An advocate for compassionate, innovative health care, with nearly 47 years of clinical social work experience with 40 years working in various aspects of healthcare, Karen’s work as a clinician, educator, researcher, and psychotherapist focuses on palliative and end-of-life care in a wide range of health care settings serving culturally diverse populations. With warmth and deep, abiding respect layering her patient and family-centered care approach, Karen is committed to the relief of suffering, improving care and quality of life for individuals and their loved ones facing serious and advanced illness at all stages of life.
Karen has a keen interest in the intersection between contemplative medicine, neuroscience, trauma, and somatic therapies and most recently how psychedelics can support patients and providers in working with existential distress, and post traumatic growth – how these meet, address the health care disparities of racism and cultural differences as these areas have begun to inform each other and begin to address and improve treatment outcomes for all who need care.
Of her professional accomplishments, she is a Board Certified Advanced Palliative Care Social Worker. She co-developed the first intraprofessional collaborative provider team model known as the UCSF Symptom Management & Palliative Care Outpatient Services.
She initially retired from a 25 year career at UCSF in 2011 only to then consult and work with local Bay Area medical centers, i.e., PAMF, Marin General and for the past seven years, with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Rafael, to co-develop and work with these institutions and providers to provide quality outpatient palliative care. She has recently been invited to return to UCSF to
continue her work through the Social Work Department with a focus on supporting the Department of Palliative Medicine and working as an advanced specialist and mentor clinician. She enjoys creative innovation in service provision and is now a part of a working group forming to explore development of a clinic linkage between psychiatry and geriatric medicine with a facet of treatment involving a Ketamine treatment clinic for elders
She continues to maintain a part-time private psychotherapy practice in SF, CA since 1986 to the present seeing adults and adolescents for individual, couples, and family therapy through a relational /attachment/systems approach, that is trauma-informed, socially engaged, with a somatic focus for various life challenging issues, inclusive of palliative care, serious illness, complex chronic medical conditions, health care disparities, moral injury and burnout in healthcare providers,.An increasing client population is interested in augmenting their personal therapy with plant medicines. Certified in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy since 2022 from the Integrative Psychiatry Institute in Boulder, Colorado,, Karen works with several Physicians with Ketamine Treatment programs providing guiding and integration facets of treatment including trauma-informed stabilization if needed… She has published in the fields of Sexual Therapy and Cancer Patients, Medical trauma and treatment in both pediatrics as well as adults, End of Life Care, Development of Outpatient Palliative Care clinic Models, Palliative Care and hospice provider distress, moral injury and moral resilience.
At present , most of her private practice patient population are health care physicians and nurse providers at all stages in their careers who are coping with pervasive and persistent physical, cognitive, and spiritual distress due to working on covid frontline, addressing “edge states” of moral injury , complicated grief and suffering and those re-finding moral resilience in the midst
- Not Accepted