Palliative Care and Aging Research Training (T32)

We’re currently accepting applications by October 1, to begin positions in the  summer of 2022.

Please provide the following:

T32 components

Application form​​ (PDF)

Letter of Interest

NIH format Biosketch with personal statement (CV or resume accepted)

3 Letters of recommendation

3-page Goals Statement

3-page Project Description

Please refer to the T32 Flyer for more information.

Send or email your materials to:

Agata Hardin
General Internal Medicine
Department of Medicine

Academic Office 1, room 8411
12631 E 17th Ave, Mail Stop B180
Aurora, CO  80045
Phone: (303) 724-2261
Fax: (303) 724-2270
agata.hardin@cuanschutz.edu

Dr. Jean Kutner​ directs this T32-supported research training program. Dr. Kutner is a Professor of Medicine in the Divisions of GIM and Geriatrics and was, until July 1, 2014, Head of the Division of GIM. She has been​​ developing aging research at the University of Colorado since her research and geriatric fellowship training (1994-1997), joining the UCSOM faculty in 1997. She is contact principal investigator for the NINR-funded Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group (PCRC). Her career demonstrates a commitment to: 1) enhancing the evidence base to improve care for older adults with serious illness; 2) mentoring others interested in aging and palliative care research; and 3) developing research, clinical and educational programs and infrastructure aimed at improving care for older persons with serious illness. Dr. Kutner has established a highly successful aging-focused research program addressing fundamental issues in the care of persons with advanced illness, increasing capacity for aging-related research locally and nationally.

Dr. Stacy Fischer Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of GIM, DOM, UCSOM. Dr. Fischer has been conducting palliative care research for over 15 years with a focus on underserved populations. She developed and tested a culturally tailored patient navigator intervention designed to improve palliative care outcomes for Latinos with cancer, conducting a multi-site study across the state of Colorado, representing urban, rural, and mountain communities. Currently, she is completing an RCT of the intervention in patients with advanced non-cancer medical illness and through a Supplement, in persons with AD/RD. She has received funding from the National Institute of Aging Research (NIA), American Cancer Society (ACS), and National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). She received pilot grant funding from the National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC). She is involved as a Co-I and Site PI for numerous national multi-site trials through her work with the PCRC and is the Director for Site Engagement for the PCRC. She has also recently joined the leadership team of the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Cancer Control and Prevention Program. Dr. Fischer is also a successful mentor, having mentored a Harold Amos Career Development Awardee, and current ACS CDA and NPCRC CDA awardees. She is mentoring current T32 awardee Dr. Bennett and Affiliated Faculty Drs. Kessler and Singh. As a Director and program faculty, Dr. Fischer mentors T32 trainees interested in palliative care in underserved populations. 

Dr. David Bekelman, Professor of Medicine in the Division of GIM, DOM, UCSOM is a T32 co-director and program faculty. Dr. Bekelman’s research aims to improve quality of life in adults with chronic and advanced illnesses. He is a practicing palliative care physician who is a board-certified internist and psychiatrist. His current research tests ways to integrate palliative and psychosocial care into the ongoing care of people with heart failure and lung diseases.  He has experience with patient-oriented research and behavioral/health services intervention trials. He has also investigated spirituality and informal caregiving in chronic illness. He is currently PI on two VA Merit Review awards (R01 equivalents).  One is a multisite clinical trial of early, primary palliative care in COPD and heart failure (HSR&D IIR 14-346). The other uses a clinician-level Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Trial (SMART) to determine the effectiveness of clinician and patient implementation strategies to improve the occurrence of documented goals of care conversations in Veterans with serious medical illness (HSR&D IIR 14-346). Dr. Bekelman is highly regarded as a mentor, receiving the UCSOM Dean’s Master’s Mentoring Award in 2017 and the GIM Best Mentor Award in 2020.​

