A photo of Rachel Thienprayoon.

Rachel Thienprayoon, MD, MSCS

  • Medical Director, StarShine Hospice & Palliative Care
  • Attending Physician, Palliative Care Team
  • Associate Professor, UC Department of Anesthesia



My clinical areas of practice are pediatric hospice and palliative care. During medical school, I was inspired by the collaborative approach and humility displayed by pediatricians. I loved caring for children, and the community of pediatrics inspired me. I worked on a pediatric cancer study and valued the combination of humanity and research in pediatric oncology.

Ultimately, I chose this field of practice for my fellowship training. Caring for children with cancer and their families was optimal for me. However, as my oncology training progressed, I found little evidence to guide our care for children who died. There were no standards or guidelines for managing symptoms or providing support for the child and their family as children declined, especially those enrolled in pediatric hospice care. These problems led me to train in palliative care.

My research interests include defining and benchmarking quality in pediatric palliative care and examining how palliative care clinicians experience compassion from teams and organizations. I aim to enable clinicians to consistently provide high-quality palliative care outcomes and tailor care to each child and family. I'm also working to help pediatric palliative care clinicians create happy, healthy, sustainable careers in which all children we care for receive compassionate care.

Compassion means not just acknowledging another person's suffering but also acting to alleviate that suffering. I believe that compassion is the foundation of high-quality healthcare. One of my research findings resulted in "Compassionate Care" being named a domain of quality in pediatric palliative care. This domain was prioritized based on parent feedback regarding the care their children received.

Children with serious illnesses, who receive palliative care, deserve high-quality care throughout their lives. Yet pediatric palliative and hospice care is a challenging field, and stress and burnout are common. We need to develop systems that care compassionately for clinicians so we can care compassionately for all of our patients and their families. That is why I am interested in clinician experiences of organizational and team compassion in palliative care-to help clinicians create sustainable, healthy careers in this field.

I am a Sojourns Scholar from the Cambia Healthcare Foundation (2020), the co-chair of the Pediatric Palliative Care Task Force hosted by the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care (2020) and a member of the board of directors of the Palliative Care Quality Collaborative (2019). In addition, I am Board Certified in General Pediatrics (2012), Hospice and Palliative Medicine (2014) and Pediatric Hematology-Oncology (2015).

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Survey of Pediatric Palliative Care Quality Improvement Training, Activities, and Barriers. Bogetz, JF; Johnston, E; Ananth, P; Patneaude, A; Thienprayoon, R; Rosenberg, AR. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2022; 64:e123-e131.

Managing Pain and Discomfort in Children with Cancer. Fuller, C; Huang, H; Thienprayoon, R. Current Oncology Reports. 2022; 24:961-973.

Assessment of the relationship between disease progression and goals of care by individuals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and their caregivers. Grossoehme, DH; Thienprayoon, R; Sawnani, H; Jenkins, R; Rossman, I; Mosher, K; Friebert, S. Muscle and Nerve. 2022; 65:646-651.

Opioid-Sparing in Children with Chronic Pain Who Are Eligible for Palliative Care. Thienprayoon, R; Nee, K; Mosley, L; Tate, M; Meyer, M. Journal of Pediatrics. 2022; 245:230-232.

The Pediatric Palliative Improvement Network: A national Healthcare Learning Collaborative. Thienprayoon, R; Jones, E; Humphrey, L; Ragsdale, L; Williams, C; Klick, JC. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2022; 63:131-139.

Specialty Palliative Care in COVID-19: Early Experiences from the Palliative Care Quality Collaborative. Kamal, AH; Thienprayoon, RM; Aldridge, M; Bull, J; Fazzalaro, K; Meier, DE; Mueller, L; Rodgers, PE; McKenna, KA; Pantilat, SZ. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2021; 24:1689-1696.

Top Ten Tips Palliative Care Clinicians Should Know About Prognostication in Children. Bergstraesser, E; Thienprayoon, R; Brook, LA; Fraser, LK; Hynson, JL; Rosenberg, AR; Snaman, JM; Weaver, MS; Widger, K; Zernikow, B; et al. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2021; 24:1725-1731.

Pediatric Palliative Care Programs in US Hospitals. Rogers, MM; Friebert, S; Williams, CS P; Humphrey, L; Thienprayoon, R; Klick, JC. Pediatrics. 2021; 148.

Quality improvement in paediatric hospice and palliative care. Blacker, S; Thienprayoon, R. Oxford Textbook of Palliative Care for Children. 2021.

Patterns of Hospice and Home-Based Palliative Care in Children: An Ohio Pediatric Palliative Care and End-of Life Network Study. Grossoehme, DH; Humphrey, L; Friebert, S; Ding, L; Yang, G; Allmendinger-Goertz, K; Fryda, Z; Fosselman, D; Thienprayoon, R. Journal of Pediatrics. 2020; 225:152-156.

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