Steven Pantilat, M.D.

Professor, School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco

Clear, practical, compassionate guidance on how to give seriously ill patients the best possible quality of life.

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Dr. Steven Z. Pantilat is an internationally renowned expert on hospice and palliative care — improving the quality of life for people with serious illness. In his presentations and in his book Life After the Diagnosis: Expert Advice on Living Well with Serious Illness for Patients and Caregivers, Dr. Pantilat offers practical, straightforward guidance on how to navigate the medical system to maximize quality of life. He speaks in a caring and sensitive way that people easily understand.

Steven Pantilat is a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), the Kates-Burnard and Hellman Distinguished Professor in Palliative Care, and the founding Director of the UCSF Palliative Care Program.

For more than twenty years, Dr. Pantilat has worked to make sure that medical treatment supports the things that are important to the patient and to make the care that people want the default in our medical system. With simple language, he outlines steps that patients can take during their illnesses and demystifies the medical system so patients can get, not just the best medical care but also the best quality of life during their illness.

Dr. Pantilat works alongside other doctors and nurses to help them provide quality palliative care. He conducts research about how best to relieve pain and symptoms, how to communicate with patients and families compassionately, and how to address the psycho-social and spiritual needs of patients and families in order to treat the whole person. He teaches healthcare providers at UCSF’s medical school. And he has worked tirelessly to change the healthcare system so that everyone is treated with comfort and dignity at the end of life.

Dr. Pantilat is the Director of the UCSF Palliative Care Leadership Center, the only palliative care leadership center in California, and the Director of the Palliative Care Quality Network. He is Board Certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine and in Internal Medicine with Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine. He has received numerous awards and honors for his leadership in palliative care. He has published more than 850 peer-reviewed scientific papers and co-edited two textbooks on palliative care, in addition to Life After the Diagnosis.

Awards and Honors

  • Elected a Master of Hospital Medicine by the Society of Hospital Medicine, 2014
  • Fellow of the American College of Physicians, 2014.
  • Irvine Foundation Leadership Award, James Irvine Foundation, 2011
  • Fellow, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 2011
  • Senior Fellow in Hospital Medicine, Society of Hospital Medicine, 2010
  • Diplomate, Palliative Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine, 2008
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar (University of Sydney, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Curtin University), Australian-American Fulbright Commission, 2007
  • Alan M. Kates and John M. Burnard Endowed Chair in Palliative Care, UCSF, 2006-2015
  • President, Society of Hospital Medicine, 2005-2006
  • Outstanding Lecture Series, UCSF School of Medicine, 2004
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, UCSF School of Medicine, 2004
  • Award of Excellence in Teaching, Society of Hospital Medicine, 2001
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, UCSF School of Medicine, 2001
  • Project on Death In American Faculty Scholar, Open Society Institute, 1998
  • Serves on the UCSF Medical Center Ethics Committee
  • Ritz E. Heerman Award from the California Hospital Association, 2014


Life after the Diagnosis

Expert Advice on Living Well with Serious Illness for Patients and Caregivers

Steven Pantilat, M.D.

How to think and talk about serious illness, presented by a medical expert in the most caring, sensitive, and nonthreatening way.

Da Capo Lifelong Books (February 14, 2017)

Hospital-Based Palliative Medicine

A Practical, Evidence-Based Approach (Hospital Medicine: Current Concepts)

Edited by Steven Z. Pantilat, Wendy Anderson, Matthew Gonzales, Eric Widera, and Series Editor's Scott A. Flanders and Sanjay Saint

The first comprehensive, clinically focused guide to help hospitalists and other hospital-based clinicians provide quality palliative care in the inpatient setting.

Written for practicing clinicians by a team of experts in the field of palliative care and hospital care, Hospital-Based Palliative Medicine: A Practical, Evidence-Based Approach offers:

  • Comprehensive content over three domains of inpatient palliative care: symptom management, communication and decision making, and practical skills,
  • Detailed information on assessment and management of symptoms commonly experienced by seriously ill patients,
  • Advise on the use of specific communication techniques to address sensitive topics such as prognosis, goals of care, code status, advance care planning, and family meetings in a patient- and family-centered manner,
  • Targeted content for specific scenarios, including palliative care emergencies, care at the end of life, and an overview of post-hospital palliative care options,
  • Self-care strategies for resilience and clinician wellness which can be used to help maintain an empathic, engaged, workforce and high quality patient care,
  • A consistent chapter format with highlighted clinical pearls and pitfalls, ensuring the material is easily accessible to the busy hospitalist and associated hospital staff.

This title will be of use to all hospital clinicians who care for seriously ill patients and their families. Specialist-trained palliative care clinicians will also find this title useful by outlining a framework for the delivery of palliative care by the patient’s front-line hospital providers.

Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (January 27, 2015)

Care at the Close of Life: Evidence and Experience

Jama & Archives Journals

Stephen J. McPhee, Margaret A. Winker, Michael W. Rabow, Steven Z. Pantilat, and Amy J. Markowitz

From one of the world’s leading medical journals comes the definitive evidence-based, full-color guide to end-of-life and palliative care

"...represents an important milestone in the evolution of care for people with advanced disease ― for which its editors and authors and JAMA should be rightly proud. It is wonderful that JAMA had the foresight to publish a series on this topic, which, as medicine has become more technologically advanced and subspecialized, is often overlooked and, sometimes worse, avoided....this book will be invaluable for front-line clinicians, and indeed all health care practitioners ― as care at the close of life is a part of almost all of medicine’s specialties and settings."
— Irene J. Higginson, BMBS, PhD, FPPHM, FRCP; Dept. of Palliative Care, Policy, & Rehabilitation; Cicely Saunders Institute; King's College London (from the foreword)

A new addition to the JAMA evidence series, Care at the Close of Life: Evidence and Experience offers evidence-based and clinical expert guidance on caring for patients with life-limiting illness, incorporating the words and perspectives of affected patients, their families, and treating clinicians. Organized by these actual clinical cases, the book is based on the acclaimed 7-year series of 42 articles, originally published in JAMA as “Perspectives on Care at the Close of Life,” and now thoroughly updated as chapters and featuring extensive never-before-published material. Care at the Close of Life covers are a wide range of clinical syndromes, disease processes, communication challenges, health-care delivery settings, and issues faced by patients, including withdrawal of dialysis and other life-sustaining measures, cross-cultural approaches, and the role of chemotherapy. Throughout the book, emphasis is on the principles of palliative care, with the patient and family at the center of care, and with attention given to all problems ― physical, psychological, social, and spiritual. Reflecting this focus, each chapter begins with a patient case study to introduce the clinical problem, followed by “perspectives” that draw on extensive, real-world dialogue between clinicians, patients, and families. Internationally renowned authors then review the typical challenges illustrated by the case, offering state-of-the-art, evidence-based assessment and treatment approaches.


  • Fully revised and updated text with new evidence and references, including the search methodology for each chapter’s update
  • Evidence-based orientation presents the current state of knowledge in the care of terminally ill patients and support for their families and caregivers
  • Practical clinical guidance and approaches from international experts in palliative care
  • Self-assessment Q&A, for reinforcing your knowledge of each chapter’s content and for preparing for exams
  • A useful Glossary of acronyms, terms, and tests
  • Updated Resources for each chapter offer current, authoritative sources of diagnostic and treatment information that can help you optimize palliative care
  • Medline PubMed ID numbers facilitate quick, convenient access to references

McGraw-Hill Education / Medical; 1 edition (October 25, 2010)


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