• David Casarett

David J. Casarett, MD, MA

  • Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine Director of Hospice and Palliative Care, University of Pennsylvania Health System
  • Email: casarett@upenn.edu


Dr. Casarett’s major research interest is understanding and improving the way that health systems care for patients near the end of life. His work has included studies of hospice and hospice alternatives, as well as a randomized controlled trial of a decision aid to improve end of life care. Dr. Casarett has been the PI for a nationwide study to develop a valid and reliable technique to assess the quality of end-of-life care that the Veterans’ Administration provides, as well as for NIH- and VA-funded projects to understand how end-of-life services can be more patient-focused.

Dr. Casarett is the Principal Investigator for CHOICE (Coalition of Hospices Organized to Investigate Comparative Effectiveness), a national research network whose goal is to define safe and effective hospice care. He is also the recipient of a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation grant for a program (CLAIM: Comprehensive Longitudinal Advanced Illness Management) to improve the care of patients with advanced cancer. Dr. Casarett’s research has been supported by the VA, NIH, AHRQ, the Paul Beeson Physician Scholars Program, and by grants from the Hartford Foundation, the Aetna Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, and the Greenwall Foundation.

Dr. Casarett is also a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor given by the US government to researchers in the early stages of their careers.

Selected Publications

Casarett, DJ:

2010. Last Acts: Discovering Possibility and Opportunity at the End of Life. Simon & Schuster.

Casarett DJ:

2011. "Rethinking hospice eligibility criteria." JAMA, 305(10):1031-2.

Casarett D, Johnson M, Smith D, Richardson D:

2011. "The optimal delivery of palliative care: a national comparison of the outcomes of consultation teams vs inpatient units." Archives of Internal Medicine, 171(7): 649-55.

Fishman J, Ten Have T, Casarett D:

2010. "Cancer and the media: how does the news report on treatment and outcomes?" Archives of Internal Medicine, 170(6): 515-8.

Casarett D, Fishman JM, Lu HL, O’Dwyer PJ, Barg FK, Naylor MD, Asch DA:

2009. "The terrible choice: re-evaluating hospice eligibility criteria for cancer." Journal of Clinical Oncology, 27(6): 953-9. PMC Journal- In Process. PMID: 19114698

Casarett D, Quill TE:

2007. "'I’m not ready for hospice': Strategies for timely and effective hospice discussions." Annals of Internal Medicine, 146(6): 443-449.

Casarett D, Van Ness P, O’Leary J, Fried T:

2006. "Are patient preferences for life-sustaining treatment really a barrier to hospice enrollment for older adults with serious illness?" Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 54: 472-78.

Casarett D, Fishman J, Pickard A, Asch DA:

2005. "Epidemiology and prognosis of coma in daytime television dramas." British Medical Journal, 331: 1537-39.

Casarett D, Kapo J, Caplan A:

2005. "The appropriate use of artificial nutrition and hydration: fundamental principles and recommendations for the future." New England Journal of Medicine, 353: 2607-2612.

Casarett D, Karlawish J, Morales K, Crowley R, Mirsch T, Asch DA:

2005. "Improving the use of hospice services in nursing homes: A randomized controlled trial." Journal of the American Medical Association, 294: 211-217.


Case Western Reserve University, MD

Case Western Reserve University, MA, Anthropology

Swarthmore College, BA, Anthropology

CLAIM (Comprehensive Longitudinal Advanced Illness Management)

Growing evidence has identified numerous problems in the care of seriously ill patients with cancer. Many patients, and their families, experience unnecessary burdens and suffering, and receive treatments that are costly and ineffective. Although some benefit from hospice, many more continue to seek aggressive life-sustaining treatment until very late in the course of illness, and are not eligible for hospice. CLAIM (Comprehensive Longitudinal Advanced Illness Management) is a $4.3 million project funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide a comprehensive set of palliative care services to patients who are not yet ready to enroll in hospice.