Palliative Medicine

 

Chief

Dr. Joshua Croen

Overview

Welcome to the Palliative Care Department at Hartford Hospital.  We are a multidisciplinary team that includes physicians, advanced practitioners (PAs and APRNs), nurses and social workers.  Our team specializes in maximizing quality of life during any and all stages of a serious illness by attending to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of a patient’s care.   Palliative care is appropriate at any age and can be provided along with curative treatment.

Palliative care offers expert management of complex/refractory pain and other physical and emotional symptoms.  It provides assessment and care of emotional and spiritual support needs.  It also offers education around serious illness trajectory and treatment options.  Palliative care engages in discussions about patient and family preferences in order to clarify goals of care and make choices about medical care, now or in the future.  Palliative care assists with the communication of a patient’s needs and goals of care to the primary and consulting medical teams.  It provides assistance with advance care planning and execution of advance directives.

We see patients within the hospital setting as a consult service to the attending provider.  We communicate regularly with the primary medical team and affiliated consultants so that everyone understands the plan of care.  We provide the team with information about patients’ needs and preferences, and provide patients with a framework for future decision making.  We are actively involved in the hospital’s medical education program providing resident training and education.

Website

hartfordhospital.org/services/palliative-care

Meet our team at Hartford Hospital

Dr. Joshua CroenDr Joshua Croen
Division Chief of Palliative Care, Hartford Hospital

Dr. Croen has been a member of the medical staff at Hartford Hospital since joining the Division of Palliative Medicine in November 2012. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and Hospice Medical Director. Dr. Croen is a member of AAHPM, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. As part of the hospital’s teaching tradition, Dr. Croen is actively involved in education initiatives for residents and interns.

Dr. Croen earned his medical degree at SUNY Downstate, and went on to complete his internal medicine residency at North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital in Manhasset, New York. Dr. Croen went on to complete a Palliative Care Fellowship there as well.

Jodie Beaulieu, RN
Nurse Educator

Jodie has more than 15 years of palliative and hospice care experience; she started her career as an LPN with VNA Healthcare in 2007 which eventually turned into Hartford Healthcare at Home. Jodie continued her career with HHCAH gaining her knowledge and experience from working as an on-call nurse and case manager in the community setting for the Hartford Healthcare at Home Hope/Hospice team. Jodie has a passion for education and became a nurse preceptor in 2017 mentoring and training existing staff and new hires on palliative and end of life care. Most recently Jodie worked at Hartford Hospital as a Transitional care coordinator working to assist patients with the transition home with palliative care or hospice services. Jodie joined the palliative care team at Hartford Hospital in 2022 as the Palliative Nurse Educator.

Jodie obtained her degree from Excelsior College in 2012. She is currently working on obtaining her hospice and palliative care certification while continuing to pursue her degree in nursing education.

Mary Brennan, MS, APRN, ACNP-BC, ACHPN
Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – Inpatient palliative care service

Mary T. Brennan has been working with adults in the acute care setting, with over 20 years of experience spanning cardiology, critical care, and neurology. Ms. Brennan joined the palliative care team at Hartford Hospital in 2019, and is a member of the Hospice and Palliative Nursing Association (HPNA). Mary presently sits on the Hartford Health Care Palliative Care Council. Mary prides herself on her passion for patient and family advocacy, especially during end of life transitions. With her vast career experience, she is able to serve her patients from a truly holistic perspective.

Mary earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Elms College in Chicopee, MA. She went on to earn her Master of Science nursing degree from the University of Connecticut, and is board certified as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Acute Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse.

Nicole Dunn, ACNP-BC, ACHPNNicole Dunn, ACNP-BC, ACHPN
Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – Inpatient palliative care service

Nicole joined the palliative care team at Hartford Hospital in 2018 as a Nurse Practitioner specializing in providing quality palliative care for our patients and families. With more than 15 years of experience as a nurse practitioner, she has practiced in a broad range of settings including critical care, chronic disease management, long-term care and hospice. Ms. Dunn extends her expertise in palliative care as faculty for the ELNEC (End of Life Nursing Education Consortium) education program. Ms. Dunn is a member of HPNA: Hospice and Palliative Nurse Association. She also serves as the Chairperson for the Office of Advance Practice, Volunteer and Philanthropy Committee.

Nicole attended the University of Connecticut to earn both her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science nursing degrees, and is Board Certified as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Acute Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse.

Katherine LepakKatie Lepak, LCSW, APHSW-C
Clinical Social Worker – Inpatient palliative care service

Katherine "Katie" Lepak is a licensed clinical social worker, with special interest in grief and bereavement and supporting young children through illness, grief and loss. During her early career, Ms. Lepak worked as a licensed clinical social worker for Connecticut Hospice and at Davita Dialysis, both informing her work in palliative care. Ms. Lepak has served as a Social Worker on the palliative care team at Hartford Hospital since 2015. In addition to her inpatient clinical work, she serves as co-facilitator of the hospital based bereavement support group, as well as faculty for the ELNEC (End of Life Nursing Education Consortium) education program. Ms. Lepak is a member of SWHPN: Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network and a former member of the the CT Department of Public Health Palliative Care Advisory Committee.

