Diane E. Meier, MD, FACP, FAAHPM

Dr. Diane E. Meier’s transformative contributions to the field of palliative care have permanently changed the landscape of mainstream American medicine. She is known as an organizational trailblazer, a pioneering clinician, an innovative medical educator, and an influential author, researcher, advocate, and thought leader.

As founder and director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC)—a national organization dedicated to increasing the number and quality of palliative care programs in the United States—Dr. Meier has put palliative care on the map. In the last ten years alone, the number of palliative care programs in U.S. hospitals has more than tripled, moving CAPC closer to its goal of bringing palliative care everywhere.

As part of her professional mission, Dr. Meier has made a career-long commitment to palliative care education, research, and advocacy. She is a faculty member at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, where she currently is Catherine Gaisman Professor of Medical Ethics, and Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine. She founded and directed the Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute at Mount Sinai, from 1997 until 2011.

Dr. Meier has published several books and more than 200 original peer-reviewed papers. Her most recent book, Meeting the Needs of Older Adults with Serious Illness: Challenges and Opportunities in the Age of Health Care Reform, was published by Humana in 2014. She edited the first textbook on geriatric palliative care, as well as four editions of Geriatric Medicine.

Widely regarded as a preeminent change agent, Dr. Meier has received numerous awards that recognize and celebrate her achievements. Chief among these is the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, which she received in 2008; this $500,000, no-strings-attached “genius grant” is awarded to individuals who have proven exceptional creativity in their work and show promise to do more.

Since that time, Dr. Meier has been awarded a multitude of additional honors. Most recently, in 2017 she became the thirty-second recipient of the National Academy of Medicine’s Gustav O. Lienhard Award for Advancement of Health Care. This award recognized Dr. Meier’s achievements in driving awareness and adoption of palliative care services in the United States, and her success in spurring impressive growth in the nation’s palliative care capacity. Also in 2017 Dr. Meier was named TRUST award recipient by the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) of the American Hospital Association. This annual award is given to a visionary health care leader who has made significant contributions to improving the U.S. health care delivery system, and who symbolizes HRET’s mission to use research and education to improve health care quality in policy and practice.

Diane E. Meier received her BA from Oberlin College and her MD from Northwestern University Medical School. She completed her residency and fellowship training at Oregon Health Sciences University. She has been on the faculty of the Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, and the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai since 1983. She lives in New York City.


  • Kelley AS, Meier DE, (eds.). Meeting the Needs of Older Adults with Serious Illness: Challenges and Opportunities in the Age of Health Care Reform. Humana Press: 2014. ISBN 9781493904068
  • Hughes RG, Isaacs SL, Meier DE, (eds). Palliative Care: Transforming the Care of Serious Illness. Wiley/Jossey-Bass: March 2010. ISBN 9780470527177
  • Cassel CK, Leipzig RM, Cohen HJ, Larson EB, Meier DE, (eds). Geriatric Medicine. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN 0387955143
  • Cassel CK, Leipzig RM, Cohen HJ, Larson EB, Meier DE, eds. Geriatric Medicine: An Evidence-Based Approach. 4th ed. New York: Springer-Verlag, 2003. ISBN 0387955143
  • Morrison RS, Meier DE (eds). Geriatric Palliative Care. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN 0195141911

Selected Publications:

  • Meier DE, Lim B, Carlson MD. Raising the standard: palliative care in nursing homes. Health Affairs (Millwood) 2010 Jan-Feb;29(1):136-40. PMID 20048372
  • Adler ED, Goldfinger JZ, Kalman J, Park ME, Meier DE. Palliative care in the treatment of advanced heart failure. Circulation 2009 Dec 22;120(25):2597-606. Review. PMID 20026792
  • Weissman DE, Meier DE. Operational features for hospital palliative care programs: consensus recommendations. Journal of Palliative Medicine 2008 Nov;11(9):1189-94. PMID 19021479
  • Morrison RS, Meier DE, Fischberg D, Moore C, Degenholtz H, Litke A, Maroney-Galin C, Siu AL. Improving the management of pain in hospitalized adults. Archives of Internal Medicine 2006;166:1033-1039.
  • Meier DE. Palliative care as a quality improvement strategy for advanced, chronic illness. Journal of Healthcare Quality 2005;27: 33-39.
  • Meier, DE; Morrison, RS. Palliative Care. New England Journal of Medicine 2004 (June)
  • Meier DE; Thar W; Jordan A; Goldhirsch SL; Siu A; Morrison RS. Integrating case management and palliative care. Journal of Palliative Medicine 2004; Feb. 7(1):119-134
  • Meier DE, Morrison RS. Autonomy reconsidered. New England Journal of Medicine 2002 Apr 4;346(14):1087-1089
  • Meier DE, Back AL, Morrison RS. The inner life of physicians and care of the seriously ill. JAMA 2001 Dec 19;286(23):3007-3014
  • Morrison R, Siu A, Leipzig R, Cassel C, Meier D. The hard task of improving the quality of care at the end of life. Archives of Internal Medicine 2000 Mar 27;160(6):743-7

