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Talks at Twelve: Emily Chen and Catherine Riffin, Thursday, May 15, 2014

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Priority Research Areas in Palliative Care: Findings from a Mixed Method, Multi-Stakeholder Research Project
Emily Chen and Catherine Riffin, Human Development, Cornell University

Thursday, May 15, 2014
12:00-1:00 PM
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room

This talk is open to all. Lunch will be served. Metered parking is available at the Plantations.

In March 2012, an interdisciplinary team from Cornell’s Department of Human Development and the Division of Geriatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College initiated a project to produce a research agenda for palliative care that integrated both researcher and practitioner perspectives, in order to advance clinical practice and ignite investigation of critical research gaps. In this presentation, Chen and Riffin will report on the three inter-related activities that informed the research agenda: 1) a systematic review of the literature with a specific focus on identifying knowledge gaps from review articles on the topic of palliative or end-of-life care, 2) a survey of thought leaders in the field of palliative care, and 3) consensus conferences that presented academic research priorities to palliative care practitioners in order to solicit additional research recommendations and ascertain practitioner priorities. They will describe the strengths and challenges of their methodological approach, report results of the systematic review and survey of thought leaders, and discuss the research-to-practice consensus conferences that utilized practitioners to both expand and refine the list of research recommendations.

Catherine Riffin is currently a fourth year doctoral student in Human Development in the College of Human Ecology. Upon completing her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in 2008, she pursued pediatric anxiety research at Brown Medical School. Since arriving at Cornell, she has begun to explore the relational and psychological components of aging. Her present line of research examines the socioemotional and cognitive factors that influence health decisions among older adults with chronic pain.

Emily Chen is a doctoral candidate in Human Development in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University. Her research focuses on the individual and social contexts of health behaviors, the experience of older adults with chronic disease, and the role of planning, communication, and self-efficacy in the experience of illness and disability. Collaborating with psychologists, sociologists, and physicians, in both rural and urban settings, Emily has explored these topics using qualitative and quantitative methods. She has an MA in Human Development from Cornell and an AB in the Growth and Structure of Cities from Bryn Mawr College.

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Palliative Care symposium at Gerontological Society of America meeting

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Pillemer, Riffin, Chen

Pillemer, Riffin, and Chen

Cary Reid, Catherine Riffin, Cara Kenien (TRIPLL associate director), Karl Pillemer, and Emily Chen of the Stern Foundation-funded Palliative Care Project organized a 90-minute symposium at the Gerontological Society of America annual meeting  (New Orleans, Nov 22).  The symposium, Identifying Research Gaps in Palliative Care Using a Multifaceted Approach, included four papers that resulted from the Palliative Care Project. Discussant Keela Herr, professor of nursing at Iowa State, provided expert commentary and feedback at the end. About 45 people attended and a lively Q&A session followed.

Symposium: Identifying Research Gaps in Palliative Care Using a Multifaceted Approach

  • Developing a Research Agenda for Palliative Care: A Three-part Method - Reid, Pillemer, Riffin, Chen
  • Research Recommendations in the Palliative Care Literature - Riffin, Reid, Chen, Pillemer
  • Research Recommendations from a Telephone Survey of Thought Leaders in Palliative Care - Chen, Riffin, Pillemer, Reid
  • Reconciling Research and Practitioner Priorities for Palliative Care through a Consensus Conference - Pillemer, Reid, Chen, Riffin


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Palliative Care Project consensus conference addresses research gaps


Karl Pillemer

The BCTR's Translational Research Priorities in Palliative Care Project, led by Karl Pillemer, held a consensus conference on February 15th that brought together researchers from the College of Human Ecology, the BCTR, and Weill Cornell Medical College with local palliative and hospice care professionals. The event, held at Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) in Ithaca, created a discussion between researchers and care providers to recommend areas of the field in need of further research. A Cornell Chronicle article on the event quotes Karl Pillemer:

Our belief is that if you want to bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners, you have to create these micro-environments where the two sides can come together," said workshop organizer Karl Pillemer, the Hazel E. Reed Professor in the Department of Human Development. "Simply receiving our written recommendations or listening to a formal presentation is not nearly as powerful as sitting down together to hash out the big questions regarding palliative care.

Jennifer Tiffany in a small group discussion

The recommendations from this event and a similar consensus conference held in New York City will be combined and included in a journal article. The meeting was co-sponsored by the CMC Palliative Care Program and Hospicare and Palliative Care Services of Tompkins County. BCTR attendees included John Eckenrode, Karl Pillemer, Jennifer Tiffany, Debbie Sellers, Elaine Wethington, and Emily Chen.

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