Faculty and Staff


Joan Haase, PhD, RN
School of Nursing
Dr. Joan Haase's research focus is on ways children, adolescents and young adults (AYA), and families positively adjust to the experience of cancer and other chronic illnesses. Her Resilience in Illness Model (RIM) guides descriptive and intervention research to improve symptoms and foster psychosocial adjustment. The focus of her Resilience in Illness interventions are on improving communication for among children, AYA, parents, and healthcare through music, helping parents open dialogue with their AYA, and, providing skilled and empathic early PC/EOL discussions to families of children with high risk cancers. Dr. Haase is the Holmquist Professor in Pediatric Oncology Nursing.
Susan Hickman, PhD
School of Nursing
Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics
IU Center for Aging Research
Dr. Susan Hickman's research focuses on ethical issues in end-of-life care and the conduct of research. She has conducted federally funded research on the effect of ethical concerns on the conduct of end-of-life research, and the use of the POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) Program. Dr. Hickman is a member of the Indiana University Institutional Review Board and a Senior Affiliate Faculty Member at the Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics.
Dr. Greg Sachs
School of Medicine
General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics
IU Center for Aging Research
Dr. Greg Sachs' research focuses on ethical issues in geriatrics. He leads the Indiana Palliative Excellence in Alzheimer Care Efforts (IN-PEACE) Program, addressing the feasibility of incorporating an outpatient palliative care program for patients with dementia into primary care settings, where most older adults receive their medical care. Dr. Sachs is Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics and serves on the Board of Directors for The American Geriatric Society (AGS) and the editorial board of JAGS.

