Gregg VandeKieft traces his desire to be a physician back to at least 4thgrade. To assure his career choice was what he thought it was, as a 19-year-old pre-medical student he worked as a nursing assistant on a cancer unit at a university hospital. Although he didn’t know the term yet, it was in this work that he first encountered palliative care. The highly personal interactions he had as a nursing assistant with patients experiencing serious illness, including witnessing their suffering from both disease and its treatments, were foundational in forming his vision for the clinician he aspired to be. Later, as a medical student at the University of Iowa, he identified Family Medicine as the specialty that most fully embraced whole-person care as a core philosophy. He subsequently attended Family Medicine residency training at Phoenix Baptist Hospital, where he helped found the hospital’s first ethics committee and received the program’s first Humanity in Medicine Award.
After residency, he spent 6 years in small town full-spectrum Family Medicine in Mount Vernon, WA. During those years, he completed the University of Washington’s Certificate Program in Health Care Ethics. Wishing to expand his training in the medical ethics and humanities, and to include teaching as part of his “day job,” he accepted an academic appointment at Michigan State University where he completed a masters degree in the Interdisciplinary Program in Health and Humanities. His teaching at MSU included a focus in Medical Ethics, Literature and Medicine, and Palliative Care. Missing the Pacific Northwest, in 2002 he accepted a faculty position at the Providence St. Peter Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program in Olympia, WA. He became a hospice medical director the same year, was board certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine in 2004, and established Providence St. Peter Hospital’s Palliative Care Consult Service in 2006, which received a “Top 10 Achievements Award” for the year from the hospital’s clinical and administrative leaders. He completed Harvard Medical School’s Certificate Program in Palliative Care Education and Practice in 2009.
In 2010, after nearly 20 years of full-spectrum Family Medicine including attendance at over 1000 births, he transitioned his clinical practice exclusively to Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He continues to see palliative care patients at two hospitals and an outpatient palliative care clinic, and serves as Medical Director for Palliative Care for Providence St. Joseph Health’s Southwest Washington Service Area. Dr. VandeKieft has been centrally involved in system level palliative care leadership for many years, and in 2015 was appointed the system’s Clinical Lead for Palliative Care – a position that evolved into his current quarter-time position as Associate Medical Director in the Providence Institute for Human Caring providing clinical leadership for the Palliative Practice Group.
Additional leadership roles include serving as chair of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine’s Advocacy and Awareness Strategic Coordinating Committee, on the Patient Quality of Life Coalition’s Steering Committee, on the National Quality Forum’s Geriatrics and Palliative Care Standing Committee, on the Supportive Care Coalition’s board of directors, on the Washington POLST Task Force Advisory Group, on the Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest Steering Committee, and as an ex officiomember of the Washington Academy of Family Physicians’ board of directors. He previously served on the board of the Washington State Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and remains active on their Advocacy Committee. He holds an appointment as Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine and previously co-directed the Palliative Care Module of the Chronic Care Clerkship. In 2017 he received the Health Care Champions Award for Distinguished Service from the Thurston-Mason County Medical Society and the Thurston Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Stuart J. Farber Award for Excellence in Palliative Care and Hospice from the Washington State Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
His wife Lynette VandeKieft teaches middle school English and band. Their daughter, Emily, and sons, Luke and Joel, all reside in Portland, Oregon.