News Release: Emory Healthcare , School of Medicine

Feb. 15,  2010

Tammie Quest Named Interim Director of New Emory Center for Palliative Care

News Article ImageTammie E. Quest, MD

Tammie E. Quest, MD, associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, with a secondary appointment in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Emory University School of Medicine, has been named interim director of the Emory Center for Palliative Care.

"Dr. Quest brings not only great professional expertise to the role of interim director of the Emory Center for Palliative Care, but also a sincere passion for improving quality of life for the patients we serve," says Fred Sanfilippo, MD, PhD, Emory executive vice president for health affairs. "She will be a tremendous asset as we continue to develop this important and exciting center, which we believe has the potential to positively impact many other programs at Emory and within the community."

Often mistakenly confused with hospice care, palliative care is appropriately provided to patients in any stage of serious illness - whereas hospice care is primarily used for those approaching the end stage of life. A typical palliative care "team" consists of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, mental health professionals, therapists and pharmacists, assisting patients through a wide array of illnesses, including stroke, heart and lung disease, cancer and HIV.

The palliative care teams work closely with primary physicians to control pain, relieve symptoms of illnesses - such as nausea, fatigue and depression; help provide counseling in making difficult medical decisions; provide emotional and spiritual support; coordinate home care referrals; and assist with identifying future care needs. Importantly, the unit of care is not just the patient, but the family and caregivers as well, and extends into the bereavement period when applicable.

"Palliative care is simply good patient care," says Quest. "It is the care that we all hope for and expect when we are facing serious illness. The vision of the Emory Center for Palliative Care is to create a distinctive model of palliative care that advances discovery and innovation - all the while with impeccable attention to holistic and compassionate bedside care.

"The Emory Center for Palliative Care," says Quest, "looks forward to identifying and promoting partnerships within and outside the University to achieve its vision."

Palliative care seeks to improve quality of life and wellness by addressing the physical, psychological, ethical, spiritual and social needs of patients with serious, life-threatening or progressive chronic illnesses, and provides support to their families and caregivers. The new center will be a multidimensional collaboration through the unique services and expertise provided across Emory, its affiliates and community partners and will:

  • Foster state-of-the-art science, integrated educational programs and quality healthcare delivery
  • Promote the understanding and enhancement of quality of life and end-of-life care
  • Create physical, psychological, social, ethical and spiritual healing opportunities for the patient, family and their communities

Quest is board certified in emergency medicine and hospice and palliative medicine, and is a 'Project on Death in America' faculty scholar. She serves as the chief of the Section of Palliative Medicine at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, and is the former director of the Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence in Palliative Care Oncology Program, Grady Health System. She is the fellowship program director for the Emory University School of Medicine program in hospice and palliative medicine and holds a strong interest in novel palliative care curriculum design and teaching methodologies for undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate medical trainees that she teaches locally, regionally and nationally.

Quest is a nationally recognized expert in palliative care in the emergency setting and is the director of the National Cancer Institute-sponsored Education in Palliative and End of Life Care -Emergency Medicine (EPEC-EM) Project. She serves as a member of the National Priorities Partnership's Palliative and End-of-life Care work group. With a strong interest in ethics and end of life care, Quest holds a core faculty appointment at the Emory University Center for Ethics and is the immediate past-chair of the Ethics Committee for the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine. She is a member of the ethics committee for the American College of Emergency Physicians.

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The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

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