Core Faculty

Silvia Bigatti
School of Medicine
Department of Public Health
IU Simon Cancer Center Cancer Prevention and Control Program
Walther Cancer Institute
Behavioral Cooperative Oncology Group
Dr. Silvia Bigatti's research focus is coping with chronic illness and health disparities. She is interested in how individuals (particularly people with cancer and pain conditions) cope with disease, as well as the impact on patients and their families of culture, predisposing factors, individual resources, and environmental factors. Dr. Bigatti is a clinical psychologist and educator, as well as a researcher.
Gabriel Bosslet, MD, MA
School of Medicine
Dr. Bosslet is Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy, and Sleep Medicine and an affiliate faculty member at the Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics. In addition, he is the Associate Fellowship Director for Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Bosslet received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame and his M.D. from The Ohio State University. He completed his residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at The Ohio State University/Columbus Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. During his time as a resident, he served on the ethics committee for The Ohio State University Hospital, and received the Sarah Medwid Gorseline memorial award for enthusiasm in the practice of medicine, and the Arnold P. Gold Humanism in Medicine award. Dr. Bosslet completed his fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Indiana University, where he was chief fellow in his final year of training. During this time, he completed the Clinical Ethics Fellowship at the Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics, and a Master of Arts in Philosophy and Bioethics. Dr. Bosslet has interests in social media and professionalism, medical ethics surrounding end-of-life care, and teaching end-of-life communication skills. He recently co-chaired a multi-society statement through the American Thoracic Society entitled, "An official ATS/AACN/ACCP/ESICM/SCCM Policy Statement: Responding to Requests for Futile and Potentially Inappropriate Treatments in Intensive Care Units" that will be published later this year.
Deb Burns
Purdue School of Engineering and Technology @ IUPUI
Department of Music and Arts Technology
Associate Professor
Coordinator, Music Therapy Programs
Dr. Debra Burns' research program involves the development and exploration of potential benefits of music-based intervention for cancer patients across the disease trajectory and at various stages of life. Her background is music therapy, with two postdoctoral training awards (Walther Cancer Institute and the NIH). Dr. Burns currently is collaborating with a national hospice company to explore the integration and best practices of music therapy within hospice care.
Kenneth Cornetta, M.D.
School of Medicine
Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics
Dr. Ken Cornetta divides his efforts between research programs in the IU School of Medicine and serving as a palliative care physician at IUH Bloomington Hospital. His developing research interests are in two diverse areas: effective implementation of advance directives in the inpatient setting and the use of telecommunication to provide symptom management in rural Africa. Dr. Cornetta is board certification in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Internal Medicine and Hematology and also maintains a research program in the field of clinical gene therapy.
Larry Cripe, M.D.
School of Medicine
IU Hospital Palliative Care Program
Dr. Larry Cripe's current interdisciplinary research focus is on how people with life-limiting illness cope with their illness and the extent to which communication with medical oncologists influences their health care decisions and psychological adjustment. His essays explore issues confronting medical professionals near patients' end of life, and he is involved in several educational projects that address patient-provider communication near end of life. Dr. Cripe is the Director of Palliative Care for University Hospital, IU Heath.
Cheryl Crisp PhD, RN, PCNS-BC, CRRN
School of Nursing, Columbus Campus
Dr. Cheryl Crisp's research focuses on end-of-life conversations between parents and children with complex medical conditions including those who are dependent upon long-term ventilation. Her background is with families and children with complex medical conditions, pediatric rehabilitation, and severe and profound developmental disabilities. Dr. Crisp is currently and assistant professor of nursing at IUPUC.
Lyle Fettig, MD
School of Medicine
General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics
Dr. Lyle Fettig is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Department of Medicine/Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics. Dr. Fettig directs the IUSM Palliative Medicine Fellowship and works clinically with the Eskenazi Health Palliative Care Program. He has interests in education to improve the communication skills of clinicians and care of underserved populations. He currently serves as a principal educator for an IU Health Values Grant which offers intensive communication workshops for fellowship level physicians and nurse practitioners.
Greg Gramelspacher, M.D.
School of Medicine
General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics
Wishard Palliative Care Program
Dr. Greg Gramelspacher's focus is palliative care, including palliative care in Africa and underserved populations. He is involved in a pain study at Moi Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya; IN-PEACE (Dr. Sach's study of palliative care for people with dementia); and a photography project "Portraits of the Living: How Photography Can Enhance the Care of the Dying". Dr. Gramelspacher directs the Palliative Medicine Fellowship at IU School of Medicine and the Palliative Care Program at Wishard Health Services.
School of Medicine
Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics
