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Our Faculty and Staff

We work as an interdisciplinary team, meaning we bring different types of expertise to your care to not only treat the physical symptoms of living with serious illness, but also the emotional, spiritual, and psychosocial stresses. We see patients in the hospital at both University and Memorial hospitals, and in an outpatient clinic on the University campus. Our outpatient clinic also offers telehealth appointments. 


Jennifer Reidy, MD
Division Chief

Clinical/Research Focus:

  • Communication in health care
  • Health equity and humanism
  • Complex cancer pain management
  • Community-based palliative care
  • Quality improvement

Vandana Nagpal, MD
Associate Division Chief

Clinical/Research Focus:

  • Serious illness communication
  • Quality Improvement
  • Humanism in Medicine
  • Education
  • Healthcare provider wellness

Adam Bliss, NP

Clinical/Research Focus:

  • Palliative care and hospice
  • Community medicine
  • Homeless outreach
  • Dementia
  • Dysphagia & role of artificial nutrition
  • Quality and safety


Deborah Horgan
Palliative Care Administrator

Isabel Castro, MD

Clinical/Research Focus:

  • Medical humanism
  • Palliative clinical practice

Rebecca Kowaloff, DO

Clinical/Research Focus:

  • Prognostication and communicating prognosis
  • Teaching communication skills in serious illness
  • Palliative care medical education
  • Frailty syndrome and perioperative risk assessment
  • Narrative medicine

Pamela Lane, NP

Clinical/Research Focus:

  • Effective symptom management with a special interest in pain management and exploring non-pharmacologic pain management
  • Patient and family education and support

Sara Lyon, RN
Outpatient Nurse Navigator

Clinical/Research Focus:

  • Patient education
  • Patient safety
  • Medical ethics
  • Medical journalism 

Mary-Carla MacDonald, MA, MT-BC, FAMI

Clinical/Research Focus:

  • Cultural Humility and Trauma informed care
  • Interdisciplinary practices in Medicine
  • Living and dying with dignity, agency, and social emotional well-being
  • Humanism and the dignity of Joy while living with serious illness
  • Role of music in Symptom management, Disorders of Consciousness, Altered Mental status, and Neurologic Rehabilitation
  • Communication, Relationship, and patient/family voice in healthcare

Nancy McCool, LICSW
Lead SW

Clinical/Research Focus:

  • Self-care for healthcare workers
  • Effects of healthcare workers “casual” language on our patients
  • Using trauma informed care when interacting with patients and advocating for patients and families during family meetings
  • Researching the effects of unprocessed grief on healthcare worker's ability to care for themselves and patients

Nancy published an article in September of 2022 in the Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care on the effects of a buddy system on mitigating distress and promoting resilience on a palliative care team. She received a grant to teach primary palliative care skills to hospital social workers using the Serious Illness Conversation Guide.

Carolyn Murphy, MD

Clinical/Research Focus:

  • Medical education
  • Pain management
  • Communication in healthcare

Shawna Steadman, NP
Lead APP

Clinical/Research Focus:

  • Communication in healthcare
  • Patient and family education
  • Quality improvement

Janet Tyndall, LICSW

Clinical/Research Focus:

  • Family support and education to help families understand the issues and situation so they can make decisions based on the patient’s values and wishes
  • Guardianship and health care proxies