AAHPM Visionary: J. Randall Curtis, MD MPH

Randall Curtis, MD MPH
Professor of Medicine, American Lung Association Endowed Chair in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Director, Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington, WA

Who has most influenced your work and what impact has he or she had?
There have been many people in palliative care who have been influential in my career development, but if I had to pick one, I would name Dr. Susan Block.  Susan directed the Project on Death in America and mentored an entire generation of palliative care leaders through that program as well as other forums.  She was also a tremendously thoughtful and supportive mentor, but also willing to be critical and willing to push a little.  She had a tremendous ability to be caring and generous, but also have expectations for high standards.  Her influence definitely pushed me to be more thoughtful in my approach to the psychological aspects of my research.

What does it mean to you to be named a Visionary in Hospice and Palliative Medicine?
This was a great honor for me to be amongst this inaugural group.  There are many individuals, on that list and not on that list, that have contributed enormously to the growth and development of palliative care as a field and I am honored to be listed among them.

What is your vision for the future of Hospice and Palliative Medicine?
I believe that Hospice and Palliative Medicine has the opportunity to guide and direct the transformation of medicine from a physician-centered, fee-for-service enterprise to a patient-centered, population health orientation.  I think to do that, it will be important for us to be willing to be involved in leadership and in research that focuses on the patient and family and to be willing to be at the policy table.  It will be important that we don’t focus on our own specialty and behave as a guild, but instead focus on promoting high quality palliative care for all patients with serious illness and their families that is inclusive of primary and specialty palliative care.  I believe the effective and cost-effective integration of primary and specialty palliative care is a major challenge for our healthcare system and that it will need to look different in different locations, settings, and contexts.  We need to help lead the transformation that strives to achieve this integration.


J. Randall Curtis is one of 30 individuals who have been named a Visionary in Hospice and Palliative Medicine by AAHPM for their 30th Anniversary in 2018. Learn more about the Visionary recognition and view a list of all current and past Visionaries.

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