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Michael Rabow, MD

1545 Divisadero Street
San Francisco, CA 94115

Michael W. Rabow, M.D., is a Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, at the University of California, San Francisco. Board-certified in internal medicine and hospice & palliative care, Dr. Rabow directs a leading outpatient palliative care consultation program-- the Symptom Management Service-- at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is a member of the UCSF Academy of Medical Educators.

Dr. Rabow attended UCSF for medical school and general internal medicine residency training. He completed fellowships at UCSF in general medicine, as well as in medical education research. His widely-published research work is in palliative care, family caregiving, and end-of-life care education. Dr. Rabow conducted one of the few controlled trials to date of outpatient palliative care consultation, as well as a survey of current outpatient palliative care consultation practices in comprehensive cancer centers nationally.

Dr. Rabow was Assistant Editor for the recently completed bimonthly section in the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled "Perspectives on Care at the Close of Life." This series now appears as a palliative care textbook, Care at the Close of Life. He serves as the Director of the Center for the Study of the Healer's Art at the Institute for the Study of Health and Illness at Commonwealth in California. Dr. Rabow is the Assistant Editor of the best-selling general medicine textbook, Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment.

Dr. Rabow serves as a consultant to U.S. hospitals and hospital systems working to develop or expand their palliative care services. Dr. Rabow serves as the lead of the project advisory board for the "Improving Palliative Care in the Outpatient Setting" (IPAL-OPT) initiative at the Center to Advance Palliative Care. Dr. Rabow is the Associate Director of the UCSF Palliative Care Leadership Center (PCLC) and a member of the curriculum development committee for the PCLC Initiative nationally. The PCLC Initiative has trained more than 1000 hospital-based palliative care programs in the United States. Previously, Dr. Rabow helped direct the California Hospital Initiative in Palliative Services, the first program to support the development of hospital-based palliative care services in California. In additional, Dr. Rabow served as a technical advisor and member of the leadership team for the Archstone Foundation's Hospital-Based Palliative Care Service Innovations project.

Dr. Rabow is the executive producer of "The Caregivers" documentary film and accompanying family caregiver handbook. He has written and taught widely about family caregiving and communication with patients and families around serious news and existential issues at the end-of-life. In addition to his clinical palliative care work, Dr. Rabow has an active outpatient primary care medicine practice.

Dr. Rabow served as a Soros Foundation Project on Death in America Faculty Scholar and has been recognized for his work in palliative care as a 2012 recipient of the Cunniff-Dixon Foundation Physicians Award from the Hastings Center.

Awards and Honors

2012   The Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Award, The Hastings Center, 2012
2011   Geriatrics Abstract Award, “Palliative and Oncologic Co-Management: Symptom Management for Outpatien, Society of General Internal Medicine, 2011
2011   Honorable Mention, UCSF Exceptional Physician Award, UCSF, 2011
2010   Second Place, Best Paper Award, International Conference on Cancer Education, American Association of Cancer Education, 2010
2010   Essential Core Teaching Award for Outstanding Lecture from the UCSF Class of 2012, UCSf, 2010
2009   American Association of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Paper Award, “Filming the Family: Evaluation, AAHPM, 2009
2004   Best Research Poster, AAMC Western Regional GEA/GSA Annual Conference, AAMC, 2004
2004   California Clinician-Educator Award, Society of General Internal Medicine, 2004
2004   Outstanding Lecture Award from the UCSF Class of 2006, UCSF, 2004
2002   David E. Rogers Junior Faculty Education Award, Society of General Internal Medicine, 2002
2002   Project on Death in America, Faculty Scholar, Soros Foundation, 2002
2000   Robert H. Crede Award for Excellence in Teaching, UCSF, 2000
1999   UCSF/Mount Zion Medical Residency Teaching Award, UCSF, 1999
1993   Alpha Omerga Alpha, UCSF, 1993
1987   Summa Cum Laude, Harvard University, 1987

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Recent Articles (88)

  1. Bischoff K, Yang E, Kojimoto G, Shepard Lopez N, Holland S, Calton B, Adkins SH, Cheng S, Miller BJ, Rabow MW. What We Do: Key Activities of an Outpatient Palliative Care Team at an Academic Cancer Center. J Palliat Med. 2018 Feb 12.

  2. Rabow MW, Petzel MQB, Adkins SH. Symptom Management and Palliative Care in Pancreatic Cancer. Cancer J. 2017 Nov/Dec; 23(6):362-373.

  3. Rabow M, Small R, Jow A, Majure M, Chien A, Melisko M, Belkora J, Esserman LJ, Rugo H. The value of embedding: integrated palliative care for patients with metastatic breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2018 Feb; 167(3):703-708.

