Mary K. Buss, MD, MPH

Mary K. Buss, MD, MPH

Chief, Section of Palliative Care, Division of General Medicine
Program Director, Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship
Oncologist, Gynecologic Cancers
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medicine School

Educational and professional experience
1993 Williams College, Williamstown, MA
1997 Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC
1997-2000 Internship and Residency, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)
2000-2001 Chief Medical Resident, UPMC
2001-2003 Fellowship, Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
2003-2004 Fellowship, Palliative Care, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
2006 Masters of Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health
Current teaching and research interests

Mary K. Buss, MD, MPH, currently practices both as a medical oncologist and a palliative medicine specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), where she built and now directs the outpatient palliative care clinic.

Within the palliative care clinic, Dr. Buss has built processes for collecting data on quality of life, symptom burden, and advance care planning. This database lays the groundwork for conducting quality improvement projects and clinical research assessing the impact of palliative care on patient-reported outcomes and quality of care. She and her colleagues are testing different models for integrating palliative care into their cancer center. Having demonstrated feasibility of an integrated model, they are starting to compare patient outcomes in the integrated model to the standard care.

As a practicing oncologist, Dr. Buss regularly practices primary palliative care and is acutely aware of the need to enhance primary palliative care competencies among physicians. She has developed palliative care curricula across multiple departments at BIDMC, including internal medicine residents, anesthesia pain fellows, and pulmonary/critical care fellows. For oncology fellows, she organizes a curriculum that includes a monthly seminar and an intensive half-day communication skills training retreat. Dr. Buss has had the opportunity to facilitate small-group training as part of Vital Talk communication skills training programs. She developed the curriculum for BIDMC's Hospice Palliative Medicine Fellowship, which opened in July 2017.