Our Team

Our multi-disciplinary in patient consultation service and outpatient team strives to provide care for patients and families who are coping with a serious or life-threatening illness. Our core team of physicians, nurse practitioners, clinical social workers, and chaplain is complemented with experts from additional disciplines such as physical therapy, psychiatry, ethics, and others to provide essential ancillary support.


  • Craig Blinderman, MD, MA, FAAHPM
  • Director, Adult Palliative Care Service
  • Program Director, Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship
  • Associate Professor of Medicine Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center

  • Shunichi Nakagawa, MD
  • Director, Inpatient Palliative Care Consult Services
  • Attending Physician at Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center

  • Perihan El-Shanawany , MD
  • Associate Program Director, Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship
  • Attending Physician at Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center

  • M. Hamza Habib, MD, FACP
  • Attending Physician at Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
  • Interventional Pain Medicine and Ambulatory Cancer Pain and Palliative Care
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center

  • Suzanne Zampetti, NP
  • Inpatient Nurse Practitioner

  • Shila Pandey, NP
  • Inpatient Nurse Practitioner

  • AnnaMaria Giehl, NP
  • per-diem Nurse Practitioner

  • Frances Eichholz Heller, LMSW ACHP-SW
  • Senior Social Worker (General Consult Team and Outpatient clinic)

  • Kathleen Sanders, NP
  • Integrative Health Nurse Practitioner

  • Frances Eichholz Heller, LMSW ACHP-SW
  • Senior Social Worker (General Consult Team and Outpatient clinic)

  • Lauren Yuill, LCSW, ACHP-SW
  • Social Worker (Critical Care Consult Team)

  • Sarah Wichman, LMSW, DSW
  • Social Worker (General and Critical Care Consult Teams)

  • Cristina Ramirez-Urquiola, LCSW, ACHP-SW
  • Palliative Care SW Lead in Ambulatory Care Network

  • Seigan Glassing
  • Buddhist Chaplain

  • Lindsey Wright, NP
  • Inpatient and Outpatient Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner

  • Maria Bacerra, RN
  • Outpatient Palliative Care Nursing and Care Coordinator

  • Jivanny Rodriguez
  • Program Coordinator and Assistant to Dr. Blinderman

  • Jajairy Fong
  • Outpatient Palliative Care Coordinator and Scheduler 212-305-7340
 

Selected Faculty Bios

Dr. Craig D. Blinderman, MD, MA, FAAHPM
Dr. Blinderman is an Associate Professor of Medicine and the Director of the Adult Palliative Medicine Service at Columbia University Medical Center/New-York Presbyterian Hospital and Co-Director of the Center for Supportive Care and Clinical Ethics in the Department of Medicine. He was previously an attending physician on the Palliative Care Service at the Massachusetts General Hospital and co-directed the MGH Cancer Pain Clinic from 2007-2010..

Dr. Blinderman received his undergraduate degree in chemistry (Boston University) and a M.A. in philosophy (Columbia) before earning his medical degree from Ben Gurion University in Israel. He completed both a residency in Family Medicine and a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in NY. He then went on to complete a Medical Ethics fellowship at Harvard Medical School..

Dr. Blinderman has published numerous original articles, reviews and chapters in the following areas: comfort care (Blinderman CD, Billings JA. NEJM, 2015) early palliative care in lung cancer patients (Temel et al. NEJM 2010), comfort care for the dying patient (NEJM, 2015), medical ethics, existential distress, symptom assessment and quality of life in chronic lung and heart failure patients, as well as cancer pain management, and the management of pain in patients with a history of substance abuse.

He currently is the section editor for Case Discussions in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

His academic interests include: decision-making at the end of life, the role of palliative care in public health, palliative care in developing countries, medical ethics, and the integration of contemplative care and meditation in medical practice. He also has a strong interest in teaching and developing programs to improve students’ and residents' skills in communication and care for the dying. 
Dr. Blinderman also serves on the advisory board and teaches at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care.

