Kathleen Tschantz Unroe, MD, MHA, was a Geriatric Medicine Fellow at Duke University Medical Center and the Durham VA GRECC when she participated in the HAPF program. She is currently an AssociateProfessor at Indiana University, with a clinical, research, and policy focus on nursing home residents. Her particular focus is palliative care and hospice in long term care settings. She is project director of a CMSCenter for Innovations clinical demonstration project – OPTIMISTIC (Optimizing Patient Transfers, Improving Medical Quality, Impacting Symptoms: Transforming Institutional Care) – a $30.3 million project running from 2012-2020, currently in 40 nursing facilities in Indiana. The primary goal of the project is reduction of avoidable hospitalizations of long stay nursing home residents. In 2018, she founded a health care start-up to disseminate the successful OPTIMISTIC clinical care model. She has had National Palliative Care Research Center, John A. Hartford Foundation and NIH funding for her work, including a pragmatic randomized clinical trial of Advance Care Planning in nursing facilities. She had an NIA Beeson K23 Career Development Award.
She completed her Internal Medicine training at Duke University. She obtained her MD at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health with a Specialization in Aging. Dr. Unroe also pursued her Masters in Health Administration at Ohio State because of her interests in long term care. Prior to medical school, she worked at AARP’s Public Policy Institute as a research assistant.
During her HAPF fellowship, Dr. Unroe worked on several issues including the policy implications of avoidable hospitalizations of nursing home residents.