Current Fellows

Cambia PCCE Research Fellows






































































Nancy Lau, MA, PhD, joins us from Harvard University where she completed her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.


Dr. Lau’s research broadly focuses on palliative care in pediatric cancer populations.  Specifically, she is interested in family-based models of resilience and treatment moderators and mediators of the Promoting Resilience in Stress Management (PRISM) psychosocial intervention for adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer and their caregivers.  She is mentored by Dr. Abby Rosenberg and Dr. Elizabeth McCauley at the University of Washington School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and the Seattle Children’s Research Institute.


“Although advances in pediatric cancer care provide state of the art biomedical treatment, psychosocial health outcomes have remained largely ignored. I aim to address this important gap in the field by conducting research on the development and dissemination of psychosocial treatments for young cancer survivors.”

Robert “Bob” Y. Lee, MD, completed a 1 year post-doctoral T32 fellowship at the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence in 2018.  Prior to his fellowship, Dr. Lee completed medical school at the University of Colorado and internal medicine residency at the University of California San Francisco. He is currently completing his is fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Washington.


Dr. Lee’s research focuses on long-term psychological symptoms in survivors of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and their families, and the mechanisms of goal-discordant care in patients with acute respiratory failure.  At the completion of his T32 fellowship, Dr. Lee was awarded a 2-year individual National Research Service Award (F32) from NHLBI to study the etiologies and risk factors for receipt of POLST-discordant intensive care near the end of life. He is mentored by Dr. Erin Kross and Dr. J. Randall Curtis.


Dr. Lee is currently a Senior Fellow in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at the University of Washington.

Cara McDermott, PharmD, MSc, PhD, is part of the Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy Program (PORPP) at the University of Washington.


Dr. McDermott’s research focuses on health economics and health services research.  She is working with Scott Ramsey, MD, PhD, Director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research (HICOR).


“My future research plans are to explore predictors and patterns of care for multi-morbidity patients with chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, dementia and depression, with particular attention paid to palliative and end-of-life care.”


Recent Fellows

Jill Steiner, MD, is a senior fellow in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Washington.


Dr. Steiner’s research focuses on perceptions and implementation of palliative and end-of-life care in adults with congenital heart disease.  She is mentored by Dr. James Kirkpatrick and Dr. J. Randall Curtis.


“Adult congenital heart disease refers to the care of a growing, heterogenous group of patients whose needs are largely unknown.  Our ability to care for these patients is limited not only by anatomy and physiology, but also by our lack of understanding of their needs as they cope with challenges posed by their disease.  By understanding the current state of palliative care services in this population, including barriers to and predictors of use, we will be able to improve the availability of services as well as patient outcomes.”


Crystal Brown, MD, MA, completed a 1-year post-doctoral T32 fellowship at the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence in 2016.  She previously had completed a fellowship in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at the University of Washington.


Her research interests center around empirical bioethics questions that pertain to justice in health and healthcare disparities, particularly around chronic lung disease and palliative and end-of-life care. A recent research project examined the role of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and healthcare intensity at the end of life in patients receiving care within the UW Medicine system. Currently, through a project funded through the Palliative Care Research Cooperative, Dr. Brown is studying perspectives on palliative care and advance care planning in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Additionally, she is interested in understanding the role of ethics consultations in clinical decision-making, particularly for patients from underserved and marginalized groups.


During her fellowship, Dr. Brown was selected as a 2016 AAHPM Research Scholar.  She is currently a Clinical Instructor in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at the University of Washington and serves as an ethics consultant at Harborview Medical Center.

Heather Coats, PhD, MS, APRN-BC, completed a 2 year post-doctoral T32 fellowship at the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence in 2017.  As a Palliative Care Adult Nurse Practitioner, Dr. Coats joined us with over 18 years of clinical experience in palliative, oncology and hospice care. Prior to her fellowship, she received her PhD at the University of Arizona College of Nursing.


Her research interests are focused on improving psychological-social-spiritual well-being through the development of narrative interventions with minorities living with life-limiting illnesses. During her fellowship she continued to build upon her research interests of narrative interventions and was awarded an NIH/NINR Pathway to Independence Award (Parent K99/R00) for her research project titled:  Personalized Experiences: to inform improved communication for Minorities with Life Limiting Illness. This research project focuses on assessing the feasibility and efficacy of a storytelling intervention incorporated into the electronic health records, with the primary outcome to improve communication between patients who have serious illnesses and the providers that care for them.


During her fellowship, Dr. Coats continued building her publication record by completing 5 first author and 3 second author publications.  She was selected as a 2017 AAHPM/HPNA Research Scholar and was invited to serve as one of the plenary speakers at the annual AAHPM/HPNA State of the Science Session for the next three national assemblies.


Dr. Coats is currently an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Colorado.

Anna Halpern, MD, joins us having completed her fellowship in Hematology-Oncology at the University of Washington.  She is currently a senior fellow and acting instructor in the Hematology Division and a member of the Clinical Research Division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Fred Hutch).


Dr. Halpern’s research is focused on novel approaches to the care of patients with hematologic malignancies. During her palliative care research fellowship, she will focus on investigational questions that, as an overarching theme, aim to improve the outcomes and quality of life of adults with hematologic malignancies via the development and testing of evidence-based and cost-effective therapies that are tailored to individual patients. As part of this goal, she will trial interventions that shift some of the inpatient-heavy care of these patients to the outpatient setting, and evaluate how this shift affects patient and caregiver well-being, as well as healthcare resource utilization. She is mentored by Dr. Roland Walter at the Fred Hutch and Dr. Gary Lyman at the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research (HICOR).


“Although much of the focus in treating patient with hematologic malignancies is on improving response rates to therapy and lengthening survival, given how much time these patients spend interacting with the medical system, and the fact that some of these illnesses are life-limiting, I think it’s important to study this interaction and test innovative strategies that attempt to improve the quality of life for these patients and their dedicated caregivers.”


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