Palliative Care Service at Columbia University Medical Center/ NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

The Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Palliative Care Service offers patients relief from the pain, symptoms, and stress of a serious illness, like cancer, heart failure, ALS, and other chronic and debilitating conditions. Our team of doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, and chaplains are dedicated to individualizing support and assuring that the patients’ treatments are in accord with their values and health care goals. Our team collaborates with the patient’s primary doctor and other specialists to provide an extra layer of support.  The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Outpatient Services

  Supportive Oncology and Palliative Care Program
  • Staffed by two physicians, a nurse practitioner, social worker, and practice nurse, we provide services to Herbert Irving Cancer Center.
  • We manage cancer patients’ pain, symptoms, coping, and overall assist with providing an extra layer of support to patients and families.
  • Dr. Hamza Habib, provides both pharmacologic and interventional pain procedures for cancer related pain syndromes.
  • Kathleen Sanders, a full time integrative heath nurse practitioner, provides additional complementary and integrative health services to cancer patients, including hypnosis, mind-body modalities, nutrition support, and herbal therapies.
  • We also have a part-time chaplain intern in our ambulatory clinic that helps provide spiritual support and training in meditation and mindfulness.
  • Our interdisciplinary team helps coordinate care and supportive services, including rehab medicine, acupuncture, yoga, and other modalities to alleviate pain and other symptoms and help improve functioning.
  Outpatient Palliative Care in our Ambulatory Care Network
  • This ambulatory palliative care team is made up of a physician, nurse practitioner, social worker and care coordinator to provide specialist level palliative care to primary care patients with Medicaid.
  • In addition, we are piloting a generalist level training program in palliative care for primary care physicians.

Hospital Consult Services

  • Each inpatient consult team includes a full time physician, nurse practitioner and social worker, as well as a part-time dedicated chaplain to provide spiritual care.
  • 1 team provides expert level palliative care services to critically ill patients and their families.

Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program

In 2010, Columbia received approval from the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to formally establish the HPM Fellowship Program. The goals of the intensive one-year fellowship program are to: bolster the number of well-trained hospice and palliative medicine practitioners; improve the quality of care provided to a growing population of patients and their families coping with chronic illness or end of life care; and infuse the palliative medicine philosophy throughout CUMC’s clinical programs.


The Columbia Palliative Care Service’s faculty and staff are engaged in a number of educational initiatives throughout the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), quality improvement projects, and collaborative research. Our mission is to improve the palliative care provided to patients across the life span by developing and implementing novel care delivery programs, training specialists in hospice and palliative medicine, educating health care providers in the principles and practice of generalist level palliative care, and collaborating in research to guide our interventions clinically and educationally. Most notably, we have initiated an Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Resource Champion (IPRC) Program, which is a one year program offered to NYP and Columbia University Medical Center nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and social workers to increase their knowledge and skills in the area of palliative care.

Why consider palliative care?

  • Improves quality of care

  • Focuses on quality of life

  • Decreases symptoms, like pain, nausea, anxiety, and depression

  • May improve survival (e.g. Temel et al NEJM, 2010)

  • For increased patient and caregiver support

  • Helps patients achieve a sense of control

  • Relieves burdens on family

  • For further assistance in decision making

  • To coordinate care amongst multiple providers
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