Dr. James Tulsky is Chair, Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Chief, Division of Palliative Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospita; and Professor of Medicine and Co-Director, Center for Palliative Care, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Tulsky attended Cornell University as an undergraduate, completed his medical degree at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, and received his internal medicine training at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He continued at UCSF as chief medical resident and subsequently as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar. From 1993-2015 he was on faculty at Duke University where he was Professor of Medicine and Nursing and Chief, Duke Palliative Care. He is the recipient of the 2002 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (the highest national award given by the White House Office of Science and Technology for early career investigators), the 2006 Award for Research Excellence from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, the 2013 George L. Engel Award from the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare for “outstanding research contributing to the theory, practice and teaching of effective healthcare communication and related skills,” and the 2014 American Cancer Society Pathfinder in Palliative Care award. In 2017, he was named a named a Hospice and Palliative Medicine Visionary by AAHPM. He serves as Board Chair of the Greenwall Foundation, Chair of the National Palliative Care Research Center Scientific Advisory Council, and Co-Chair of the Roundtable on Quality Care in Serious Illness of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
Dr. Tulsky has a longstanding interest in doctor-patient communication and quality of life at the end of life, and has published widely in these areas. His current research focuses on the evaluation and enhancement of communication between oncologists and patients with advanced cancer, identification of clinical, psychosocial and spiritual trajectories of patients at the end of life, development of self-management interventions for patients with life-limiting illness, and evaluating the role of palliative care in congestive heart failure. He is a Founding Director of VitalTalk (www.vitaltalk.org), a non-profit devoted to communication skills teaching for clinicians working with seriously ill patients.