The National Palliative Care Research Center

Curing suffering through palliative care research.


Oreofe Odejide, MD, MPH


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Grant Year
Grant Term
Grant Type
Junior Faculty Career Development

Project Description
Improving End-of-Life Discussions for Blood Cancers

Each year, approximately 35% of patients with hematologic malignancies in the United States die as a result of their disease. While this makes high-quality end-of-life (EOL) care an imperative, existing literature demonstrates higher rates of intensive EOL care and lower rates of hospice use for patients with blood cancers. In solid tumor oncology, it has been shown that timely EOL discussions (also known as goals of care discussions [GCD]) between patients and physicians can improve EOL care. Patients with blood cancers are different, as they often have curable disease even when it is advanced, and the EOL phase of disease is difficult to identify. To improve care for patients with hematologic malignancies, both a rigorous understanding of GCD for this patient population and successful interventions are critically needed.

We propose to study GCD for patients with blood cancers and develop an intervention to improve such discussions. First, we will survey patients with hematologic cancers to characterize their information needs, and perspectives regarding appropriate timing of GCD. Second, we will pilot a physician-targeted intervention to promote high-quality and timely GCD for patients with disease states that have been identified by hematologic oncologists as suggesting that the EOL may be near. We will then assess rates and quality of GCD, as reported by patients whose doctors have experienced the intervention.

To date, the voice of patients with blood cancers with respect to GCD is lacking in the literature. Our study will address this gap by capturing what is most important to patients and incorporating these findings into our intervention. We will also provide unique data as to the feasibility and potential impact of our intervention on quality and timeliness of GCD. Demonstration of a positive impact would be an important step in addressing the specific EOL needs of this understudied population.


Oreofe Odejide, MD, MPH is a hematologic oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She received her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine and a Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed residency training in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, followed by medical oncology/hematology fellowship at the Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care Program.  Dr Odejide’s research is focused on carefully characterizing factors that impact quality of care for patients with hematologic cancers, particularly at the end of life, with the ultimate goal of developing effective and scalable interventions to improve care. The NPCRC Junior Faculty Career Development Award will provide Dr. Odejide with the support needed to develop and pilot an intervention to promote high-quality and timely end-of-life discussions for patients with hematologic malignancies.