Shireen Heidari, MD is a palliative care and family medicine physician. She works as part of the inpatient palliative care consult team providing complex symptom management and support for patients and families facing any stage of a serious illness. Dr. Heidari is the program director for the Stanford University Hospice and Palliative Fellowship. She was also the clinical lead for the Stanford site of the PERIOP-PC Study, which involved collaboration with the surgical department to evaluate the impact of early palliative care support for patients and family members preparing for major upper gastrointestinal cancer surgery.
Dr. Heidari has written about the importance of human connection and stigma around healthcare workers seeking help for their mental health in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, and The Intima. She hopes that by sharing her own story, she can continue being part of this conversation as we advocate for culture change in medicine and more sustainable practice.
Before moving to northern California, Dr. Heidari attended medical school at Boston University, completed her residency at UC San Diego where she served as chief resident, followed by palliative fellowship at UCLA. Her interests include early palliative care integration, narrative medicine, and expanding primary palliative care skills for all clinicians. Outside of her clinical and mentorship work, she is likely writing creatively or outside chasing her border collie.
- Palliative Medicine
Clinical Assistant Professor, Medicine - Primary Care and Population Health
Program Director, Stanford University Hospice and Palliative Fellowship Training Program (2022 - Present)
Honors & Awards
Annual Division Teaching Award, Stanford Medicine - Division of Primary Care and Population Health (2020)
Chief Resident, Family Medicine, University of California, San Diego (2014-2015)
Tomorrow’s Leader Award, American Academy of Family Physicians (2013)
Member, Gold Humanism Honor Society (2011-present)
Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations
Co-Chair Elect, Education Special Interest Group, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) (2023 - Present)
Member, Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) Wellness Committee (2022 - Present)
Member, Pegasus Physician Writers at Stanford (2016 - Present)
Member, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) (2015 - Present)
Member, American Medical Association (AMA) (2012 - Present)
Member, American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) (2012 - 2020)
Medical Education: Boston University School of Medicine (2012) MA
Board Certification: American Board of Family Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine (2016)
Fellowship: University of California, Los Angeles CA
Board Certification: American Board of Family Medicine, Family Medicine (2015)
Chief Resident, University of California San Diego, Family Medicine
Residency: University of California San Diego (2015) CA
Perioperative Palliative Care Surrounding Cancer Surgery for Patients & Their Family Members
The study goal is to compare surgeon-palliative care team co-management, versus surgeon alone management, of patients and family members preparing for major upper gastrointestinal cancer surgery. The study also aims to explore, using qualitative methods, the impact of surgeon-palliative care team co-management versus surgeon alone management on the perioperative care experience for patients, family members, surgeons, and palliative care clinicians.
Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial. For more information, please contact Rachel Siden, 650-724-6066.
Effect of Perioperative Palliative Care on Health-Related Quality of Life Among Patients Undergoing Surgery for Cancer: A Randomized Clinical Trial.
JAMA network open
2023; 6 (5): e2314660
Involvement of palliative care specialists in the care of medical oncology patients has been repeatedly observed to improve patient-reported outcomes, but there is no analogous research in surgical oncology populations.To determine whether surgeon-palliative care team comanagement, compared with surgeon team alone management, improves patient-reported perioperative outcomes among patients pursuing curative-intent surgery for high morbidity and mortality upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancers.From October 20, 2018, to March 31, 2022, a patient-randomized clinical trial was conducted with patients and clinicians nonblinded but the analysis team blinded to allocation. The trial was conducted in 5 geographically diverse academic medical centers in the US. Individuals pursuing curative-intent surgery for an upper GI cancer who had received no previous specialist palliative care were eligible. Surgeons were encouraged to offer participation to all eligible patients.Surgeon-palliative care comanagement patients met with palliative care either in person or via telephone before surgery, 1 week after surgery, and 1, 2, and 3 months after surgery. For patients in the surgeon-alone group, surgeons were encouraged to follow National Comprehensive Cancer Network-recommended triggers for palliative care consultation.The primary outcome of the trial was patient-reported health-related quality of life at 3 months following the operation. Secondary outcomes were patient-reported mental and physical distress. Intention-to-treat analysis was performed.In total, 359 patients (175 [48.7%] men; mean [SD] age, 64.6 [10.7] years) were randomized to surgeon-alone (n = 177) or surgeon-palliative care comanagement (n = 182), with most patients (206 [57.4%]) undergoing pancreatic cancer surgery. No adverse events were associated with the intervention, and 11% of patients in the surgeon-alone and 90% in the surgeon-palliative care comanagement groups received palliative care consultation. There was no significant difference between study arms in outcomes at 3 months following the operation in patient-reported health-related quality of life (mean [SD], 138.54 [28.28] vs 136.90 [28.96]; P = .62), mental health (mean [SD], -0.07 [0.87] vs -0.07 [0.84]; P = .98), or overall number of deaths (6 [3.7%] vs 7 [4.1%]; P > .99).To date, this is the first multisite randomized clinical trial to evaluate perioperative palliative care and the earliest integration of palliative care into cancer care. Unlike in medical oncology practice, the data from this trial do not suggest palliative care-associated improvements in patient-reported outcomes among patients pursuing curative-intent surgeries for upper GI cancers.ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03611309.
View details for DOI 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.14660
View details for PubMedID 37256623
Finding a New Mantra.
The New England journal of medicine
View details for DOI 10.1056/NEJMp2206851
View details for PubMedID 36094841
Touch, and the absence of it.
The Lancet. Respiratory medicine
View details for DOI 10.1016/S2213-2600(21)00028-X
View details for PubMedID 33493445