one of our core missions to advance knowledge in the field of palliative medicine, by fostering new and cutting-edge research opportunities. Division faculty, together with the U-M Adult Palliative Medicine Program, focus on a diverse range of research interests, and study all the different aspects of treating serious illness.

Palliative Care Research Program at the University of Michigan

Mission: The mission of the PCRP is to improve care for patients with serious illness and their families by promoting palliative care research. In partnership with the Palliative Care Clinical Services at the VA and University of Michigan aim to rapidly translate these findings into clinical practice.

Specifically, the PCRP aims to provide a mechanism to:

  • Establish institutional priorities for palliative care research;
  • Develop a new generation of researchers in palliative care;
  • Coordinate and support studies focused on improving care for patients living with serious illness and their family caregivers.

Current Status of Palliative Care Research at the University of Michigan

Summary: The University of Michigan offers a vibrant environment for investigators interested in palliative care research. Current palliative care research falls into three domains: 1) clinical trials to enhance symptom management of patients with serious illness and reduce the burden upon their caregivers, 2) health services research into the efficacy of advance directives and determinants of quality of life, and 3) studies to assess the needs of learners and the outcomes of palliative care education. Key strengths of the UM include: 1) pre-existing data collection tools and systems to support clinical trials in palliative care, 2) pre-existing clinical and survey datasets for secondary data analyses, and 3) broad experience across the Schools of Nursing and Medicine, as well as across departments. Much of the research in palliative care remains unfunded or funded with “soft” monies.

Central coordination of palliative care research would foster cross-disciplinary collaboration and provide access to local resources for conducting research, in turn, increasing the fundability of this talented pool of investigators. Here is a brief list of investigators whose current work directly relates to or touches upon palliative care.