The 2014 Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards in the early career category honor Nadia Tremonti, MD, medical director for palliative care at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and medical director for Kaleidoscope Kids Hospice at Henry Ford Health System. She is also an attending pediatrician with University Pediatricians and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. She is praised for leadership in palliative care, exceptional empathy and communications skills with patients and their families, and excellence in mentoring colleagues about alleviating the dying process.

With limited financial and staffing resources, Dr. Tremonti began the palliative care program at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in 2007. Since then, the program has grown to serve more than 500 families. Engagement among caregivers, patients, and families are at the heart of her practice. She has recruited physicians, nurses, social workers, child life specialists, music therapists, and chaplains to be part of the palliative care team, and most recently she has invited parents of children who have received palliative care to team meetings.

During consultations, Dr. Tremonti seeks to discover not only how the disease has affected the child but also the impact it has had on the family as a whole–physically, spiritually, and emotionally, said her nominator, Elizabeth L. Voyles, RN, CPN, pediatric palliative care nurse coordinator at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. She has the unique ability to explain the disease trajectory and potential complications to the family in terms they understand, often using pictures and diagrams to explain the course of the illness. “Through this patient and consistent work with families, she alleviates their fears and empowers them with knowledge,” said Voyles. In her brief career, Dr. Tremonti has been asked to give more than 35 lectures and presentations on various topics including communication in end-of-life, pediatric palliative care, symptom control during the dying process, and topics related to medical ethics.

Dr. Tremonti received her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 2002.