Hospice & Palliative Medicine Fellowship

Faculty

John Liantonio, MD, MBA, HMDC

Bio: Dr. Liantonio is very excited to serve as Jefferson’s first Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program Director.  Originally from Queens, New York, he first moved to Philadelphia for Family Medicine residency training at Drexel University College of Medicine, followed by Geriatrics fellowship at Jefferson and then Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in NY.

Clinical Interests: His academic interests include development of palliative care educational curriculum for medical trainees across the Jefferson enterprise.  He is currently working on multiple quality improvement projects for the division as well as a review on hospice care in the prison population.  He is also working on completing his MBA from Temple University.

Personal Interests:  He is an avid traveler and has visited more than 20 countries and has many more on the bucket list.  When not travelling his other interests include, enjoying the food and nightlife scene of Philadelphia, spending time with friends and spinning!  He and his partner Nick live in center city with their dog, Ranger.

Gillian Love, MD

Bio: Gillian attended Penn State University then came to Philadelphia to attend medical school at Jefferson and has stayed ever since.  At Jefferson she completed family medicine residency followed by fellowships in geriatric medicine then hospice and palliative medicine.

Clinical Interest:  Gillian is passionate about providing care for older adults and loves that palliative medicine often includes working with older adults.  She finds fulfillment in the critical role of palliative care to assist patients and families through complex situations.  She is also involved with the Jefferson Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education and works with students from different colleges as part of interdisciplinary projects.

Personal Interest:  Outside of the hospital Gillian loves traveling, exploring new restaurants with friends, and playing tennis.  She recently moved to Fairmount and is excited to explore this area of the city.

Kathleen "Katie" Mechler, MD

Bio: Dr. Mechler joined the Jefferson Palliative Medicine team in October 2016. She grew up in Phoenix, AZ but moved East for medical school at Georgetown and just keeps moving up and down the NE corridor despite saying she hates the cold/snow so much. DC was followed by NYC where she lived and worked in Queens at Jamaica Hospital for her Family Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine training, and she stayed to work a few years as faculty in their fellowship program as well as overseeing population health & super-utilizer projects for their managed care population. Her husband’s job moved to Philly and she landed at Jefferson where she’s thrilled to work with such a talented and dedicated team.

Clinical Interest:  Her clinical interests include underserved populations, patient education, advance care planning, communication, and medical education. She is happy to help Jefferson establish their HPM fellowship program.

Personal Interest:  She enjoys doing home DIY projects to 90% completion, healthy cooking, long weekend bike rides, showing off pictures of Charlie and baby Abigail, and exploring free events in the city. 

Susan Parks, MD

Bio:  Dr. Parks is the Director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care at Jefferson in the Department of Family and Community Medicine.  She is originally from Haddonfield, NJ.  She went to medical school in Newark, NJ at UMDNJ New Jersey Medical School.  She matched at Jefferson in Family Medicine in 1994 and has remained here since.  She did a two-year fellowship in Geriatric Medicine and more recently became board-certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine in 2008.

Clinical Interests: Her academic interests include developing clinical and academic programs, academic leadership and improving advance care planning.  She helped develop the outpatient practice, Jefferson Geriatrics, which opened in January 2016.  She was recently named President of the Association of Directors of Academic Geriatric Programs (ADGAP) a national organization for Division Directors and Chiefs of Geriatrics

Personal Interests:  Her and her husband John and daughter Molly reside in Haddonfield, NJ.  They are avid sports fans.  She also enjoys playing tennis with her family, golf and running.  She also enjoys walking with friends. Their family loves to travel and most recently visited Spain this summer.

Kristine Swartz, MD

Bio: Dr. Swartz matriculated at Jefferson Medical College and completed family medicine training at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. She then went on to complete a Geriatric medicine fellowship here as well. She is boarded in Family Medicine, Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine.

Clinical Interest: Her academic interests include inpatient geriatric medicine, palliative care and geriatric oncology. She manages the inpatient geriatric consultation service, serves as attending one day a week on the inpatient palliative care service and is the co-director for the Senior Adult Oncology Center. She currently assists with the TJUH Falls committee, a newly formed delirium working group and has an interest in improving systems of care.

Personal Interest: She enjoys good food, travelling with her family, and spending time with friends. She recently relocated from Center City to embrace suburban life in New Jersey.

Margaret "Maggie" Kreher, MD

Bio: Dr. Kreher has celebrated one year at Jefferson!  She transitioned to Jefferson from Penn State Health one year ago after nearly ten years as medical director of Penn State Hershey MSMC Palliative Care.

Clinical Interests: Her academic interests include medical education across level of learner from medical student to fellow.   She is studying the process of medical decision making involving patients with ALS.  She is a regular inpatient consult attending and provides consultative support for the ALS program.

Personal Interests: She enjoys exploring her new neighborhood in South Philly and dining at her local neighborhood restaurant.  She enjoys growing tomatoes and herbs in pots on her deck.   When not in Philly, she can be found in one of two places:  on a paddle board in the Indian River Bay, or at Wake Forest University watching her daughter’s dance team performances.  

Adam Pennarola, MD

Bio: Dr. Pennarola attended medical school at the University of Connecticut, where he received MD and MPH degrees. He subsequently completed residency in internal medicine and fellowship in hospice/palliative medicine, both at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He is currently completing a research fellowship in palliative medicine and is an attending on the palliative care team. 

