From the Society

Hospital medicine and palliative care: Wearing both hats

Dr. Barbara Egan leads SHM’s Palliative Care Work Group


Editor’s note: Each month, the Society of Hospitalist Medicine puts the spotlight on some of our most active members who are making substantial contributions to hospital medicine. Visit for more information on how you can lend your expertise to help improve the care of hospitalized patients.

Dr. Barbara Egan, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, N.Y., hospitalist

Dr. Barbara Egan

This month, The Hospitalist spotlights Barbara Egan, MD, FACP, SFHM, chief of the hospital medicine service in the department of medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Barbara has been a member of SHM since 2005, is dual certified in hospital medicine and palliative care, and is the chair of SHM’s Palliative Care Work Group.

When did you first hear about SHM, and why did you decide to become a member?

I first learned about SHM when I was an internal medicine resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, in the early 2000s. BWH had an extremely strong hospitalist group; the staff I worked with served as powerful role models for me and inspired my interest in becoming a hospitalist. One of my attendings suggested that I join SHM, which I did right after I graduated from residency. I attended my first SHM Annual Conference in 2005. By then, I was working as a hospitalist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. SHM and the field of hospital medicine have exploded since my career first began, and I am happy to have grown alongside them. Similarly, our hospital medicine group here at MSKCC has dramatically grown, from 1 hospitalist (me) to more than 30!

How did you get involved with SHM’s Palliative Care Work Group, and what has the work group accomplished since you joined?

I was honored to be invited to join SHM’s Palliative Care Work Group in 2017 by Wendy Anderson, MD, a colleague and now a friend from University of California, San Francisco. Wendy is a visionary leader who practices and researches at the intersection of palliative care and hospital medicine. She and I met during 2015, when we were both invited to join a collaboration between SHM and the Hastings Center in Garrison, N.Y., which was aimed at improving hospitalists’ ability to provide outstanding care to hospitalized patients with life-limiting illnesses. That collaboration resulted in the Improving Communication about Serious Illness–Implementation Guide, a compilation of resources and best practices.

Wendy was chairing the SHM Palliative Care Work Group and invited me to join, which I did with great enthusiasm. This group consists of several passionate and brilliant hospitalists whose practices, in a variety of ways, involve both hospital medicine and palliative medicine. I was so honored when Wendy passed the baton to me last spring and invited me to chair the Work Group. I am lucky to have the opportunity to collaborate with this group of dynamic individuals, and we are well supported by an outstanding SHM staff member, Nick Marzano.

Are there any new projects that the work group is currently focusing on?


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