  4. Rabow MW. Living with Cancer: A Step-by-Step Guide for Coping Medically and Emotionally with a Serious Diagnosis. J Palliat Med. 2017 Oct; 20(10):1175.

  5. Calton BA, Thompson N, Shepard N, Keyssar R, Patel K, Dzul-Church V, Kao H, Ritchie C, Rabow MW. "She Would Be Flailing Around Distressed": The Critical Role of Home-Based Palliative Care for Patients with Advanced Cancer. J Palliat Med. 2017 Aug; 20(8):875-878.

  6. Calton BA, Alvarez-Perez A, Portman DG, Ramchandran KJ, Sugalski J, Rabow MW. The Current State of Palliative Care for Patients Cared for at Leading US Cancer Centers: The 2015 NCCN Palliative Care Survey. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2016 07; 14(7):859-66.

  7. Rabow MW, Lapedis M, Feingold A, Thomas M, Remen RN. Insisting on the Healer's Art: The Implications of Required Participation in a Medical School Course on Values and Humanism. Teach Learn Med. 2016; 28(1):61-71.

  8. Scibetta C, Kerr K, Mcguire J, Rabow MW. The Costs of Waiting: Implications of the Timing of Palliative Care Consultation among a Cohort of Decedents at a Comprehensive Cancer Center. J Palliat Med. 2016 Jan; 19(1):69-75.

  9. Rabow MW, Dahlin C, Calton B, Bischoff K, Ritchie C. New Frontiers in Outpatient Palliative Care for Patients With Cancer. Cancer Control. 2015 Oct; 22(4):465-74.

  10. Ritchie CS, Rabow MW. Fostering a Quality of Care Culture in Community-Based Palliative Care: What Will It Take? J Palliat Med. 2015 Jul; 18(7):568-9.

  11. Kestenbaum A, James J, Morgan S, Shields M, Hocker W, Rabow M, Dunn LB. "Taking your place at the table": an autoethnographic study of chaplains' participation on an interdisciplinary research team. BMC Palliat Care. 2015 May 02; 14:20.

  12. Rabow MW, Benner C, Shepard N, Meng MV. Concurrent urologic and palliative care after cystectomy for treatment of muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Urol Oncol. 2015 Jun; 33(6):267.e23-9.

  13. LeBlanc TW, O'Donnell JD, Crowley-Matoka M, Rabow MW, Smith CB, White DB, Tiver GA, Arnold RM, Schenker Y. Perceptions of palliative care among hematologic malignancy specialists: a mixed-methods study. J Oncol Pract. 2015 Mar; 11(2):e230-8.

  14. Rabow MW. Author response to "scientific rigour is far more than a matter of sample size". Support Care Cancer. 2015 Apr; 23(4):903.

  15. Rabow MW, O'Riordan DL, Pantilat SZ. A statewide survey of adult and pediatric outpatient palliative care services. J Palliat Med. 2014 Dec; 17(12):1311-6.

  16. Rabow MW, Knish SJ. Spiritual well-being among outpatients with cancer receiving concurrent oncologic and palliative care. Support Care Cancer. 2015 Apr; 23(4):919-23.

  17. Schumacher KL, Plano Clark VL, West CM, Dodd MJ, Rabow MW, Miaskowski C. Pain medication management processes used by oncology outpatients and family caregivers part II: home and lifestyle contexts. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2014 Nov; 48(5):784-96.

  18. Schumacher KL, Plano Clark VL, West CM, Dodd MJ, Rabow MW, Miaskowski C. Pain medication management processes used by oncology outpatients and family caregivers part I: health systems contexts. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2014 Nov; 48(5):770-83.

  19. Rabow MW. Chemotherapy near the end of life. BMJ. 2014 Mar 04; 348:g1529.

  20. Jacobsen J, Kvale E, Rabow M, Rinaldi S, Cohen S, Weissman D, Jackson V. Helping patients with serious illness live well through the promotion of adaptive coping: a report from the improving outpatient palliative care (IPAL-OP) initiative. J Palliat Med. 2014 Apr; 17(4):463-8.

  21. Rabow MW, Newman M, Remen RN. Teaching in relationship: the impact on faculty of teaching "the Healer's Art". Teach Learn Med. 2014; 26(2):121-8.

  22. Schenker Y, Crowley-Matoka M, Dohan D, Rabow MW, Smith CB, White DB, Chu E, Tiver GA, Einhorn S, Arnold RM. Oncologist factors that influence referrals to subspecialty palliative care clinics. J Oncol Pract. 2014 Mar; 10(2):e37-44.