Clinical Interest:  His primary research interests are in palliative care education and in palliative care for patients with heart failure.  

Brooke Worster, MD

Bio: Dr. Worster grew up in central Pennsylvania and went to medical school in Philadelphia at Temple University and completed her internal medicine residency and was a chief resident after completing her residency at Temple as well. This is where she fell in love with treating underserved patients with serious illness.  Subsequently she completed a pain and palliative medicine fellowship in Boston, MA at the Harvard MGH/Dana Farber Palliative Care/Pain program and loves the challenges of creating a Supportive Medicine and Cancer Survivorship program spanning the SKCC enterprise as well as new endeavors in transitional, home base and nursing home palliative care.

Clinical Interests: Her academic interests include cancer pain management, substance abuse in cancer patients as well as the effect of early supportive medicine in cancer patients aimed to decrease costs of care. She is working on a funded grant to assess the effects of distress screening on cancer outcomes, cost of care and enrollment in hospice.  Additionally, she has a grant funded to study the effects of medical marijuana in patients with serious illness as well as assessing provider attitudes and knowledge surrounding medical marijuana.

Personal Interests:  She enjoys escaping to a beach, any beach, with her family.  Additionally, if she can sneak in a few minutes, she loves to run and compete in triathlons.  She loves to read and always appreciates a good book recommendation! She happily lives with her husband, two daughters and pooch in the Fitler Square neighborhood of Philadelphia. 

Advanced Practice Providers

Molly Hanson, CRNP

Bio: Originally from St. Paul, MN, Ms. Hanson relocated to Philadelphia to complete her nursing degree Thomas Jefferson University, where she also completed her Masters of Nursing. Molly also has a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from the University of Wisconsin Madison. She has previous nursing experience in cardiac critical care, prior to her work in palliative care. Molly joined the Jefferson Palliative Care team in January 2014.

Clinical Interests: Her clinical and academic interests include ethical and legal aspects of health care decision making, nursing education regarding end-of-life symptom management, and understanding moral distress amongst health care professionals. She is currently leading a project to reassess and amend the palliative opioid infusion protocol at Jefferson based on the most current evidence and recommendations.

Personal Interests: She enjoys spending time gardening in her community garden and attending summer block parties in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia, where she lives with her partner Rebecca and their two young children.

Jillian Thomas, CRNP

Bio: Ms. Thomas is a new Inpatient Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner. She graduated from Saint Joseph's University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Interdisciplinary Health Services then went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Thomas Jefferson University. She worked as a registered nurse on the inpatient Medical Oncology floor at Jefferson for nearly 6 years where she worked closely with patients admitted for chemotherapy. During this time, Jill completed her Master's Degree in Nursing at Jefferson and is now a new to practice Nurse Practitioner.

Clinical Interests: Jill hopes to build on the communication skills she developed as a bedside nurse to be able to serve as an advocate for patients and their family members during their most vulnerable moments. She looks forward to learning all that she can from the amazing providers on the Palliative Care team.

Maria Marvasso, CRNP

Bio: Maria is a nurse practitioner on the Palliative Care inpatient consult team at TJUH. She was born and raised in Philadelphia (Roxborough) and currently resides in Willow Grove. She completed her MSN at Thomas Jefferson University and has worked as an NP in Palliative Care at both Hahnemann University Hospital and Abington Hospital and also worked in inpatient hospice. She has previous nursing experience in cardiology/heart failure and has been working at Jefferson since 2013.

Clinical Interests: Maria's clinical and academic interests include cardiology and palliative care education for bedside nursing staff (specifically end of life symptom management). She is interested in developing palliative care and end of life education for nursing school curriculum.

Personal Interests:  In her spare time, Maria enjoys spending time with her friends, family and boyfriend. She also has a dog, Zoey. She enjoys trying new food/restaurants, cooking and traveling to the beach and mountains. Her goal is to start traveling more.

Lauren LaTourette, LSW

Bio: Ms. LaTourette is a social worker who joined the Palliative Care inpatient consult team in January 2019.  She is originally from the upstate South Carolina area and has called Philadelphia home now for two years.  Lauren completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at Clemson University and earned her Master of Social Work degree at The University of Georgia. 

Clinical Interests: She has previously worked in both mental health and addictions. She has an interest in trauma and its affects across the life span and incorporating wellness initiatives within the palliative care service.

Personal Interests: She lives in Center City Philadelphia with her husband and two cats. During her free time, she enjoys running, watching and attending sporting events, hiking, and playing with her two cats Bert and Ernie.  

Interdisciplinary Team & Additional Fellowship Faculty

Fellowship Coordinator
Janet Long

Program Coordinator
Denise Doyle

Jefferson Interdisciplinary team
Danielle Tumulo, Child Life Specialist
Emily Hajjar, Pharmacy
Bob Koeller, Social Work
Stephanie Dobak MS, RD, Nutrition Support
Mildred “Mickey” Hoch, Pastoral Care

Abington Hospice Team (Inpatient and Home Hospice)
Maurice Gross, MD
Carl Wenzel, MD

Vitas Hospice
Debra Vermette, MD

A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children (Pediatric Palliative Care)
Carly Levy, MD
Elissa Miller, MD

The Hill at Whitemarsh (Long Term Care Site)
Danielle Snyderman, MD