James A. Tulsky, MD

James Tulsky is Poorvu Jaffe Chair, Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Chief, Division of Palliative Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Tulsky attended Cornell University as an undergraduate, completed his medical degree at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, and received his internal medicine training at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He continued at UCSF as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, and from 1993-2015 he was on faculty at Duke University where his last position was Professor of Medicine and Nursing and Chief, Duke Palliative Care. He is a Fellow of The Hastings Center, the recipient of the 2002 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (the highest national award given by the White House Office of Science and Technology for early career investigators), the 2006 Award for Research Excellence from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM), the 2013 George L. Engel Award from the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare for “outstanding research contributing to the theory, practice and teaching of effective healthcare communication and related skills,” the 2014 American Cancer Society Pathfinder in Palliative Care award, and in 2017, was named a Hospice and Palliative Medicine Visionary by AAHPM. Dr. Tulsky has a longstanding interest in doctor-patient communication and quality of life in serious illness, and has published widely in these areas. He is a Founding Director of VitalTalk (, a non-profit devoted to nurturing healthier connections between clinicians and patients through communication skills teaching.

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