Dr. Krakauer is Assistant Professor of Medicine and of Global Health & Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a practicing internist and palliative medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. Krakauer has been an active member of the Massachusetts General Hospital Optimum Care Committee, one of the first clinical ethics consultation committees in the country, since 1997. Since that time, he also has chaired the hospital’s Life Sustaining Treatment Policy Committee. In this role, he led implementation of an innovative “due process” approach to resolving intractable conflict over life sustaining treatment for the Optimum Care Committee . He also led the design and implementation of a new system for writing code status orders to better honor patients’ values. Since 2008, he has served as Co-Chair of the Optimum Care Committee. He frequently lectures on ethical, cultural and social issues in end-of-life care and on optimum use of life sustaining treatment, and he has published numerous papers in these areas.
Dr. Krakauer also is active in global health. He has been teaching in Vietnam since 2001 when he founded the Vietnam-CDC-Harvard Medical School AIDS Partnership (VCHAP, now called HAIVN) to provide training and technical assistance in HIV/AIDS treatment to Vietnam’s physicians and nurses in partnership with the Ministry of Health and thereby to help enable introduction and scale-up of anti-retroviral therapy. As Director of International Programs at the Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care since 2005, Dr. Krakauer has assisted Vietnam’s Ministry of Health and major cancer centers and general hospitals to integrate pain relief and palliative care into the country’s cancer care and overall healthcare systems. He and his team have trained over 1000 Vietnamese clinicians in pain relief, palliative care, and end-of-life ethics and provided technical assistance with palliative care policy development, accessibility of morphine and other essential palliative medicines, and implementation of clinical programs. In addition, he works with Partners In Health (PIH), a charitable organization based in Boston, to integrate pain relief and palliative care into PIH’s pioneering cancer treatment programs for the rural poor in Rwanda, Malawi, and Haiti.
A member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Hospice & Palliative Care, his current research focuses on clinical and policy aspects of palliative care for poor and medically underserved populations around the world and on clinical and ethical issues in end-of-life care.