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Fabian M. Johnston

I am a Surgical Oncologist and Health Care Disparities Researcher.

Fabian M. Johnston, M.D., M.H.S.

Johns Hopkins University

Martin Luther King said, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death." As a trainee I realized that there is a huge burden of disparities that burden our patients, but the most egregious to me is that a patient with advanced illness would now have the care at the end of their life be worse. I don't want to see this happen anymore, thus I seek health equity for all populations at the end of life.

Dr. Johnston is an Associate Professor of Surgery and Division Chief of Surgical Oncology in the Department of Surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is a surgical oncologist whose clinical practice is focused on gastrointestinal malignancies. Dr. Johnston's research interests include utilization of highly innovative and novel strategies for the implementation of patient-centered models of care to improve utilization of palliative care amongst patients with advanced gastrointestinal malignancies. Through this he hopes to advance effective care to lessen suffering in vulnerable oncology patients and families, while simultaneously leading improvement of health care quality, costs, experiences, and outcomes.

Palliative care is an effective means of improving quality of life for patients with incurable diseases. However, racial disparities exist in the utilization of palliative care services, with African American patients significantly less likely than white patients to access or receive palliative care - a factor that can result in African American patients failing to receive care aligned with their goals and wishes. We will examine an approach that integrates the support of Community Health Workers - non-clinician public health workers who provide culturally sensitive health education, information, and advocacy - to enhance palliative care among African American patients with advanced cancer. This study is significant because findings will close the knowledge-practice gaps in palliative care. The knowledge generated will lead to 1) techniques to develop, evaluate, and refine interventions to increase use of palliative care services for priority populations and 2) an understanding of the best means to facilitate implementation, dissemination, and sustained utilization of best-practice strategies for heterogeneous healthcare delivery systems. My interest in this area of inquiry and this project was driven by my experiences as a resident and fellow, where I saw patients at the end of life receive care that was often clearly not consistent with their goals, and I realized the enormity of decisions that were made day to day and how we as a health care system and both patients and caregivers were often unprepared to handle them.

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Last Updated: 08/18/2021 12:56:25