Dr. Hillary Lum, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Geriatric Medicine, DOM, UCSOM. Dr. Lum is a primary care geriatrician and palliative care physician researcher. Her program of research focuses on improving care for older adults with serious illness, especially persons living with dementia and their family care partners. She has used designing for dissemination approaches to develop, refine and test novel advance care planning interventions such as an Advance Care Planning Group Visit Model and patient portal-based advance care planning tools. She has received funding from the National Institute on Aging, National Palliative Care Research Center, Palliative Care Research Cooperative, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. She has experience with stakeholder engagement, intervention development and clinical trials, outcomes research, and mixed methods and implementation science. She is currently PI on an NIA R01 to test the efficacy of a multisite clinical trial of the ACP Group Visits intervention for older adults. Dr. Lum is primary mentor for current T32 awardee Dr. Macchi and is Co-Director of the University of Colorado CCTSI’s Clinical Faculty Scholars Program where she mentors four junior faculty health services researchers each year. As a co-director and program faculty for the T32, Dr. Lum mentors T32 trainees interested in dementia, advance care planning, and conducting pragmatic palliative care research.​

Program Faculty

Name Degree(s) Academic Affiliation Research Expertise T32 Faculty Collaborators T32 awardees supporting
F. Amos Bailey
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/8154365
MD GIM, DOM, UCSOM Palliative care health services research Candrian
Fink
Bickel
Portz
Reed
Elizabeth Bayliss
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/226825
MD, MSPH Kaiser Institute for Health Research Studying and improving the delivery of patient-centered care for persons with multiple medical conditions Candrian
Fairclough
Portz
David Bekelman
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/227008
MD, MPH GIM, DOM, UCSOM & VA Improving quality of life in adults with chronic and advanced illnesses Fairclough
Fischer
Kutner
Kluger
Lum
Matlock
Meek
Bickel
Portz
Siler
Rebecca Boxer
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/4077771
MD, MS Geriatrics, DOM, UCSOM
Kaiser
Palliation of those with advanced cardiovascular disease Bull
Fairclough
Lum
Meek
Portz
Plys
Sheana Bull
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224434
PhD, MPH CSPH, UC-AMC Testing and determining the efficacy of interventions for health promotion using mobile and social media technologies Boxer Portz
Eric Campbell
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/19514733
PhD GIM, DOM, UCSOM Survey research methodology; ethical frameworks in research    
Myles Cockburn
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/12650030
PhD CSPH, UC-AMC Epidemiology, cancer-related research    
Diane Fairclough
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224164
DrPH CSPH, UC-AMC Advanced statistical methods Allen
Bayliss
Bekelman
Boxer
Colborn
Kessler
Kluger
Kutner
Laudenslager
Matlock
Meek
 
Stacy Fischer
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224790
MD GIM, DOM, UCSOM Palliative care in underserved populations Bekelman
Fink
Kessler
Kutner
Lefkowits
Matlock
Singh
Siler
R. Mark Gritz
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/3353663
PhD HCPR, DOM, UCSOM Economic analyses; Implementation costs and return on investment of interventions Kluger
Kutner
Schilling
 
Benzi Kluger
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224721
MD Dept of Neurology, UCSOM Neuropalliative care Bekelman
Fairclough
Kutner
Lum
 
Jean Kutner
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224405
MD, MSPH GIM, DOM, UCSOM Palliative care clinical studies, caregivers, medication deprescribing Allen
Bekelman
Candrian
Colborn
Fairclough
Fink
Fischer
Gritz
Kessler
Kluger
Laudenslager
Levy
Lum
Matlock
O’Bryant
Schilling
Wynia
Amoyal Pensak
Bickel
Plys
Portz
Reed
Sannes
Siler
Mark Laudenslager
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/230526
PhD Dept of Psychiatry Psychosocial interventions for distressed caregivers Fairclough
Kutner
Sannes
Amoyal Pensak
Cari Levy
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224675
MD, PhD Geriatrics, DOM, UCSOM & VA Quality of life at the end of life in nursing homes; quality of care in non-institutional care settings Albright
Kutner
Lum
Bickel
Kevin Masters
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/230471
PhD Dept of Health Psychology, UCD Religiousness, spirituality, behavioral medicine Allen
Bekelman
Matlock
 
