Tulsky to Lead Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care Department at Dana Farber Cancer Institute

Tulsky New

James A. Tulsky, MD

James A. Tulsky, MD, Chief of Duke Palliative Care and Professor of Medicine and Nursing, has accepted a position as Chair of the Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. He will continue to work at Duke until July 3, before assuming the new position on Sept. 1.

“I leave Duke after 22 years with enormously fond feelings toward this amazing university and health system that I will always call home,” Tulsky said. “I enter this unique opportunity with tremendous excitement and also a keen sense of wistfulness.”

“Of all our accomplishments I am most proud of our ability to integrate palliative care into the fabric of the institution, our extraordinary palliative care clinicians who ease the suffering for the sickest and most vulnerable patients, and the many junior faculty and trainees in whose academic growth I’ve had the privilege to share,” Tulsky said.

In addition to serving as Department Chair at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Dr. Tulsky will also direct Palliative Care Services at Brigham and Women’s Health Care (BWHC), and serve as the inaugural Chief of the Division of Palliative Care in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Through those roles, Dr. Tulsky will be the overall leader of the palliative care and psychosocial oncology programs and efforts at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, BWHC and Boston Children’s Hospital.

“James has led Duke Palliative care to great success in clinical care, education, and research. We are very sad to see him leave us, but excited for him and the new opportunity and challenge this role provides in Boston,” said Thomas A. Owens, MD, Vice President for Medical Affairs, and Chief Medical Officer of the Duke University Health System.

Dr. Tulsky has a longstanding interest in doctor-patient communication and quality of life in serious illness, and has received numerous grants and foundations for this work. He is the author of over 160 peer-reviewed publications, a book, and 24 book chapters.

He has received more than a dozen awards, including the American Academy on Hospice and Palliative Medicine Award for research excellence (2006), the Duke University Clinical Science Research Mentoring Award (2014), and the American Cancer Society Pathfinder in Palliative Care Award (2014).

Dr. Tulsky is also a leading palliative care educator and, through his role as a founding Director of VitalTalk, is dedicated to the widespread dissemination of communication skills training and thus nurturing healthier connections between clinicians and patients.

After receiving his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, Dr. Tulsky trained as a resident in internal medicine and a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of California, San Francisco. He has been a member of the Duke faculty since 1993. He is married and has two sons.