Selected Original Peer-Reviewed Reports:

  • Cassel JB, Spragens L, Bowman B, Rogers M, Meier DE. Palliative Care Leadership Centers are key to the diffusion of palliative care innovation. Health Affairs 2018;37:231-9.
  • Meier DE, Back AL, Berman A, Block SD, Corrigan JM, Morrison RS. A national strategy for palliative care. Health Affairs 2017;36(7):1265-73.
  • Spetz J, Dudley N, Trupin L, Rogers M, Meier DE, Dumanovsky T. Few hospital palliative care teams meet national staffing recommendations. Health Affairs 2016;35:1690-7.
  • Meier DE. Measuring quality of care for the sickest patients. NEJM Catalyst February 2016 - http://catalyst.nejm.org/measuring-quality-of-care-for-the-sickest-patients/
  • Dumanovsky T, Rogers M, Spragens LH, Morrison RS, Meier DE. Impact of staffing on access to palliative care in U.S. hospitals. Journal of Palliative Medicine 2015;18:998-9.
  • Peter May, Melissa M Garrido, J Brian Cassel, Amy Kelley, Diane E. Meier, Charles Normand, Thomas J Smith, Lee Stefanis, and R. Sean Morrison. Prospective cohort study of hospital palliative care teams for inpatients with advanced cancer: earlier consultation is associated with larger cost-saving effect. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2015;33:1-10.
  • Meier DE. Focusing together on the needs of the sickest 5%, who drive half of all healthcare spending. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2014;62:1970-72.
  • Meier DE. ‘I don’t want Jenny to think I’m abandoning her’: views on overtreatment. Health Affairs 2014;33(8):1492
  • Tamura MK, Meier DE. Five policies to promote palliative care for patients with end stage renal disease. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 2013, June 6.
  • Unroe K, Meier DE. Quality of hospice care for individuals with dementia. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2013; 61:1212-14.
  • Smith TJ, Temin S, Alesi ER, Abernethy AP, Balboni TA, Basch EM, Ferrell BR, Loscalzo M, Meier DE et al. American Society of Clinical Oncology provisional clinical opinion: the integration of palliative care into standard oncology care. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2012;30:880-7.
  • Morrison RS, Augustin R, Souvanna P, Meier DE. America’s care of serious illness: a state-by-state report card on access to palliative care in our nation’s hospitals. Journal of Palliative Medicine 2011; 14:1094-6.
  • Meier DE. Increased access to palliative care and hospice: Opportunities to improve value in healthcare. Millbank Quarterly 2011;89:343-380.
  • Morrison RS, Dietrich J, Ladwig S, Quill T, Sacco J, Tangeman J, Meier DE. Palliative care consultation teams reduce hospital costs for Medicaid beneficiaries. Health Affairs 2011;30:454-463.
  • Carlson MD, Lim B, Meier DE. Strategies and innovations for delivering palliative care in nursing homes. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association 2011;12:91-98.
  • Kelley A, Meier DE. Palliative care: A shifting paradigm. New England Journal of Medicine 2010;363:781-2.
  • Meier DE, Lim B, Carlson, MD. Raising the standard: Palliative care in nursing homes. Health Affairs 2010;29:136-40.

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Available to non-members

An In-Depth Look At Palliative Care And Its Services

Defining palliative care, which patients need it, how it is delivered, and how palliative care diff…

Course 1: Comprehensive Pain Assessment

Conducting a comprehensive pain assessment to guide safe and effective treatment.

Course 2: Matching the Drug Class to the Pain

Selecting a safe and appropriate analgesic for patients with serious illness based on the pain asse…

Course 3: Patient Factors that Influence Prescribing Decisions

Patient and family factors that influence prescribing decisions for patients with serious illness.

Course 4: Assessing Risk for Opioid Substance Use Disorder

Integrating routine risk assessment for substance use disorder when considering or using opioid the…

Course 5: Opioid Trials: Determining Design, Efficacy, and Safety

Designing a safe and effective opioid trial for the patient with serious illness.

Course 6: Prescribing An Opioid

Safe and appropriate opioid prescribing for the opioid-naive patient with serious illness.

Course 7: Prescribing Short-Acting Opioids: Four Case Studies

Four indications for using short-acting opioids.

Course 8: Monitoring for Opioid Efficacy, Side Effects, and Substance Use Disorder

Ongoing evaluation of opioid benefits, risks, and side effects for the patient with serious illness.

