What people with cancer should know:

Guidance for cancer researchers:

Get the latest public health information from CDC:

Get the latest research information from NIH:

May Hua

I am an Anesthesiologist-Intensivist and Palliative Care Researcher.

May Hua, M.D.

Columbia University Health Sciences

During my critical care training, I realized that I was spending a lot of time learning how to use the most cutting-edge technology to prolong patients' lives, with much less focus on what happens when those interventions are unable to help patients survive. In medicine we tend to embrace the high-tech solutions, but sometimes what may help patients most are low-tech, humanistic approaches, like palliative care.

Dr. May Hua is an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology (In Epidemiology) at Columbia University Medical Center. Her interest in the field of palliative care research stems from her clinical experiences as a critical care physician. By blending population-level analyses and qualitative research techniques, the overarching goal of her research program is to improve the quality of care for patients with serious illness through the evidence-based delivery of end-of-life care and palliative care. Her prior work has centered on understanding the palliative care needs of patients with serious illness who require intensive care, ways to improve access to these services, and developing methods to measure the effectiveness of specialist palliative care on a population-level.

A growing body of literature raises concerns about the potential for heterogeneity of effect, that is, that the effect of specialist palliative care may differ across hospitals. These findings suggest that our current implementation of specialist palliative care, on a population-level, may not be wholly effective. Consequently, the current research project seeks to identify the impact of specialist palliative care on quality metrics for end-of-life care in patients with cancer and to determine what operating conditions are necessary for palliative care teams to produce outcomes consistent with high-quality care. Cancer research has been at the forefront of knowledge generation related to improving end-of-life and palliative care, with much of what we know about quality end-of-life care stemming from studies conducted in patients with cancer. These studies have served as the standard for all patients with serious illness, and specialist palliative care has become a widely implemented clinical intervention that is increasingly considered the standard of care, particularly for patients with advanced cancer. It is at this critical time that this project seeks to again push the knowledge frontier forward by conducting a series of national studies to evaluate the effectiveness of real-world palliative care in cancer care.

Grant Listing
Project Title Grant Number Program Director Publication(s)
Determinants of Palliative Care Effectiveness for Patients with Metastatic Cancer
Michelle Mollica

To request edits to this profile, please contact Mark Alexander at

Last Updated: 03/11/2021 08:43:19