Dan Matlock
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224504
MD, MPH Geriatrics, DOM, UCSOM Communication and decision making; implementation science Allen
Bekelman
Candrian
Fairclough
Fischer
Kutner
Lum
McIlvennan
Sannes
Wells Messersmith
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/225824
MD Oncology, DOM, UCSOM Palliative care for older adults with gastrointestinal malignancies Kessler
O’Bryant
 
Lisa Schilling
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/224574
MD, MPH GIM, DOM, UCSOM Health services research, clinical and research informatics that support improvements in health outcomes and health care value Fairclough
Gritz
Kutner
Wynia
Reed
Matthew Wynia
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/5516545
MD, MPH GIM, DOM, UCSOM Patient and physician engagement, stakeholder-driven research, and medical ethics Glover
Kutner
Schilling
 

 

Affiliated Faculty

Name Degree(s) Academic Affiliation Research Expertise T32 Faculty Collaborators T32 awardees supporting
Larry Allen
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/226050
MD, MHS Cardiology, DOM, UCSOM Aging, palliative care and cardiovascular disease Bekelman
Colborn
Fairclough
Kutner
Lum
Matlock
Masters
McIlvennan
 
Joanna Arch
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/226493
PhD Department of Psychology, UC-Boulder Anxiety and depression among patients with metastatic cancer Kutner Plys
Ben Brewer
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/226749
PsyD Hematology & Hematologic Malignancies, DOM, UCSOM Palliative interventions in stem cell transplant patients and their caregivers Kolva
Sannes
Amoyal Pensak
Carey Candrian
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/231383
PhD GIM, DOM, UCSOM Communication and decision making in the context of hospice and palliative care Kutner
Lum
Matlock
 
Heather Coats
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/14824293
PhD, MS CON, UC-AMC Patient-centered communication interventions to optimize quality of life for minority patients with life limiting illness    
Kathryn Colborn
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/11763981
PhD CSPH, UC-AMC Advanced statistical methods Allen
Fairclough
Kutner
Lum
Reed
Regina Fink
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/227649
PhD, MS CON and GIM, DOM, UCSOM, UC-AMC Interventions to improve palliative care for underserved patients with serious illness Bailey
Fischer
Kutner
 
Elizabeth Kessler
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/2769063
MD Oncology, DOM, UCSOM Impact of cancer treatment on function & how to best assess and intervene to support patients and caregivers Fairclough
Fischer
Kutner
Laudenslager
Messersmith
O’Bryant
 
Elissa Kolva
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/11660606
PhD Hematology & Hematologic Malignancies, DOM, UCSOM Improving assessment and treatment of psychological distress in patients with serious illness Brewer  
Carolyn Lefkowits
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/11764061
MD, MS Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UCSOM Intersection between surgical oncology and palliative care Fischer  
Hillary Lum
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/229860
MD, PhD Geriatrics, DOM, UCSOM & VA Developing and implementing novel advance care planning interventions for older adults into healthcare system and community-based settings Allen
Bekelman
Boxer
Candrian
Colborn
Kutner
Levy
Matlock
 
Colleen McIlvennan
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/226349
PhD, DNP, MS Cardiology, DOM, UCSOM Patients with end-stage heart failure who are considering a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) Allen
Matlock
 
Paula Meek
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/230260
PhD, MS CON, UC-AMC Symptom monitoring, appraisal, treatment, and management Bekelman
Boxer
Fairclough
 
Jenny Portz
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/12707707
PhD GIM, DOM, UC-SOM Heart failure, m-health, symptoms Boxer
Bekelman
 
Cindy O’Bryant
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/227521
PharmD School of Pharmacy, UC-AMC Geriatric oncology Kessler
Kutner
Messersmith
 
Tim Sannes
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/4077826
PhD Hematology & Hematologic Malignancies, DOM, UCSOM Strategies to better support patients and their caregivers facing serious illness Brewer
Laudenslager
Matlock
 