Clinical appointments with Dr. Blinderman can be made by calling 212-305-7340

 

M. Hamza Habib, MD, FACP
M. Hamza Habib MD, FACP joined the Adult Palliative Care Service at Columbia University Medical Center as Assistant Professor of Medicine in 2015. His clinical focus is management of Complex Cancer Pain, and symptoms related to Cancer and other life-limiting illnesses. He comes from a unique background of training in Palliative Medicine, Interventional Pain Medicine, Addiction management, and Integrative & Holistic Medicine. Prior to joining Columbia University, he worked as Faculty in Section of Palliative Medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Dr. Habib is multiple Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Hospice & Palliative Medicine, Pain Medicine, and Integrative &Holistic Medicine. He is also involved in education and clinical training of Medical students, residents, and Fellows at Columbia University. His Clinical, research, and educational focus includes studying the Role of integrating a multi-faceted Medical and Interventional pain management approach for Complex Cancer Pain syndromes including Intrathecal Pump placement/management, Neurolytic Plexus blocks, various Nerve blocks, and Joint injections for Active Cancer and Cancer Survivor pain management.

He received his Medical Degree in 2007 from National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan. He trained in Internal Medicine in Chicago, followed by a Palliative Medicine Fellowship at University of Chicago. He later completed an Interventional Pain Medicine Fellowship at University of Utah Hospitals. He is also a Fellow of American College of Physicians.

Dr. Habib provides both inpatient, and outpatient Pain-Palliative Care at Columbia University Medical Center. He works in conjunction with Hematology & Oncology Physicians at Herbert Irving Cancer Center. His outpatient clinic is located at Herbert Irving Pavilion 3rd and 10th Floor. 

Clinical appointments with Dr. Habib can be made by calling HIP-9 Appointment scheduling at 212-305-7340

 

Shunichi Nakagawa, MD
Dr. Shunichi Nakagawa is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Nakagawa graduated from Hokkaido University School of Medicine, Japan. He completed a residency in general surgery in Japan and a residency in Internal Medicine in Cleveland Clinic, Ohio. He went on to complete a fellowship in Geriatrics and Hospice and Palliative Medicine both at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York. Dr. Nakagawa joined Columbia University Medical Center as a faculty in 2013.

Dr. Nakagawa specializes in symptom management and assisting goals of care in seriously ill patients. He also teaches palliative medicine, especially medical communication to medical students, residents, fellows and medical staffs in New York Presbyterian hospital.

His research interests include: palliative care in heart failure patients who are on mechanical circulatory support, such as advance care planning, decision making, symptom management, caregiver burden and bereavement. He is also interested in communication about treatment preferences before high risk surgery.

 

Frances Eichholz Heller, LMSW ACHP-SW
received her Masters of Social Work from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University.  She is the Senior Social Worker on the Palliative Care Consult Service at NY Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center.  She is also involved in the Narrative Medicine program at Columbia University and has been co-facilitator for the past 10 years of the Team Continuum Narrative Writing Program for Patients, Caregivers, and Clinicians.

Fran graduated as an NYU Zelda Foster Post Graduate Fellow in Social Work Leadership in Palliative and End of Life Care and has been working with doctors, nurses and institutions in the Dominican Republic building collaborations to provide continuity of care to the Dominican American population in the US. 

Since 2014,Fran has been co-facilitating the Interdisciplinary Palliative Resource Champion Program. This program is dedicated to training nurses, social workers and physician assistants to be generalist palliative care clinicians.  She has co-authored several published several journal articles on palliative care and has presented at many conferences both in the US and abroad. She received an Emerging Leader award from the NASW in 2013 and an award for Excellence in Professional Practice the annual meeting of SWHPN, in March 2015.

 

Perihan El-Shanawany MD
Dr. Perihan El-Shanawany is Assistant Professor of Medicine and Associate Program Director of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center/New-York Presbyterian Hospital.

