The National Palliative Care Research Center

Curing suffering through palliative care research.


Anjali V. Desai, MD, MSCE

Attending Physician

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Grant Year
Grant Term
2 years
Grant Type
Kornfeld Scholars Program

Project Description
’Values Added:’ Utilization and Effect of a ‘Patient Values Tab’ in the Electronic Health Record

High-quality care for cancer and other serious illnesses is “person-centered,” supporting each patient as a unique individual and integrating the patient’s health-related values. Yet, the typical electronic health record (EHR) is poorly designed to display information needed for person-centered care, which may particularly disadvantage patients from underrepresented minority groups, for whom such information may be further limited by mistrust, low health literacy, inadequate clinician training in culturally-sensitive communication, and other factors. Dr. Desai has been instrumental in developing a major palliative care innovation in the EHR at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the “Patient Values Tab,” which centralizes/facilitates clinician access to key information for person-centered care. As implementation of this innovation goes forward, Dr. Desai will pursue a synergistic program of career development and research based on the Health Equity Implementation Framework, with the overall goal of promoting clinicians’ adoption of the Values Tab while improving equity in person-centered care. Further training in key relevant areas (Health Disparities Research, Dissemination & Implementation Science, and Health Informatics Research), along with this research experience guided by a superb team of interdisciplinary and interprofessional mentors with complementary expertise, will advance Dr. Desai on her path to becoming an independent palliative care investigator. The research will use mixed methods to address the following Specific Aims: 1) Elicit perspectives of Black and Latinx cancer patients on relevance, acceptability, and importance of Values Tab content as a composite of information supporting person-centered care; 2) Examine oncologist adoption of the Tab to identify patterns as well as barriers and facilitators for broad and equitable implementation in clinical care; and 3) Evaluate impact of Tab adoption by oncologists on perceptions of person-centeredness of care as reported by diverse cancer patients and their oncologists. Methods, findings, and deliverables will have broader impact beyond this specific intervention and institution, informing effective and equitable implementation of existing and emerging digital palliative care innovations in a wide variety of care settings.


Anjali Varma Desai, MD, MSCE, is an Attending Physician on the Supportive Care and Hospital Medicine Services at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). She received a BA degree with Distinction in History of Science, History of Medicine from Yale University, a medical degree from the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine, and a Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology & Health Services Research from Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. She completed her Internal Medicine residency training at the NYU School of Medicine, after which she completed a yearlong Research Fellowship, followed by a Clinical Fellowship, in Hospice & Palliative Medicine at MSK. She joined the MSK faculty with a dual appointment in Supportive Care and Hospital Medicine in 2018. Her investigative interests lie at the intersection between palliative care, digital innovation and health equity implementation science. In particular, Dr. Desai’s research focuses on leveraging digital health interventions to promote health equity in the delivery of palliative care, including person-centered care that is concordant with a patient's core values, goals and personhood.