Duke Palliative Care, Johnson in NYT 8.21.2015


Kimberly S. Johnson, MD, MHS

The New York Times recently cited Dr. Kimberly Johnson, a Duke geriatrician and member of the Duke Palliative Care Program.

The article, “A Racial Gap in Attitudes Toward Hospice Care”, published August 21, 2015, begins with the illness of sickle cell disease and a federal statistic that “nearly half of white Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in hospice before death compared with only a third of black patients”. It’s easy to see how this could happen when we examine the distrust of the health care system by black Americans. One example in research was the Tuskegee study, leaving black men untreated for syphilis.

Dr. Johnson studies African-American attitudes about hospice and finds her black patients more likely to have religious grounds for limiting life-sustaining therapy. The NYT author (Sarah Yarney) goes on to write about the church setting itself may be the place to reshape views.

Amongst numerous publications, Johnson has this invited commentary for JAMA Internal Medicine in April 2014 – “The Changing Face of the Hospice Industry – What Really Matters?” JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(4):507-508. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13304. [Link]