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Janet L. Abrahm, MD

Palliative Medicine

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  • 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

Contact Information

  • Appointments617-632-6464
  • Office Phone Number617-632-6464
  • Fax617-632-6180


Dr. Abrahm received her MD from the University of California at San Francisco in 1973, completed internship and residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and served as a chief resident at Moffitt Hospital (of UCSF). After completing a fellowship in hematology/oncology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, she joined the faculty in 1980 and worked there until December 2000. She joined DFCI in 2001 as director of the Pain and Palliative Care Program.

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.


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