Marshfield Clinic Health System has approved palliative medicine as a specialty, and all four faculty are specialty-trained, three in fellowships and one in an advanced degree program.
All faculty are ABHPM board certified or eligible. Institutional support is evidenced by salary support of 50% for Medical Director, 30% for Hospice Medical Director, and 50% for Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program Director. The core palliative medicine team includes nurses, social worker, chaplain, secretary, volunteers, dietician and discharge planning nurse. Interventional pain physicians assist frequently. Other participating disciplines include occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychiatry, clinical psychology, speech pathology, massage therapy, and pet therapy dogs.
Tomasz R. Okon, M.D.,
Program Director, Palliative Medicine Program
Dr. Okon joined the palliative medicine program and Marshfield Clinic in August 2002, having completed his Fellowship in General Internal Medicine / Palliative Medicine track at the University of Virginia. He has been active in research, particularly the development of a symptom assessment tool, and is very interested in database development for palliative medicine. He is a contributor to Up To Date Electronic Textbook with a chapter on Patient Evaluation in Palliative Care. He also maintains scholarly interest in theology and is currently developing his ideas on suffering in medicine.
Michael T. Claessens, M.D.,
Palliative Medicine Program
Dr. Claessens came to Marshfield in January 1999 specifically to start the palliative medicine program. He has fellowship training in both General Internal Medicine and Palliative Medicine. During his GIM Fellowship at Dartmouth, he participated in research on the Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatments (SUPPORT), as well as beginning his clinical palliative medicine training at the Royal Victoria Hospital Palliative Care Service in Montreal. He then spent eighteen months in a Palliative Medicine Fellowship at the University of Ottawa Institute of Palliative Care, from which he came to Marshfield. Since coming to Marshfield he has started a successful palliative medicine program at Saint Joseph's Hospital (now Marshfield Medical Center) and Marshfield Clinic.
Ajit O. Abraham, M.D.,
Dr. Abraham joined the Palliative Medicine Program in July 2013 after completing a one-year Palliative Medicine Fellowship as well as Internal Medicine residency with Marshfield Clinic.