Division of Geriatric Medicine & Palliative Care


Name: Susan M. Parks, MD
  • Director, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care
  • Professor
Position: Department of Family & Community Medicine


The mission of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care is to improve the lives of older persons and those with serious illnesses by partnering with all patients, families, and all communities.


Model excellence in collaboration, inclusion and person- centered healthcare.

What is Geriatric Medicine?

Geriatrics is the branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in older people and the problems specific to aging. There is no specific age cutoff to be considered “geriatric”.  There are certain conditions or syndromes that occur more commonly as people get older including memory loss (dementia), falls and depression.  Geriatricians are doctors that specialize in care of older people and helping manage these specific syndromes and other medical issues.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness.  This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness.  The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative Medicine providers specialize in communication, establishing goals of care, advance care planning, and pain and symptom management.

Division of Geriatric Medicine & Palliative Care

Educational Programs

Geriatric Fellowship Program – Fellowship Director, Kristine Swartz, MD.  This program has had 70 graduates since its inception in 1991.  The geriatric fellowship program has achieved national prominence through our leadership at the American Geriatrics Society and Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs (AGS/ADGAP).  Our Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program has two fellows per year.  The fellows work at all the clinical programs listed above.

Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program – Fellowship Director, John Liantonio, MD. Our Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program has two fellows per year. The fellows see patients at Jefferson University Hospital as well as in our outpatient clinics, long term care settings, and in the community with our multiple hospice partners.

Research: Our Division is committed to excellence in research in both Geriatrics and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Please see our current list of Division research and scholarly activities for more information.

The Division of Geriatric Medicine & Palliative Care
Clinical Programs

The Center for Healthy Aging – our outpatient clinical practice is dedicated to providing team-based, primary care for older patients.  Our team includes: physicians, nurse practitioner, medical assistants, front desk staff, care coordinator, behavioral health consultant, and clinical pharmacist with expertise in geriatrics.

Memory and Aging Programs include:

  • Memory Evaluation Consultation 
  • Home Visit Program – Complex Care @ Home and Primary Care @ Home
  • Healthy Aging Program – a free workshop series open to the community
  • Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment Program – internal referrals only
  • Outpatient Palliative Care – internal referrals only for non-cancer palliative care

Geriatric Consultation Service – an in-patient service at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Jefferson Hospital for the Neurosciences.  This service specializes in delirium reduction, falls prevention and deprescribing.

Senior Adult Oncology Center – geriatricians from our Division work collaboratively with medical oncologists and an interprofessional team.  The team assesses patient benefits/risks for a variety of oncology treatment options.

The Hill at Whitemarsh – our Division provides medical services and medical direction at The Hill at Whitemarsh, a continuing care retirement community in Lafayette Hill, PA.

Palliative Care In-Patient Consultation Service – this interprofessional team includes: physicians, nurse practitioners and a social worker.  This team provides consultation at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Jefferson Hospital for Neurosciences.  This team is dedicated to providing consulting teams and patients/families with outstanding communication and recommendations regarding pain and symptom management.

The Neu Center for Supportive Medicine and Cancer Survivorship – this Center is dedicated to the provision of outpatient palliative care for the Department of Medical Oncology and the Kimmel Cancer Center.