Sarguni Singh
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/11589600
MD Hospital Medicine, DOM, UCSOM Identifying cancer patients at highest risk for poor outcomes after discharge from the acute care setting to a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Fischer  

 

Advisors

Name Degree(s) Academic Affiliation Research Expertise T32 Faculty Collaborators T32 awardees supporting
Jackie Glover
https://profiles.ucdenver.edu/display/225204
PhD Department of Pediatrics, UCSOM Responsible conduct of research Wynia  

 

CCTSI Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
CON College of Nursing
CSPH Colorado School of Public Health
DOM Department of Medicine
GIM General Internal Medicine
PCRC Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group
UC-AMC University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
UCSOM University of Colorado School of Medicine
VA Veterans Affairs Medical Center


C. Robert Bennett PhD, CPNP-AC (2021-2023); Dr. Bennett’s research focuses on the lived experiences of aging young adults who have survived cancer during childhood and are experiencing a secondary cancer as an adult. His research applies descriptive methods, grounded in the Relational Caring Inquiry and Husserlian Phenomenology. Dr. Bennett’s goal as a Palliative Care researcher is to investigate the concept of hope, the impact of hope, and the transitions of hope for aging young adults as a means for decreasing psychological, spiritual, and existential suffering in this population. His long-term goals are to develop future interventions that sustain hope for aging young adults across their lifespan. 

Korijna Valenti PhD, MS, MPW (2021-2023); Dr. Valenti’s research focuses on geriatric palliative care for underserved populations by developing interventions that can be used to improve the goals, emotional trajectory, and relationship quality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) older adult patients, and to improve patient-dyad outcomes. To achieve this goal, Dr. Valenti’s current research examines communication approaches and their impact on a) palliative care practitioners’ (PCPs) utilization of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data; b) PCPs experiences with LGBT older adult patients (individually and as a dyad); and c) LGBT older adult patient and dyad knowledge of palliative care and their experiences around palliative care communication.

Zachary A. Macchi, MD (2020-2022); Dr. Macchi is a behavioral neurologist from the University of Colorado Anschutz where he also completed his residency in neurology and subspeciality training. His research uses qualitative and quantitative approaches to understand factors which affect caregivers of patients living with Parkinson’s disease, looking at determinants of caregiver burden while also examining patient behaviors that affect patient and caregiver outcomes, like aggression and agitation.

Katherine Doyon, PhD, RN (2019-2021); Dr.Doyon’s mission is to design innovative methods to assess and improve communication between clinicians and patients with serious illness. To achieve this goal, her current work is focused on a communication coaching intervention designed to improve nurse perceived self-efficacy in spiritual communication and African American patients with heart failure.

Shauna Siler, PhD ​(2018-2020); The focus of Dr. Siler’s research is on integrating spiritual care into palliative care and implementation of community-based palliative care interventions for minority populations.​

Evan Plys, PhD​ (2018-2020); The focus of Dr. Plys’ research is on quality of life of older adults with physical and/or cognitive limitations due to serious illness in residential care settings.​

Kathleen Bickel, MD, MPhil, MS​, (2017-2019); Dr. Bickel is examining the hypothesis that patients with a diagnosis of PTSD are more likely to have increased acute health care utilization at the end-of-life, using a retrospective cohort study of chronically ill Veterans receiving VA health care benefits dying between 2010-2015. Using multivariate regression, Dr. Bickel will determine if PTSD is associated with increased end-of-life health care utilization. Dr. Bickel also hypothesizes that the effect of PTSD on end-of-life will vary depending on the primary chronic illness, it will be important to accurately characterize a veteran’s primary chronic illness at time of death. These findings will provide baseline information about the scope of this problem so that appropriate interventions can be developed.

