The National Palliative Care Research Center

Curing suffering through palliative care research.


Areej El-Jawahri MD


Massachusetts General Hospital

Grant Year
Grant Term
Two years
Grant Type
Junior Faculty Career Development Award

Project Description
A Palliative Care Intervention for Patients Hospitalized for Stem Cell Transplant

The aim of this project is to establish the efficacy of a targeted inpatient palliative care intervention to improve the quality of life (QOL) and symptoms of patients hospitalized for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and their families. Patients undergoing HSCT experience tremendous physical and psychological symptoms during their hospitalization for HSCT leading to a significant deterioration in their QOL. Furthermore, the immediate physical and psychological burden of HSCT predicts long-term QOL and mood further contributing to the morbidity in this population. The family caregivers of patients hospitalized for HSCT also suffer emotionally as they witness their loved ones struggle daily with symptoms during their hospitalization.

We propose to conduct the first prospective randomized study of a targeted inpatient palliative care intervention to improve the QOL and symptoms of patients hospitalized for HSCT and their families. By integrating palliative care during hospitalization for HSCT, we aim to improve patients’ and family caregivers’ symptom burden, thereby improving short and long-term QOL in this population. We also hope to engender trust between palliative care and transplant oncology and overcome cultural barriers to the use of palliative care services in hematologic malignancies and HSCT. Importantly, integrating palliative care with transplant oncology care provides a crucial opportunity to build longitudinal relationships with patients undergoing HSCT who may benefit from palliative care services in the future.


Areej El-Jawahri, MD will be an Assistant in Medicine in the Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Bone Marrow Transplantation at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center starting in July 2014. She received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed her residency training in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.  She served as Chief Medical Resident at Newton Wellesley Hospital.  She then completed her fellowship training in medical oncology at the Dana Farber Partners Cancer Care Training Program.  Dr. El-Jawahri’s research interest include investigating patient-reported outcomes, implementing patient-centered decision-making interventions, and designing palliative care interventions to improve the care of patients with hematologic malignancies.  She is also interested in exploring models of health care delivery to improve patients’ quality of life and end-of-life care and to enhance their prognostic understanding.