 Dr. El-Shanawany joined the Adult Palliative Care Service at Columbia University Medical Center in 2016. Prior to joining Columbia University, she worked as a Hospice Medical Director at Metropolitan Jewish Healthcare System (MJHS) in New York where she also served as faculty in their Palliative Care Fellowship program. Dr. El-Shanawany also worked at Calvary Hospital, the only acute palliative care hospital in New York. 

 Dr. El-Shanawany received her Medical Degree in 2008 from October 6 University, Egypt. She completed both a residency in Family Medicine and a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Albert Einstein University/Jamaica Hospital in New York. Dr. El-Shanawany is dually board certified in Family Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Care. 
 She is involved in education and clinical training of medical students, residents, and fellows at Columbia University. Her clinical, research, and educational interests includes pain and symptom management, medical ethics, effects of spirituality and religions on symptom relief, and cultural competencies.

Dr. El-Shanawany provides inpatient Palliative Care at Columbia University Medical Center. 

 

Lauren Yuill, LCSW ACHP-SW
received her Master of Social Work from the Silver School of Social Work at New York University and her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Florida. She is currently a social worker with the Palliative Care Consult Service at New York Presbyterian Hospital at Columbia University focusing on critical care and coping with chronic critical illness. She is co-chairman of the hospital’s Bereavement Committee, developing and implementing bereavement programs and resources for patients, families and staff throughout the hospital and local community. Lauren is also dedicated to social work education and involved in co-facilitating support groups for the hospital’s social work internship program. She is an alumna of the NYU Zelda Foster MSW Fellowship in Palliative and End-of-Life Care and recently received the 2014 Outstanding Humanism in Patient Care Award from the Gold Humanism Honor Society of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.

 

Sarah Wichman, LMSW, DSW
is a social worker with the Palliative Care Consult Service at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center. She completed her Doctor of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania School of Policy and Practice, where she was awarded the 2016 Ram Cnaan Award for meritorious achievement. Her area of study focused on "The Desire for Hastened Death" in the home hospice community. Sarah also received her Master of Social Work from the Ehrenkrantz School of Social Work at New York University. After earning her master's, she completed the Interprofessional Palliative Care Fellowship at the James J. Peters VAMC. Sarah has over a decade of experience in hospitals, nursing homes and homecare, working with patients and families facing serious or terminal illness.

 

Cristina Ramirez-Urquiola, LCSW, ACHP-SW
received her MSW degree from Columbia University in 1990. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in both New Jersey and New York. She has a background in health and mental health working at Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, Palisade General Hospital Counseling Center and running an Employee Counseling Center for Hunter College. She has been an adjunct lecturer at Columbia and Hunter College Schools of Social Work. In 2011, Cristina began her work for hospice and palliative care at Hackensack University Medical Center and later at Amedisys Hospice. Last year, She started working at New York Presbyterian Hospital in order to help develop a Palliative Care Program for the hospital’s out-patient clinics. She received her Advanced Certificate in Hospice and Palliative Care in 2015. She looks forward to working with the community on issues related to advanced disease. Cristina is bilingual and bicultural.

 

Rev. Seigan Ed Glassing
Seigan Ed Glassing is a Zen Buddhist monk, and Staff Chaplain at New York Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center. He is the primary chaplain on the Palliative Care team and also works on the psychiatric unit. He has been practicing Zen since 1985 both in America and in Japan and was the head monk and co-director of the Zen Studies Society in New York City. He began training as a chaplain in 2008 with The New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care and completed his training as a resident chaplain at New York Presbyterian Hospital in 2012. Seigan initiated and leads ongoing weekly meditation, spirituality, and various support groups throughout the hospital. He teaches medical students and clinicians the importance of spirituality in the healthcare setting, as well as various ways caregivers can avoid burnout and reduce stress on the job. Seigan, for several years now, has presented workshops, intensives and webinars for the Association for Professional Chaplains, and has been highlighted in their newsletter as a Palliative Care Chaplain. In May 2016, Seigan was featured on the NPR show, “Here & Now” ‘How Buddhist Chaplains are Trained’. He studies Tibetan Thanghka painting.     

 
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