Course 9: Converting from Short-Acting to Long-Acting Opioids

Guidance on safe conversion to long-acting opioids for patients with serious illness.

Course 10: Prescribing Practice and Opioid Conversions

Prescribing practice for long half-life opioids, converting from one opioid to another, and account…

Course 11: Advanced Conversions and Opioid Side Effects

Changing the route of opioid delivery, rotating opioids, advanced opioid conversions, and tapering …

Course 12: Special Populations And Patient-Controlled Analgesia

Safe opioid prescribing in older adults, cognitively impaired patients, children, and the imminentl…

Course 13: Managing Pain in Patients At Risk for Substance Use Disorder

Pain management for patients with serious illness and high risk for substance use disorder, includi…

Course 14: Pain Management: Putting it All Together

Safe opioid prescribing for patients with serious illness, using the Federation of State Medical Bo…

Nausea and Vomiting

Identifying and managing nausea and vomiting for patients living with serious illness and their car…


Reducing physical and emotional suffering from dyspnea for patients with serious illness.


Assessing and managing constipation in people with serious illness.


Prevalence, screening recommendations, and evidence-based strategies to treat anxiety in patients w…


Prevalence, screening recommendations, and evidence-based strategies to treat depression in patient…

Delivering Serious News

Communicating serious clinical news to patients and families.

Discussing Prognosis

How to discuss patient prognosis in a manner that is sensitive, clear, and supportive.

Clarifying Goals of Care

Strategies for eliciting patient goals and preferences to inform treatment decisions.

Conducting a Family Meeting

Communication techniques for an effective family meeting.

Advance Care Planning Conversations

How to initiate and conduct conversations about advance care planning.

Discussing Your Patient’s Dementia Diagnosis

Disclosing a dementia diagnosis to patients and caregivers in a way that is sensitive, clear, and s…

Communicating About What to Expect as Dementia Progresses

Helping patients and caregivers understand challenges they may face as dementia worsens.

Planning for the Future with People Living with Dementia and Their Caregivers

Enabling patients and caregivers to plan ahead for the financial, legal, and other impacts of demen…

Available to non-members

Supporting the Caregivers of People Living with Dementia

Assessing for caregiver burden and connecting caregivers to needed support systems.

Understanding and Responding to Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia

Strategies for understanding and addressing the sources of behavioral symptoms for people living wi…

Mood and Sleep Disturbances in People Living with Dementia

Addressing common sources of suffering for people living with dementia.

Critical Decisions in Advanced Dementia

Addressing common sources of suffering for people living with advanced dementia.

Dementia: Relieving Suffering for Patients and Families

Identifying and addressing the sources of suffering for patients and families living with dementia.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Assessing and addressing sources of suffering for people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary …

Heart Failure

Interventions to reduce suffering along the disease trajectory for people living with congestive he…

Communicating with Treating Clinicians: How Medical Directors Can Support Best Care for the Seriously Ill

Guidance for collaborating with treating providers to ensure that members who would benefit receive…

Care Management for Seriously Ill Patients: Addressing Gaps in Care

Communication and assessment techniques for case managers to elicit goals of care and address suffe…

A Palliative Approach to Care for Direct Care Workers

The role of the direct care worker in observing and reporting suffering in patients with serious il…

Supporting the Family Caregiver: The Burden of Serious Illness

Assessing and supporting caregivers of people with serious illness.

Care Coordination

Guidance for all clinicians on improving communication and ensuring smooth transitions of care for …

Needs Assessment for the Hospital Palliative Care Program

Evaluating patient need, service requirements, and stakeholder priorities for the inpatient program.

Hospital Palliative Care Program Design

Incorporating needs assessment and stakeholder priorities into design of a high-quality inpatient p…

Building the Business Plan for Your Hospital Program

Building a budget and a business plan for the inpatient program. Includes business planning tools.

Introduction to Palliative Care in the Community

Defining community-based palliative care: which patients need it, how it is delivered, and how it d…

Needs Assessment: Ensuring Successful Community-Based Palliative Care

Evaluating patient need, service requirements, care settings, and stakeholder priorities for the co…

Office-Based Palliative Care Program Design

Designing and implementing an office-based palliative care program, including clinical model and op…

Program Design for Palliative Care Delivered in the Home

Translating needs assessment into service design for the community-based palliative care program.

Building the Business Plan for Community-Based Palliative Care

Building a budget and a business plan for the community-based program. Includes business planning t…

Improving Team Performance

Strategic planning for new or veteran programs, and a framework for identification of barriers to t…

Consult Etiquette: Communicating with Referring Providers

Guidance for palliative care teams to build collaborative relationships with referrers.


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