Current Research & Publications

F. Amos Bailey, MD

Dr. Amos Bailey is an Internist and Medical Oncologist. In 1989, he began to work in Home Hospice in West Virginia and educated himself in Hospice and Palliative Care and then founded the Balm of Gilead Palliative Care Program at the Cooper Green Hospital. In 2001 he was recruited to establish the Safe Harbor Palliative Care Program at the Birmingham VAMC and the UAB Section for Palliative Care.  Since that time he has focused on education and training in hospice and palliative care for medical students, residents, fellows, and other clinical providers. Dr. Bailey is collaborating with Dr. Kathryn Burgio and the other members of the research team on several projects, including a recently completed, multi-site, HSR&D-funded Merit Review award entitled, "Intervention to Improve Care at Life's End in VA Medical Centers” BEACON.  Currently he is working on projects to use E-learning in the VA for just-in-time education in palliative care, implementation of BEACON intervention both within an outside the VA and research on use of Hospice Emergency Kits to facilitate honoring patient preference for care in the home at end-of-life.

Please click here for Dr. Bailey's publications.

Marie Bakitas, DNSc, APRN, NP-C, AOCN, ACHPN, FAAN

Marie Bakitas, DNSc, APRN, FAAN is on the faculty of the UAB School of Nursing as the Marie L. O’Koren Endowed Chair and Professor with a secondary appointment in the UAB School of Medicine. She is also associate director of the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care. Dr. Bakitas has sustained scholarship in pain and symptom management and palliative care research, participating in 27 funded research grants and serving as principal investigator on 12 of these grants. Her most recent R01 award from the National Institute of Nursing Research is for an in-progress palliative care randomized clinical intervention trial to determine the effectiveness of a phone-based palliative care intervention for rural cancer patients and caregivers. Her current program of research has expanded to include Implementation Science approaches and extension of palliative care to patients with heart failure. She is formerly of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice where she continues as a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine.  

Current Projects:

  • UAB received a four year grant from the American Cancer Society to study whether a phone-based palliative care intervention can help reduce access disparities for veterans, minorities and patients from rural areas who have advanced cancer. For more information follow this link.


  • ENABLE: CHF-PC (Comprehensive Heartcare For Patients and Caregivers)

National heart and palliative care organizations support early palliative care in advanced heart failure (HF) even though significant barriers have limited HF patients’ palliative care access. ENABLE (Educate, Nurture, Advise, Before Life Ends) was able to overcome such barriers and achieve improved quality of life (QOL), depression, and survival outcomes in advanced cancer patients. This 2-site (Lebanon, NH and Birmingham, AL) single arm summative evaluation trial with 50 HF patient/caregiver dyads  will determine feasibility of recruiting and retaining patient/caregiver dyads for 24 weeks; determine patient, caregiver, and clinician satisfaction and need for intervention modifications, and describe longitudinal changes and mediators of HF patient and caregiver outcomes. This preliminary data will provide opportunity to submit a competitive R0-1 application comparing patient/caregiver outcomes of ENABLE-CHF-PC to usual HF care. 

Elizabeth Kvale, MD

Dr. Kvale trained at the University of Missouri Department of Family and Community Medicine, and completed a fellowship in Palliative Medicine at UAB. She is interested in community-based palliative care, and is the recipient of a career development award from the American Cancer Society to examine the completion of active cancer treatment and the care transition to primary care. She is an investigator on a CMS Innovation Award to develop models of care to extend palliative care to underserved regions of the deep South through the training of non-licensed health care workers, and collaborates with the VA research team on Health Services Research projects including the BEACON study and the Hospice Emergency Kit Study.

Please follow this link for Dr. Kvale's publications.

Jessica S. Merlin, MD, MBA

Dr. Jessica Merlin is a physician trained in internal medicine, infectious diseases, and palliative care.  She is an investigator in the UAB Center for AIDS Research and Center for Palliative and Supportive Care.  Her primary area of interest is the intersection of HIV and palliative care, and specifically, HIV and chronic pain.  She has investigated the impact of chronic pain on outcomes in HIV-infected patients.  She has also conducted qualitative research to better identify HIV-infected patients with chronic pain and understand the chronic pain experience in this patient population. The long-term goal of her work is to ultimately behavioral interventions for chronic pain in patients with HIV.    She holds a K12 AHRQ Patient-Centered Outcomes Research career development award, and has also received funding through the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

See "HIV and Chronic Pain" presented by Dr. Merlin on June 13, 2013 at the HIV Grand Rounds at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.

Click here for selected publications.