Pediatrics Welcomes New Director of Pediatric Palliative Care

Elisha Waldman, MD, is the new director of pediatric palliative care at CUMC MSCHONY. Read on to learn more. 

Elisha Waldman, MD, has recently been appointed to the Department of Pediatrics and the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital as the new director of pediatric palliative care.  

“I am particularly excited to be starting this new project at Columbia because of the enormous institutional support being invested,” says Dr. Waldman. “Even before my arrival, I experienced an outpouring of support and encouragement from clinicians and staff at all levels, and I continue to feel the buzz of excitement and interest around this endeavor.”

Dr. Waldman was born in New York City and raised in Connecticut. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies at Yale University, he went went on to get a medical degree from the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Dr. Waldman returned to New York and trained in general pediatrics at Mount Sinai Medical Center and pediatric hematology-oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he was chief fellow and recipient of an ASCO Young Investigator Award. After completing this fellowship, Dr. Waldman worked briefly in hematology-oncology at Yale. Then in 2007, he moved to Israel and assumed responsibility for the pediatric sarcoma service at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.

“Though my own background is in pediatric oncology, the pediatric palliative care service will aim to serve the needs of all pediatric departments and all children across the spectrum of diseases."

“Through my work in Jerusalem, I developed an increasing interest in pediatric palliative care,” says Dr. Waldman. “In 2012, I returned to Boston to complete an additional fellowship in pediatric hospice and palliative medicine at Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Children’s Hospital Boston. I remained on after a fellowship for a short period of time to gain experience as a palliative care attendant, and in September 2013 returned to Hadassah to help develop pediatric palliative care services for the greater Jerusalem area.”

Before joining Columbia University Medical Center, Dr. Waldman led the development of a pediatric palliative care program at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem for a year. He has returned to New York City to practice the medical field that has sparked his interest the most – pediatric palliative care.

He says, “Though my own background is in pediatric oncology, the pediatric palliative care service will aim to serve the needs of all pediatric departments and all children across the spectrum of diseases. I look forward to partnering with the many excellent clinicians at Columbia to provide exemplary pediatric palliative care and to develop our team into regional and national leaders in the field.”

Dr. Waldman has contributed to a number of texts over the course of his career. Most recently, and most pertinently to his current position at Columbia, he reviewed Palliative Care for Children with Cancer in Nature Clinical Reviews Oncology in 2013 and to a chapter in an upcoming American Childhood Cancer Organization handbook for families of children newly diagnosed with cancer.

“After a national search, we were delighted to recruit Dr. Waldman back to New York to head the pediatric palliative care program within our department and hospital,” says Lawrence R. Stanberry, MD, Reuben S. Carpentier Professor of Pediatrics and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center. “He has articulated an ambitious and highly collaborative vision that will not only administer to the needs of our patients and their families, but will help us develop a leadership role in advancing the impact of palliative care in pediatrics.”

To learn more about the Department of Pediatrics and the childhood conditions CUMC treats, please visit http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/pediatrics/patient-care.