Working at the intersection of sociology, palliative care, and ethics to foster care and compassion in the culture and practice of medicine

I am an Assistant Professor at UCSF in Hospital Medicine and Social and Behavioral Sciences, Sociology Program, interested in how institutional cultures and ethics influence how physicians communicate decisions at the end of life. I am particularly interested in how these hospital cultures might influence how physicians conceptualise the ethical principles of autonomy and best interest and how that influences the way they frame and convey available options. As a part of this, I am interested in moral conflicts that might occur and the interaction between these ethical conflicts on physician moral distress, burnout, and empathy. This research interest synergises very well with my other role directing the ethics curriculum for UCSF medical students.

My current research is focused on understanding the systemic factors that contribute to burdensome care at the end of life in older adults with advanced dementia. I have also been involved in the statewide and UCSF response to the legalization of physician aid in dying in California (End of Life Option Act).

Prior to coming to UCSF, I wrote my PhD dissertation in medical sociology and ethics at the University of Cambridge at King’s College as a Gates Cambridge Scholar and completed a General Internal Medicine Post-Doctoral Clinical Research Fellow and Palliative Care Research Fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.