Cynthia Bacon, 718-670-2515
David Levine, 212-772-944
Flushing, N.Y., November 16, 2010– In recognition of the growing
palliative care as a vital medical service for patients and their families, New York
Hospital Queens (NYHQ) has hired its first director of Palliative Care to coordinate its
palliative care services across the hospital’s departments. Palliative means to provide
patient centered care by discussing goals of care, reducing the severity of disease
symptoms, and alleviating suffering or pain.
Cynthia X. Pan, M.D., A.G.S.F, F.A.C.P., has joined NYHQ as director of
Palliative Care, and an attending geriatrician. A board-certified clinician and
educator in internal medicine, geriatrics, palliative care and hospice, Dr. Pan was
previously the medical director at the Hospice Care Network in Fresh Meadows.
“Although NYHQ has been providing palliative care to our patients for
we realized we needed a dedicated advocate to better coordinate our efforts,” said
Stephen Rimar, M.D., senior vice president for medical affairs & chief medical officer of
NYHQ. “We are fortunate to have Dr. Pan, a skilled clinician and a thought leader in the
field, as our first director of Palliative Care.”
According to Dr. Pan, hospitals are increasingly embracing palliative
it provides patients with coordinated, effective, and efficient care. “Research has
shown that it improves patient outcomes through pain and symptom control; expedites
communication and decision-making for patients, families, and healthcare providers;
eases patient transitions between care settings and improves staff satisfaction by reducing
the burden of time intensive and complex cases,” said Dr. Pan.
Palliative care is a medical specialty that provides patient and
family-centered care that
optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering. Palliative
care can be provided throughout the continuum of illness. It involves addressing
physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs and to facilitate patient
autonomy, access to information, and choice.
Palliative Care is different from hospice care, which is for people who
accept that they
may be at the end of life and who don't want any difficult treatments or tests. Palliative
care may be provided at any time during a person`s illness, even from the time of
diagnosis. And, it can take place at the same time curative treatments
such as surgery,
chemotherapy, radiation, and other medications are given.
As more people with advanced life-threatening illnesses are living for
of time, palliative care has become a growing movement across the United States (and
the world). In fact, according to an analysis by the Center to Advance Palliative Care,
between 2000 and 2008, the number of palliative care programs in U.S. hospitals with 50
or more beds increased from 658 to 1486, for a total increase of 125.8 percent.
Palliative care specialists treat the pain and discomfort that often
illnesses such as cancer, advanced organ disease and dementia. Through the use of
medications they can ease the pain and the symptoms of disease, which helps to improve
the quality of life for those who are suffering, and bring peace of mind. Unlike standard
medical teams of doctors, nurses and social workers, palliative care teams also include
psychologists, and religious and spiritual professionals.
And some studies have even found that palliative care can prolong life.
In the August 19
issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers reported that among patients
with metastatic lung cancer, those who received collaborative oncologic and palliative
care lived almost two months longer than those who received standard oncologic care
alone. The study also found that the patients receiving palliative care reported a higher
quality of life through the final course of their illness. This included better levels of
symptomatic comfort, as well as less depression. The researchers concluded, “We now
have both the means and the knowledge to make palliative care an essential and routine
component of evidence-based, high-quality care for the management of serious illness.”
Dr .Pan achieved her undergraduate degree in biology from Harvard
University and her
medical degree at Stony Brook School of Medicine. She completed her fellowship in
geriatric medicine at Harvard Medical School and her internship and residency in primary
care internal medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Pan also
completed a program in Clinical Effectiveness at the Harvard School of Public Health
and a Program in End-of-life care at Stanford University.
As an associate professor, Department of Geriatrics and Adult
Development, at the
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Pan taught geriatrics, palliative care and hospice
topics to trainees at all levels and disciplines at both regional and national levels. Among
the many topics she has presented on are Pain Management in Older Adults; Pain
Symptoms and Quality of Life in Chinese Patients and Communication in Palliative
Care: Communicating Bad News and Conducting Family Meetings.
In addition, she has been an author and co-author of articles in many of
the top peer-
reviewed medical journals including the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Journal of the
American Geriatric Society, the Journal of Palliative Care Medicine, and the Journal of
Pain and Symptom Management.
New York Hospital Queens is a member of the NewYork-Presbyterian
System and an affiliate of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
Note to Editors: Dr. Pan is available for interviews. She is a
member of the American
College of Physicians, The American Geriatrics Society, the American Academy of
Hospice and Palliative Medicine, the Association of Chinese American Physicians and
the Chinese American Medical Society. Dr. Pan is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and