Katie earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Colby College in 2004 and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Boston College in 2006. She completed a post graduate palliative care fellowship program at Boston Children’s Hospital, in collaboration with Harvard Medical School and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, in 2007. Ms. Lepak completed specialty certification in Palliative Care, as one of the first cohorts in the field, in 2019.

Stephanie Mejias, APRN, FNP-C
Nurse Practitioner

Stephanie joined the Palliative Care Consult Service at Hartford Hospital in 2023 as a nurse practitioner assisting in the creation of a specialty role that bridges inpatient and outpatient palliative care for patients living with heart failure. Ms. Mejias brings her extensive hospice experience across the continuum of care, working as a home hospice nurse beginning in 2012 and advancing to the role of nurse practitioner in 2019. Ms. Mejias is a member of the Hospice and Palliative Nurse Association (HPNA) and has also completed the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) education program.

Stephanie attended the Southern Connecticut State University to earn both her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science nursing degrees, and is certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Sara MorrisonSara Morrison, LCSW, APHSW-C
Clinical Social Worker – Inpatient palliative care service

Sara is a licensed clinical social worker who entered the healthcare field in 2005. Ms. Morrison began her career in outpatient psychiatry before transitioning to inpatient general medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital, then holding a position in their kidney transplant program. She later relocated to Los Angeles and practiced in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s heart transplant/mechanical circulatory support program. Ms. Morrison transitioned to palliative care in 2016 after moving to Connecticut, and has since obtained specialty certification. She is a member of SWHPN: Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network.

Sara graduated from Drew University in 2001 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Social Work in 2005 from Columbia University School of Social Work. Ms. Morrison completed specialty certification in Palliative Care, as one of the first cohorts in the field, in 2019. When she is not working, Sara enjoys running, yoga, reading, and spending time with her husband, daughter and son.

Manuel Alfredo Moya Tapia, MDManuel Alfredo Moya Tapia, MD
Palliative care attending physician

Dr. Moya recently joined the Palliative Care team at Hartford Hospital.

He is a native of Lima, Peru. He comes to us with over 16 years of medical experience locally and internationally. Dr. Moya graduated from the Universidad San Martin de Porres in 2006, where he worked at the National Cancer Institute of Peru. After graduating, he worked at the National Cancer Institute of Peru in oncology clinical research and also volunteered his time in the Peruvian highlands delivering medical care. Later he migrated to the United States and trained in Internal Medicine at the Bronx Lebanon Hospital, graduating in 2015. Dr. Moya specialized in Palliative Care at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and Weil Cornell Medical Center in 2021. Dr. Moya previously worked at Hartford Hospital and Columbia University as an oncology hospitalist and was an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University. He has a passion for education and enjoys mentoring staff members.

Dr. Moya is interested in the impact of cultural awareness on the care of patients, families, and underserved populations in palliative care.

Carol Strycharz, BSN, MPH, CHPN
Clinical Nurse Leader and Quality Improvement Coordinator

Carol has been a Registered Nurse at Hartford Hospital for since 1984, working in oncology, outpatient infectious disease, internal medicine, and epidemiology. Ms. Strycharz joined the Palliative Care Consult Service in June, 2012, practicing as a clinical nurse leader and palliative care consultant specializing in cardiology, heart failure, and mechanical circulatory support. Her greatest joy is having the opportunity to sit at the patient’s bedside to learn the patient’s and family’s story.

Ms. Strycharz earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Fairfield University, and went on to earn her Master’s in Public Health from Yale University in 1988. She is a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse and is a member of HPNA: Hospice and Palliative Nurse Association. Ms. Strycharz is the Palliative Care Quality Improvement Coordinator and Clinical Nurse Leader for the team.

Joseph VanderhydeJoseph Vanderhyde, PA-C
Physician Assistant – Inpatient palliative care service

Joseph Vanderhyde worked nearly a decade as a teacher, both locally and internationally, before making the transition to healthcare. He brings his expertise in Hematology and Oncology to his work in palliative care, having joined Hartford Healthcare in 2020 working with the Hartford Hospital Medical Group. Mr. Vanderhyde made the transition to the inpatient palliative care service in 2021.

Joseph graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2006 with a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy. He graduated from the Bay Path Physician Assistant Program in 2020.

Palliative Medicine Specialists

Joshua Croen

 

Hospice & Palliative Medicine

Medical Group Hartford Hospital - Main
Main - General
Hartford, CT 06102
Evan Fox

 

Psychiatry

Medical Group Institute of Living - Main
Hartford, CT 06106
Emily Morse

 

Hospice & Palliative Medicine

Medical Group Hartford HealthCare Medical Group at Hartford Hospital Department of Hospital Medicine
South Building
Hartford, CT 06106
Manuel Moya Tapia

 

Hospice & Palliative Medicine

Medical Group Hartford Hospital
Hartford, CT 06106
Samantha Shapiro

 

Hospice & Palliative Medicine

Medical Group Hartford Hospital - Main
Main - General
Hartford, CT 06102

Contact the Department of Medicine