Dr. Paul Helft's research interests include clinician–patient communication, ethical dimensions of difficult communication surrounding end of life care and planning, and the interdisciplinary aspects of clinician-patient-family communication. He is a clinical oncologist with advanced training in clinical medical ethics and expertise in advanced cancer patients and issues of prognostic and end of life communication. Dr. Helft directs the Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics.
Michin Hong, PhD
School of Social Work
Dr. Michin Hong is an Assistant Professor in the IU School of Social Work. She is interested in successful aging and dying especially for the baby boom generation and minority older adults. Her current research topics include death perception, end of life planning, and social and behavioral factors that affect successful aging.
Shelley Johns
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Dr. Shelley Johns' research focus is on expanding treatment options for adults with cancer-related fatigue and associated symptoms (e.g., depression, sleep disturbance, cognitive impairment). Her work is also exploring an innovative model of care designed to support patients with advanced-stage cancer, their family members, and their medical oncologists in having timely end-of-life discussions. Dr. Johns is a board certified clinical health psychologist who serves as a Research Scientist with Regenstrief Institute, Inc. and Indiana University Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research. She is also a member of the Palliative Medicine Fellowship Executive Committee at IU School of Medicine.
Karen Moody, MD, MS
Riley Hospital for Children
Dr. Karen Moody is the Director of Palliative Care and leads the newly forming Integrative Medicine and Palliative Care Team (I.M.P.A.C.T.) at Riley Children's Hospital. As Director of I.M.P.A.C.T. , she combines her extensive knowledge of pediatric palliative medicine with integrative medicine to effectively address the spiritual, physical, and psychological distress of patients and their families. Dr. Moody graduated from the State University of New York, Upstate Medical Center where she was awarded both the Academic Achievement in Preventative Medicine and the Harry A. Feldman, M.D. Preventative Medicine Award. She went on to complete her Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship training at New York University Hospital & Medical Center, where she received the Sidney Q. Cohlan, M.D. Pediatric Research Award. During her fellowship training, she simultaneously completed a Clinical Epidemiology & Health Services Research Fellowship and a Master of Science at Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Cornell University. She holds Board Certifications in Pediatrics, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Moody's interest in integrative medicine has led her to complete a Certification in Medical Acupuncture. She continues to conduct research in improving quality of life for pediatric hematology/oncology patients and has obtained funding from the NIH as well several other sources to support her research and clinical programs.
Erin Newton, MD
School of Medicine
Division of Hematology/Oncology
Dr. Erin Newton has a clinical interest in the intersection of oncology and palliative care. As a practitioner of both subspecialities, she has a keen sense of the importance excellent communication skills in patient experience, outcomes, and provider burnout. With others in the School of Medicine, she has partnered to provide educational opportunities for students, residents and fellows to learn and practice the skills of breaking bad news, addressing goals of care, and navigating transitions in care.
Susan Perkins PhD
School of Medicine
Division of Biostatistics
Dr. Susan Perkins has extensive statistical experience with study design, data analysis, and instrument development in both observational and intervention settings. She has worked on many research projects involving cancer and other life-threatening diseases, health services, quality of life, and epilepsy. Dr. Perkins is the Director of the Biostatistics Core for both the IU Simon Cancer Center and the IU Center for Enhancing Quality of Life in Chronic Diseases, and the Associate Director for the Design and Biostatistics Program of the Indiana CTSI.
Sandra Petronio, PhD
School of Liberal Arts
Professor of Communication Studies
School of Infomatics
Dr. Sandra Petronio's areas of expertise are in the management of privacy, disclosure, and confidentiality within content areas of health, family, and interpersonal communication. She is a Professor of Communication Studies in the School of Liberal Arts and the IU School of Medicine. She is also a Senior Affiliate Faculty member of the Charles Warren Fairbanks Center of Medical Ethics, Indiana University Health. Dr. Petronio is the Director of the IUPUI Chancellor's Translating Research into Practice (TRIP) Initiative.
Kevin Rand
School of Science
Dr. Kevin Rand's research interests lie at the intersection of social, personality, and clinical psychology, with a specific interest in the relationships among anxiety, depression, and efforts at coping with life stressors. He is interested in the self-regulating influences of hopeful and optimistic thinking within the context of a life-threatening illness, i.e., cancer, and hopes to incorporate hope and optimism into an overall model of stress and coping.
Sheri Robb
School of Nursing
Music Therapy
Dr. Sheri Robb's research program focuses on the development and testing of music-based interventions to manage distress, improve positive health outcomes, and prevent secondary psychosocial morbidity in children/adolescents with cancer and their parents. Her Contextual Support Model of Music Therapy guided development of two music-based interventions being tested for children/adolescents with cancer. Dr. Robb was recently appointed editor for the Journal of Music Therapy.
Zeynep Salih
School of Medicine
Division of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology
Riley Hospital for Children