  23. Rabow M, Kvale E, Barbour L, Cassel JB, Cohen S, Jackson V, Luhrs C, Nguyen V, Rinaldi S, Stevens D, Spragens L, Weissman D. Moving upstream: a review of the evidence of the impact of outpatient palliative care. J Palliat Med. 2013 Dec; 16(12):1540-9.

  24. Benner C, Greenberg M, Shepard N, Meng MV, Rabow MW. The natural history of symptoms and distress in patients and families following cystectomy for treatment of muscle invasive bladder cancer. J Urol. 2014 Apr; 191(4):937-42.

  25. Swarm RA, Abernethy AP, Anghelescu DL, Benedetti C, Buga S, Cleeland C, Deleon-Casasola OA, Eilers JG, Ferrell B, Green M, Janjan NA, Kamdar MM, Levy MH, Lynch M, McDowell RM, Moryl N, Nesbit SA, Paice JA, Rabow MW, Syrjala KL, Urba SG, Weinstein SM, Dwyer M, Kumar R. Adult cancer pain. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2013 Aug; 11(8):992-1022.

  26. Bischoff K, Weinberg V, Rabow MW. Palliative and oncologic co-management: symptom management for outpatients with cancer. Support Care Cancer. 2013 Nov; 21(11):3031-7.

  27. Smith AK, Thai JN, Bakitas MA, Meier DE, Spragens LH, Temel JS, Weissman DE, Rabow MW. The diverse landscape of palliative care clinics. J Palliat Med. 2013 Jun; 16(6):661-8.

  28. Rabow MW, Evans CN, Remen RN. Professional formation and deformation: repression of personal values and qualities in medical education. Fam Med. 2013 Jan; 45(1):13-8.

  29. Rawdin B, Evans C, Rabow MW. The relationships among hope, pain, psychological distress, and spiritual well-being in oncology outpatients. J Palliat Med. 2013 Feb; 16(2):167-72.

  30. Fried TR, Vaz Fragoso CA, Rabow MW. Caring for the older person with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. JAMA. 2012 Sep 26; 308(12):1254-63.

  31. Rabow MW, Lee MX. Palliative care in castrate-resistant prostate cancer. Urol Clin North Am. 2012 Nov; 39(4):491-503.

  32. Gilbertson-White S, Aouizerat BE, Jahan T, Paul SM, West C, Schumacher K, Dodd MJ, Rabow M, Abu Raddaha AH, Miaskowski C. Determination of cutpoints for low and high number of symptoms in patients with advanced cancer. J Palliat Med. 2012 Sep; 15(9):1027-36.

  33. Kim Y, Yen IH, Rabow MW. Comparing Symptom Burden in Patients with Metastatic and Nonmetastatic Cancer. J Palliat Med. 2016 Jan; 19(1):64-8.

  34. Pantilat SZ, Kerr KM, Kutner JS, Ferris FD, Rathfon MA, Rabow MW. Leveraging external resources to grow and sustain your palliative care program: a call to action. J Palliat Med. 2012 Jan; 15(1):25-8.

  35. Baker M, Wrubel J, Rabow MW. Professional development and the informal curriculum in end-of-life care. J Cancer Educ. 2011 Sep; 26(3):444-50.

  36. Casey C, Chen LM, Rabow MW. Symptom management in gynecologic malignancies. Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2011 Jul; 11(7):1077-89.

  37. Rabow MW, Pantilat SZ, Kerr K, Enguidanos S, Ferrell B, Goldstein R, Pankratz C, Picchi T, Rosenfeld KE, Stone SC. The intersection of need and opportunity: assessing and capitalizing on opportunities to expand hospital-based palliative care services. J Palliat Med. 2010 Oct; 13(10):1205-10.

  38. Swarm R, Abernethy AP, Anghelescu DL, Benedetti C, Blinderman CD, Boston B, Cleeland C, Coyle N, Deleon-Casasola OA, Eilers JG, Ferrell B, Janjan NA, Karver SB, Levy MH, Lynch M, Moryl N, Murphy BA, Nesbit SA, Oakes L, Obbens EA, Paice JA, Rabow MW, Syrjala KL, Urba S, Weinstein SM. Adult cancer pain. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2010 Sep; 8(9):1046-86.

  39. Rabow MW, Goodman S, Chang S, Berger M, Folkman S. Filming the family: a documentary film to educate clinicians about family caregivers of patients with brain tumors. J Cancer Educ. 2010 Jun; 25(2):242-6.