​Sean M. Reed, PhD, APN, ACNS-BC, ACHPN,​ (2017-2019); The focus of Dr. Reed’s research is on the design and testing of economic and predictive models aimed to improve the delivery of care for the seriously ill.​

Jennifer Dickman Portz, PhD, MSW, (2016-2018); Dr. Portz’s mission is to advance social work research in geriatric palliative care by developing digital health interventions that can be used by older adults with advanced illnesses, their caregivers, and family to effectively improve patient-family centered outcomes. To achieve this goal, her current research is focused in three related areas: 1) identification of outcomes and needs important to patients with chronic disease and adva​nced illness 2) creation, study, and dissemination of digital health for older adult users, and 3) chronic disease self-management.​​

Nicole Amoyal Pensak, PhD (2015- 2016); Dr. Amoyal Pensak’s research focuses on improving distress management in patients and caregivers of adults with serious illnesses.​

Tim Sannes, PhD​ (2015- 2017); ​Dr. Sannes’ research aims to develop new and improved support mechanisms for patients and their family members facing serious illness. Specifically, he seeks to determine if stress marker data can be translated into meaningful strategies for patients and their caregivers and investigate if emerging biomarker data influences decision-making and behavior.​

 

Goals and Objectives Curriculum

All T32-funded trainees will be postdoctoral physician scientists or PhD scientists who have indicated substantial interests in learning translational or clinical research that is relevant to aging and palliative care.  Upon completion of the program, the trainees will be expected to have mastered basic technical aspects of research and to have progressed to an independent stage of developing their own ideas and projects.

Curriculum: Personalized Formal Research Training

Coursework: As a T32 trainee, you will be required to take the following courses or equivalent (or demonstrate equivalent prior training):

Course Name (all courses are semester long) Course number Credits (total 15)
Applied Biostatistics I and II BIOS 6601 and 6602 3 credits each
Design of Clinical Trials and Experiments CLSC 6648 3 credits
Introduction to Health Information Technology CLSC 6800 3 credits
Scientific Writing (grants & manuscripts) CLSC 7101 and 7102 1 credit each
Critical Appraisal Seminars in Clinical Science CLSC 6270 1 credit

As required by the NIH, you must complete 8 hours of training in the responsible conduct of research.  This requirement may be fulfilled by taking the CLSC courses 7150 (Ethics) and 7151 (Responsible Conduct of Human Research), the PHCL course 7605 (Ethics in Research) or the BIOS course 7605 (Ethics: Computational Bioscience Research) or via the seminar series offered by University of Colorado Clinical research Support Center https://research.cuanschutz.edu/regulatory-compliance/home/research-integrity/responsible-conduct-of-research-training .  This requirement must be completed in Year 1 of the award.​

Additional courses will be selected from the CLSC catalogue by the trainee and his or her mentor(s) to best fit the future research goals of the trainee.  The course work plan will be part of the required Career Development Plan (CDP).  T32 trainees will have the option of completing the requirements for award of a Master's degree in Clinical Investigation.

 

Minimum Expectations for ALL T32 Trainees

 

  • Attend other relevant conferences (e.g. University of Colorado Palliative Care Conference (UC-PCC), Geriatrics Grand Rounds).
  • Present research to a topic-relevant research seminar (as agreed to with mentors) at least once per year.
  • Develop and conduct at least 1 research project with their mentor(s), including agreed upon timelines and productivity benchmarks as part of a written Individual Career Development Plan.
  • Participate in weekly meetings with primary mentor (or senior/junior mentorship dyad) and with entire Mentorship Committee (at least twice yearly).
  • Present at Palliative Care Journal Club as assigned and at the UC-PCC at least twice each year.
  • Completion of required courses and other didactic training as determined by the needs assessment delineated in the Individualized Career Development Plan.
  • Submission of required review materials to document progress (twice yearly).
  • Presentation of abstracts at relevant national professional meetings (submit 2 abstracts per award year).
  • Publication of peer-reviewed manuscripts (submit 3 manuscripts per award year).
  • Application for pilot grant funding (internal or external) during year 1.
  • Submission of an individual research career development award application prior to completion of the T32 training period.
  • Maintain contact with the T32 following training for collection of data on presentations, publications, grants, degrees and academic positions.​

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