Dr. Groninger serves as director of the Section of Palliative Care, where he conducts patient care, teaches, and participates in research activities. Prior to joining MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Dr. Groninger was a staff clinician in the Pain and Palliative Care Service at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, where he also directed their physician fellowship program. After completing his medical degree and training in internal medicine at the University of Virginia, Dr. Groninger completed a fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine at Capital Hospice. Dr. Groninger is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University, a Master Facilitator with the Education for Palliative and End-of-Life Care (EPEC) Program at Northwestern University, and Adjunct Faculty in the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities at the University of Virginia.
Dr. Pettit is a faculty physician in the Section of Palliative Care. After attending medical school at his hometown's University of Nebraska Medical Center, Dr. Pettit entered the MedStar fold at Georgetown University Hospital as an internal medicine resident. Deciding to keep Washington, D.C., as his home, Dr. Pettit completed a fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine in the MedStar Washington Hospital Center-Capital Caring Fellowship program in 2016. Dr. Pettit has a passion for inpatient palliative medicine and a special interest in electronic-health-record ease-of-use. Outside of the hospital, Dr. Pettit's passion lies in music; he frequently attends local shows and writes his own music for classical and electric guitar.
After completing a Masters in Public Health, Dr. Pottash studied medicine in Haifa, Israel at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology: Faculty of Medicine. He completed training in Internal Medicine at Jacobi Medical Center in the Primary Care Track, learning to care for complicated patients. He then completed fellowships in Palliative Medicine and Medical Ethics at Northwell Health (formerly North Shore-LIJ), along with a certificate course in Clinical Bioethics at the Hofstra School of Law. His interests are patient perceptions of chronic illness, advanced shared decision-making, Clinical Ethics, and Palliative Care.
Anne Kelemen, LICSW, ACHP-SW, Social Worker
Anne Kelemen joined the MedStar Washington Hospital Center Section of Palliative Care in 2013. In 2015, she was named MedStar Health Palliative Care Clinician of the Year. Prior to joining the Hospital Center staff, Ms. Kelemen instituted the first palliative care service at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. She first developed an interest in palliative care while a hospice volunteer in Maryland, and then received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Maryland and a post-master’s certificate in End of Life Care from the Smith College School of Social Work. Ms. Kelemen continues to facilitate support groups for bereaved family members and for teens and young adults. Her research interests include the intersection between language and medicine, non-physical pain, and spirituality at the end of life.
Stacey Thompson, LICSW, Social Worker
Stacey Thompson is a Palliative Care Social Worker at the Medstar Washington Hospital Center and holds clinical social work licenses in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. She attended the University of Maryland School of Social Work and received her master’s degree in 2007. In 2011, Stacey joined the Medstar family as a program therapist in the Outpatient Behavioral Health Department. As a program therapist, she facilitated therapy groups for individuals diagnosed with mental illness. In 2013, she transitioned to the Washington Cancer Institute where she provided counseling and case management to patients and their families. It was during her work at the Cancer Institute that her passion for providing care for seriously ill patients was ignited. As a member of the Palliative Care Team, Stacey strives to attenuate patients’ suffering and improve their quality of life utilizing a compassionate and mindfulness-based approach.
Regina Tosca, LICSW, Social Worker
Ms. Tosca joined the MedStar Washington Hospital Center Section of Palliative Care in 2015. Prior to that, she was the bone marrow transplant social worker at Children’s National Medical Center, where she developed interventions to address patient and family social, emotional, practical and spiritual needs. Ms. Tosca led the development of a standard operating procedure that included psychosocial services as part of every pre-transplant patient evaluation. She conducted psychoeducation with patients and families to facilitate their understanding of the social and emotional impact of illness and treatment. She also co-facilitated support groups for parents and caregivers of children in treatment and launched a dinner program for families of patients on the cancer and blood disorders inpatient unit. Her work with families at end of life and close partnership with Children’s palliative care team led to her interest in palliative care as a primary focus. She received her Master’s in Social Work from Catholic University, with a specialization in health care.
Joan Panke, MA, ACHPN, Nurse Practitioner
Ms. Panke is board certified as a nurse practitioner in palliative care with nearly 20 years of experience in the field and is currently serving as the Nurse Practitioner for the Palliative Care Team at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Her expertise includes clinical practice, program implementation, education and outreach. She previously coordinated the implementation of palliative care programs at several metropolitan Washington, D.C. hospitals; served as Executive Director for the DC Partnership; and was a curriculum consultant, advisory board member, and national faculty on the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) project. Ms. Panke has extensive teaching experience and has authored several publications on various palliative care topics.
Linda G. Fischer, Chaplain
Chaplain Fischer, an Episcopal lay woman, is living out a vocational call to the ministry of hospital chaplaincy and compassionate spiritual care at end-of-life. She has a particular interest in how the experience of grief, loss and emotional trauma within the body effects learning during times of crisis, illness and dis-ease. Prior to joining the Hospital Center Palliative Care Team in March 2014, she served as outpatient oncology chaplain at MedStar Washington Cancer Institute. Chaplain Fischer trained at the Center for Pastoral Counseling in Virginia, and the MedStar Washington Hospital Center Cancer Residency for Spiritual Caregivers. She facilitates grief groups, coordinates the Palliative Care bereavement program, and teaches grief, loss, death and dying and other spiritual concerns arising at end-of-life in clinical pastoral education (CPE) programs. Chaplain Fischer is a recipient of the MedStar Washington Hospital Center 2010 Healing Spirit Award and the Washington Cancer Institute 2013 SPIRIT Award. She is active in her parish community at Christ Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Virginia, where she serves in a variety of leadership roles.