Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Affiliate CEP Faculty

Yael Schenker

Yael Schenker, MD, MAS, is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of Palliative Care Research in the Division of General Internal Medicine, Section of Palliative and Medical Ethics at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Schenker’s research focuses on understanding and improving the provision of palliative care for patients with serious illness. This work, funded by the National Palliative Care Research Center and the National Institutes of Health, includes designing and evaluating ‘primary’ palliative interventions to improve symptom management, advance care planning, emotional support, and care coordination for patients with advanced cancer. Additional scholarly interests include healthcare advertising, surrogate decision making, informed consent, language barriers, and cross-cultural communication. Dr. Schenker’s work has appeared in top medical journals, including JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, and JAMA Internal Medicine, and has been featured in the New York Times. She has spoken about the process of informed consent at the Institute of Medicine, and she is a member of the Expert and Stakeholder Panel for an AHRQ-funded project, “Improving Hospital Informed Consent with an Informed Consent Toolkit.” Dr. Schenker is clinically active in palliative care and primary care.

Dr. Schenker received her AB magna cum laude from Harvard University. She completed medical school, residency and fellowship training at the University of California, San Francisco, where she also received a masters degree in clinical research.

Recent Publications

Schenker Y and Arnold RM. Toward palliative care for all patients with advanced cancer. JAMA Oncol. 2017 May 18. PMID: 28520825.

Becker CL, Arnold RM, Park SY, Rosenzweig M, Smith TJ, White DB, Smith KJ, Schenker Y. A cluster randomized trial of a primary palliative care intervention (CONNECT) for patients with advanced cancer: protocol and key design considerations. Contemp Clin Trials. 2017 Jan 16. PMID: 28104470.

Hay CM, Lefkowits C, Bakitas M, Crowley-Matoka M, Urban RR, Duska LR, Clark LH, Chen LM, Creasy SL, Schenker Y. Gynecologic oncologist views influencing referral to outpatient specialty palliative care. International Journal of Gynecologic Cancer. 2017;27(3):588-596. PMID: 28060140. PMCID: PMC5315630.

Barnato AE, Schenker Y, Tiver G, Dew MA, Arnold RM, Nunez ER, Reynolds CF 3rd. Storytelling in the early bereavement period to reduce emotional distress among surrogates involved in a decision to limit life support in the ICU: A pilot feasibility trial. Critical Care Medicine. 2017 Jan;45(1):35-46. PMID: 27618273.

Davison J, Schenker Y Donovan H, Rosenzweig M. A work sampling assessment of the nursing delivery of palliative care in ambulatory cancer centers. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. 2016 Aug 1;20(4):421-6. PMID: 27441515.

Shafir A, Garrigues S, Schenker Y, Leff B, Neil J, Ritchie C. Homebound patient and caregiver perceptions of quality of care in home-based primary care: a qualitative study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016 Aug;64(8):1622-7. PMID: 27384919.

Vater LB, Donohue JM, Park SY, Schenker Y. Trends in Cancer Center Spending on Advertising in the United States, 2005 to 2014. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2016 Aug 1;176(8):1214-6. PMID: 27400275. PMCID: PMC4969207.

Schenker Y, Arnold RM, Bauman JE, Heron DE, Johnson JT. An enhanced role for palliative care in the multidisciplinary approach to high-risk head and neck cancer. Cancer. 2015 Oct 27. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 26505177.

Schenker Y, Arnold RM. The next era of palliative care. JAMA. 2015;314(15):1565-1566. PMID: 26334719. PMCID: PMC4870044.

Nunez ER, Schenker Y, Joel ID, et al. Acutely-bereaved surrogates’ stories about the decision to limit life support in the ICU. Crit Care Med. 2015;43(11):2387-2393. PMID: 26327201.