Paul Han:
Communicating Prognostic Information in Life-Limiting Illness: Needs and Challenges

Prognostic information is increasingly viewed as an essential element of high-quality care for patients with advanced cancer and other life-limiting illnesses. However, the communication of prognostic information poses several problems: it is not always desired by patients, embodies significant uncertainty, and may not always be needed. This talk will explore these problems and their implications for clinical care and research.

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Dr. Paul Han is a Senior Scientist in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute, and maintains an appointment as a Visiting Scientist at the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at Maine Medical Center Research Institute. Previously, he served as the Director of CORE and faculty at Tufts University School of Medicine from 2010 to 2020. Dr. Han is a behavioral and health services researcher and board-certified general internist and palliative care physician. He received an M.D. from the New York University School of Medicine, and an M.A. in Bioethics and an M.P.H. from the University of Pittsburgh. He completed Internal Medicine residency training at UCLA, and a fellowship in cancer prevention and control at the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Han’s research program focuses on understanding and improving the communication and management of uncertainty in health care, and his work bridges the disciplines of behavioral and health services research. His specific research projects focus on risk communication, shared decision making, and predictive modeling, and examine clinical problems in cancer care, genomic medicine, and palliative and end-of-life care. Dr. Han served as Principal Investigator of the Maine Lung Cancer Coalition, a statewide lung cancer prevention and screening program funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, the Maine Cancer Foundation, and the Maine Economic Improvement Fund. He also led MMC’s collaboration on the Maine Cancer Genomics Initiative, a statewide program of The Jackson Laboratory, aimed at advancing cancer genomic testing in oncology care. Dr. Han has authored over 150 papers in the peer-reviewed medical literature, and is actively involved in initiatives to promote shared decision making and to teach risk communication skills to medical students and physicians.