  40. Rabow MW, Spiegel D, Rosenbaum EH. Compassionate care during the endless hours. J Support Oncol. 2010 May-Jun; 8(3):134-6.

  41. Rabow MW, Smith AK, Braun JL, Weissman DE. Outpatient palliative care practices. Arch Intern Med. 2010 Apr 12; 170(7):654-5.

  42. Rabow MW, Remen RN, Parmelee DX, Inui TS. Professional formation: extending medicine's lineage of service into the next century. Acad Med. 2010 Feb; 85(2):310-7.

  43. Rabow MW, Wrubel J, Remen RN. Promise of professionalism: personal mission statements among a national cohort of medical students. Ann Fam Med. 2009 Jul-Aug; 7(4):336-42.

  44. Satterfield J, Swenson S, Rabow M. Emotional Intelligence in Internal Medicine Residents: Educational Implications for Clinical Performance and Burnout. Ann Behav Sci Med Educ. 2009; 14(2):65-68.

  45. Markowitz AJ, Rabow MW. Palliative care for patients with head and neck cancer: "I would like a quick return to a normal lifestyle". JAMA. 2008 Jun 11; 299(22):2679.

  46. Markowitz AJ, Rabow MW. Management of intractable nausea and vomiting in patients at the end of life: "I was feeling nauseous all of the time . . . nothing was working". JAMA. 2008 Apr 16; 299(15):1826.

  47. Remen RN, O'Donnell JF, Rabow MW. The Healer's art: education in meaning and service. J Cancer Educ. 2008 Jan-Mar; 23(1):65-7.

  48. Fernandes R, Shore W, Muller JH, Rabow MW. What it's really like: the complex role of medical students in end-of-life care. Teach Learn Med. 2008 Jan-Mar; 20(1):69-72.

  49. Markowitz AJ, Rabow MW. Palliative management of fatigue at the close of life: "it feels like my body is just worn out". JAMA. 2007 Jul 11; 298(2):217.

  50. Rabow MW, Wrubel J, Remen RN. Authentic community as an educational strategy for advancing professionalism: a national evaluation of the Healer's Art course. J Gen Intern Med. 2007 Oct; 22(10):1422-8.

  51. Rabow M, Gargani J, Cooke M. Do as I say: curricular discordance in medical school end-of-life care education. J Palliat Med. 2007 Jun; 10(3):759-69.

  52. Pantilat SZ, Rabow MW, Citko J, von Gunten CF, Auerbach AD, Ferris FD. Evaluating the California Hospital Initiative in Palliative Services. Arch Intern Med. 2006 Jan 23; 166(2):227-30.

  53. Holmes SM, Rabow MW, Dibble SL. Screening the soul: communication regarding spiritual concerns among primary care physicians and seriously ill patients approaching the end of life. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2006 Jan-Feb; 23(1):25-33.

  54. Remen RN, Rabow MW. The Healer's Art: professionalism, service and mission. Med Educ. 2005 Nov; 39(11):1167-8.

  55. Rabow MW, Dibble SL. Ethnic differences in pain among outpatients with terminal and end-stage chronic illness. Pain Med. 2005 May-Jun; 6(3):235-41.

  56. Markowitz AJ, Rabow MW. Palliative care for patients with heart failure. JAMA. 2004 Oct 13; 292(14):1744.

  57. Markowitz AJ, Rabow MW. Overcoming the false dichotomy of "curative" vs "palliative" care for late-stage HIV/AIDS: "let me live the way I want to live, until I can't". JAMA. 2004 Jan 28; 291(4):492.

  58. Rabow MW, Hauser JM, Adams J. Supporting family caregivers at the end of life: "they don't know what they don't know". JAMA. 2004 Jan 28; 291(4):483-91.

  59. Rabow MW, Dibble SL, Pantilat SZ, McPhee SJ. The comprehensive care team: a controlled trial of outpatient palliative medicine consultation. Arch Intern Med. 2004 Jan 12; 164(1):83-91.

  60. Rabow MW. Drawing on experience: physician artwork in a course on professional development. Med Educ. 2003 Nov; 37(11):1040-1.

  61. Rabow MW, Schanche K, Petersen J, Dibble SL, McPhee SJ. Patient perceptions of an outpatient palliative care intervention: "It had been on my mind before, but I did not know how to start talking about death...". J Pain Symptom Manage. 2003 Nov; 26(5):1010-5.

  62. Markowitz AJ, Rabow MW. Practical considerations in dialysis withdrawal: "to have that option is a blessing". JAMA. 2003 Aug 13; 290(6):815.

  63. Markowitz AJ, Rabow MW. Alzheimer disease: "it's okay, mama, if you want to go, it's okay". JAMA. 2003 Jul 02; 290(1):105.