Dr. Salih's research focuses on ethical issues and decision making during perinatal conversations for infants at limits of viability, as well as interprofessional (team) ethics education. Based on her background in bioethics and medical simulation, she envisions creating a curriculum where health care teams could learn and practice difficult end-of-life conversations while also reflecting on their own moral/ethical values, both as individuals and within a team. Dr. Salih is the Director for Ethics Curriculum for Neonatology Fellowship Program and Pediatrics Ethics Elective.
Alexia Torke, M.D.
School of Medicine
General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics
Evans Center for Spiritual and Religious Values in Healthcare
Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics
IU Center for Aging Research
Dr. Alexia Torke is interested in the ethical and communication and spiritual aspects of medical decision making. She conducts qualitative and quantitative research on how family members and other surrogates make major medical decisions for patients with impaired cognitive function. Dr. Torke is also the Director of the Evans Center for Spiritual and Religious Values in Healthcare and Associate Division Chief of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics.
Brownsyne Tucker-Edmonds
School of Medicine
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Dr. Tucker Edmonds' research interests are in social and cultural effects on patient-provider communication and decision-making. Her recent work focuses on patient-provider dynamics in the management of periviable (extremely premature) deliveries. Her long-term goal is to promote patient-centered care and improve the equity and quality of clinical outcomes for underserved women by improving the quality of communication they receive in clinical encounters. Dr. Tucker Edmonds is co-director of the MSIII OB/GYN Ethics Module and serves as the State Legislative Co-chair for the IN Section of ACOG.
Kathleen Unroe
School of Medicine
IU Center for Aging Research
Kathleen Unroe, MD, MHA, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Indiana University in Indianapolis and a Research Scientist with IU Center for Aging Research and Regenstrief Institute. She is a nursing home physician – her research, clinical and policy interests are focused on improving quality of care, particularly access to palliative and end-of-life care, for long stay nursing home residents. Dr. Unroe was awarded a 2014 Paul B. Beeson K23 Career Development Award to examine hospice use in nursing homes. She is directs OPTIMISTIC, an 8 year $30.3 million CMS funded demonstration project aimed at improving quality of care and reducing avoidable hospitalizations in Indiana nursing homes. Dr. Unroe is Principal Investigator of a John A. Hartford Foundation planning grant focused on OPTIMISTIC dissemination. She has also been funded by the National Palliative Care Research Center and was the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine 2014 Junior Investigator of the Year. She is Vice-Chair of the American Geriatrics Society Public Policy Committee. She is Chair of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Research Committee. She was a 2009-2010 Health and Aging Policy Fellow and had a placement in Health and Human Services, ASPE Office of Disability, Aging, and Long Term Care Policy. She is a Board Member of the Indiana Medical Directors Association and the Indiana Health Care Foundation.
Lindsay Weaver
School of Medicine
IU Department of Emergency Medicine
IU Palliative Care Program
Dr. Lindsay Weaver's research focus is on end-of-life and palliative care for patients in the emergency department. She is interested in improving transitions of care and recognizing patients with palliative care needs in the emergency department. Dr. Weaver works clinically in emergency medicine and palliative care and has advanced training in clinical medical ethics.
Lucia D. Wocial, PhD, RN
Nurse Ethicist
Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics co-chair
Ethics Consultation Service Subcommittee
Dr. Wocial's current research focuses on moral distress of professional caregivers, particularly in in-patient settings. She has expertise in ethics and difficult communication in ICU settings, particularly around surrogate decision making. Her extensive clinical background in neonatal ICU brings relevant expertise to her current research projects that address value-laden issues when considering limiting treatment interventions for PICU patients and decrease provider moral distress in those situations. Her numerous publications address a variety of clinical ethics-related issues. Dr. Wocial has twice received awards for outstanding teaching at the IUSON.


Lori Catalano

Lori Catalano, JD, MSN, CCNS, PCCN

School of Nursing
Lori Catalano is a pre-doctoral student in the IU School of Nursing, working with Dr. Susan Hickman. Lori has worked in cardiac care, nursing education, and as an associate attorney. She is certified as a Critical-Care Clinical Nurse Specialist and Progressive Care Nurse and is an assistant professor of clinical nursing at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing. Lori's research interest is end-of-life planning for patients with heart failure, focusing on early and continuing care planning.
Stacy Crane

Stacey Crane, MSN, RN, CCRP, CPON

School of Nursing
Stacey Crane is a doctoral student at the IU School of Nursing, working with Dr. Joan Haase. For the past six years Stacey has worked as a phase 1 oncology research nurse at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. She has an MSN in nursing informatics, focused on improving palliative care communication within the electronic medical record. Her research focus is the experience of pediatric oncology patients and their families during Phase 1 clinical trials, with an emphasis on palliative care use.


Laura Holtz

Laura Holtz, BS, CCRP

RESPECT Project Manager
Laura Holtz is a Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP). In addition to being the RESPECT project manager, Laura also is the Research Coordinator for several studies on advanced dementia and caregiver education and support at Regenstrief Institute, and the IU Center for Aging research.