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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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.

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.

Safety in Pediatric Hospice and Palliative Care: A Qualitative Study. Pestian, T; Thienprayoon, R; Grossoehme, D; Friebert, S; Humphrey, L. Pediatric Quality and Safety. 2020; 5.

Compassionate Design: Utilizing Design Thinking to Preserve Sanctity, Dignity, and Personhood When Children Die. Grossoehme, DH; Mark, MS; Lane, B; Rednour, A; Thienprayoon, R. Pediatric Quality and Safety. 2020; 5.

"There's Just No Way to Help, and They Did. " Parents Name Compassionate Care as a New Domain of Quality in Pediatric Home-Based Hospice and Palliative Care. Thienprayoon, R; Grossoehme, D; Humphrey, L; Pestian, T; Frimpong-Manso, M; Malcolm, H; Kitamura, E; Jenkins, R; Friebert, S. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2020; 23:767-776.

Use of Continuous Dexmedetomidine at Home for Nearly Three Years in a Young Woman with End-Stage Cyanotic Congenital Heart Disease and Cyclic Vomiting. Thienprayoon, R; Meyer, M; Flint, H; Weidner, N; Hirsch, R. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2019; 22:1289-1292.

Location of Death and End-of-Life Characteristics of Young Adults with Cancer Treated at a Pediatric Hospital. Mark, MS J; Yang, G; Ding, L; Norris, RE; Thienprayoon, R. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology. 2019; 8:417-422.

Defining Provider-Prioritized Domains of Quality in Pediatric Home-Based Hospice and Palliative Care: A Study of the Ohio Pediatric Palliative Care and End-of-Life Network. Thienprayoon, R; Alessandrini, E; Frimpong-Manso, M; Grossoehme, D. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2018; 21:1414-1435.

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