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Prasanna Ananth, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Hematology/Oncology)

Research Summary

Dr. Ananth's research focuses on investigating ways to optimize supportive and palliative care for children with advanced cancer. Prior work explored how children with chronic, life-threatening illness utilize hospital resources in the last year of life; pediatric palliative care mitigates hospital use; enrollment in early phase clinical trials influences end-of-life care; and how providers, patients, and families perceive medical marijuana in pediatric oncology practice. Her ongoing work seeks to define attributes of high quality care for children with advanced cancer.

Extensive Research Description

Dr. Ananth's primary research agenda is to investigate mechanisms of optimizing supportive and palliative care for children with advanced cancer. Among adults with cancer, intense end-of-life care is defined by metrics such as hospitalizations in the last weeks of life and delayed hospice referral. No comparable quality measures exist for children with advanced cancer. In a published multi-center study, Dr. Ananth and her colleagues previously identified that children with cancer spend a substantial proportion of their last year of life admitted to the hospital, receiving interventions such as surgeries or mechanical ventilation. In two subsequent studies, they found that pediatric palliative care consultation may have a measurable impact on reducing hospital resource use and that enrollment in early phase clinical trials may influence timing of palliative care engagement. This has yielded her current research, in which she is developing patient- and family-centered, provider-informed quality measures that can be used to assess end-of-life care and develop prospective interventions.

Research Interests

Medical Oncology; Palliative Care; Pediatrics; Outcome Assessment, Health Care; Clinical Trials, Phase I as Topic; Medical Marijuana