Janet L. Abrahm, MD

Janet L. Abrahm, MD

Palliative Medicine

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Janet L. Abrahm, MD

Dr. Abrahm is a national leader in the field of palliative care and a professor at Harvard Medical School. She received her MD from the University of California at San Francisco, completed her internship and residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and served as a chief resident at Moffitt Hospital of UCSF. After completing her fellowship in hematology/oncology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, she stayed on to work there for twenty years. In 2001, Dr. Abrahm joined Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, as a fulltime palliative care physician, founding the Adult Palliative Care service there and at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Since 2008, she has been part of a research team now focused on developing an electronic, rule-based clinical decision support system (CDS) for EHRs that leverages national clinical practice guidelines to improve the evaluation and management of symptoms during and following cancer treatment. The 4th edition of her book, "Comprehensive guide to Supportive and Palliative Care in Cancer Patients" will be published in 2022.



Institute Physician
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School


Clinical Interests

Community clergy as collaborators in palliative care, Interpreters as collaborators in palliative care, Metastatic spinal cord compression, Symptom management for cancer patients

Board Certification

  • Hematology
  • Hospice and Palliative Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Oncology


  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Hematology/Oncology
  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Quality Management
  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Hematology


  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Medicine
  • Moffitt Hospital of the University of California, San Francisco, Medicine, Chief Resident

Medical School

  • University of California, San Francisco


    Dr. Janet Abrahm is a nationally recognized expert in Palliative Medicine (Abrahm 2014), and was instrumental in creating the clinical algorithms for symptom management for the research studies referred to below (Cooley et al 2013, 2014). She was a team member for both these unique decision-aid studies and a PCORI study that enable oncologists to relieve the most common sources of distress in lung cancer patients. She led effort that developed the clinical algorithms for management of pain, dyspnea, anxiety, depression, and fatigue that were then programmed, and the algorithms for patients with similar problems that are now undergoing review by patients and clinicians prior to programming. I continue to be the clinical collaboration and algorithm writer for our research team (funded in 2018-19 by an SBIR grant) that seeks to integrate primary symptom management aspects of palliative care into the EHR.  Our team is also working with the VNS of NYC that serves all five boroughs, to standardize the symptom management offered by their organization using algorithms such as the ones we developed for the outpatient oncology group. The organization has nurse researchers and a large IT infrastructure into which we can insert the algorithms to test, once they are clinically vetted by the hospice staff.


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    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

    450 Brookline Avenue Shields-Warren 420 Boston, MA 02215
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    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

    Location Avtar

    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

    450 Brookline Avenue Shields-Warren 420 Boston, MA 02215
    Get Direction
    42.3374, -71.1082