  64. Bookwalter TC, Rabow MW, McPhee SJ. Content on end-of-life care in major pharmacy textbooks. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2003 Jun 15; 60(12):1246-50.

  65. Lo B, Kates LW, Ruston D, Arnold RM, Cohen CB, Puchalski CM, Pantilat SZ, Rabow MW, Schreiber RS, Tulsky JA. Responding to requests regarding prayer and religious ceremonies by patients near the end of life and their families. J Palliat Med. 2003 Jun; 6(3):409-15.

  66. Rabow MW, Petersen J, Schanche K, Dibble SL, McPhee SJ. The comprehensive care team: a description of a controlled trial of care at the beginning of the end of life. J Palliat Med. 2003 Jun; 6(3):489-99.

  67. Rabow MW, Markowitz AJ. Responding to requests for physician-assisted suicide: "These are uncharted waters for both of us... ". JAMA. 2002 Nov 13; 288(18):2332.

  68. Rabow MW, Petersen JJ, Schanche K. Volunteer patient advocacy: an interdisciplinary course on attending to patients at the end of life. J Palliat Med. 2002 Oct; 5(5):754-5.

  69. Markowitz AJ, Rabow M. Management of dyspnea in patients with far-advanced lung disease. JAMA. 2002 May 01; 287(17):2261.

  70. Markowitz AJ, Rabow MW. Caring for bereaved patients: "All the doctors just suddenly go". JAMA. 2002 Feb 20; 287(7):882.

  71. Lo B, Ruston D, Kates LW, Arnold RM, Cohen CB, Faber-Langendoen K, Pantilat SZ, Puchalski CM, Quill TR, Rabow MW, Schreiber S, Sulmasy DP, Tulsky JA. Discussing religious and spiritual issues at the end of life: a practical guide for physicians. JAMA. 2002 Feb 13; 287(6):749-54.

  72. Rabow MW, McPhee SJ. Deficiencies in end-of-life care content in medical textbooks. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2002 Feb; 50(2):397.

  73. Rabow MW, McPhee SJ. End-of-life care content in textbooks. Am J Psychiatry. 2001 Dec; 158(12):2090-1.

  74. Rabow MW, McPhee SJ. End-of-life care. Pediatrics. 2001 Oct; 108(4):1051.

  75. Rabow MW, McPhee SJ. End-of-life literature. Chest. 2001 Oct; 120(4):1426-7.

  76. Rabow MW, Markowitz AJ. Perspectives on care at the close of life. Serving patients who may die soon and their families. JAMA. 2001 Sep 19; 286(11):1377.

  77. Rabow MW, McPhee SJ. Promoting end-of-life content in cardiology and other textbooks. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Sep; 38(3):921.

  78. Rabow MW, McPhee SJ. End-of-life care. AIDS. 2001 Aug 17; 15(12):1587.

  79. Rabow MW, McPhee SJ. Patients' needs at the end of life. J Clin Oncol. 2001 Aug 01; 19(15):3585.

  80. Rabow MW, McPhee SJ. Better books: end-of-life care content in best-selling oncology textbooks. Oncology. 2001; 61(4):323-4.

  81. Rabow MW, McPhee SJ. Doctoring to Heal: fostering well-being among physicians through personal reflection. West J Med. 2001 Jan; 174(1):66-9.

  82. Rabow MW, McPhee SJ. Improving end-of-life care information in cardiology and other medical textbooks. Cardiology. 2001; 96(1):57.

  83. McPhee SJ, Rabow MW, Pantilat SZ, Markowitz AJ, Winker MA. Finding our way--perspectives on care at the close of life. JAMA. 2000 Nov 15; 284(19):2512-3.

  84. Rabow MW, Fair JM, Hardie GE, McPhee SJ. An evaluation of the end-of-life care content in leading neurology textbooks. Neurology. 2000 Sep 26; 55(6):893-4.

  85. Rabow MW, Hardie GE, Fair JM, McPhee SJ. End-of-life care content in 50 textbooks from multiple specialties. JAMA. 2000 Feb 09; 283(6):771-8.

  86. Rabow MW, McPhee SJ. Beyond breaking bad news: how to help patients who suffer. West J Med. 1999 Oct; 171(4):260-3.

  87. Rabow MW, McPhee SJ, Fair JM, Hardie GE. A failing grade for end-of-life content in textbooks: what is to be done? J Palliat Med. 1999; 2(2):153-5.

  88. Rabow MW. The head of his bed. West J Med. 1997 Apr; 166(4):292.

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