Improving global prehospital and emergency medicine, public health, and disaster health care and preparedness

Eric Krakauer – Profile

Eric L. Krakauer, MD, PhD, received a PhD in philosophy and MD from Yale University, trained in internal medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and completed fellowships in general internal medicine and in medical ethics at Harvard Medical School. Currently, he is Associate Professor of Medicine and of Global Health & Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School where he also directs the Global Program of the Center for Palliative Care.

In this role, he has provided training and technical assistance over the past 16 years for Ministries of Health, major hospitals, medical schools, and colleagues in low and middle income countries including Vietnam, Nepal, Bangladesh, Rwanda, Malawi, Haiti, and the Russian Federation to help integrate palliative care into public health care systems and health care education.

He also is a practicing palliative medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, a Consultant in Palliative Care to the World Health Organization (WHO), and Honorary Chair of the Department of Palliative Care at the University of Medicine & Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In recent years, he has served as Medical Officer for Palliative Care at WHO headquarters in Switzerland, on the Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care, and on the Board of Directors of the International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care.

He has published numerous scientific papers and textbook chapters on clinical and ethical issues in palliative care and on implementing palliative care in low and middle-income countries. He is the editor of the forthcoming booklet: Integrating Palliative Care and Symptom Relief into Responses to Humanitarian Emergencies and Crises: a WHO Guide.


Presentation: Integrating Palliative Care & Symptom Relief into Responses to Humanitarian Emergencies and Crises: A Medical and Moral Imperative

Responses to humanitarian emergencies and crises rarely include palliative care, the discipline devoted to preventing and relieving suffering rather than to specific diseases, organs or technical skills. This presentation, based on a new guidance document from the World Health Organization (WHO), describes the medical and moral necessity of integrating palliative care and pain relief into responses to humanitarian emergencies and crises of all types.

It offers an expanded conception of palliative care based on the needs of people affected by humanitarian emergencies and crises, explores the false dichotomy of saving lives and relieving suffering, and describes an essential package of palliative care interventions, medicines, equipment, and human resources for humanitarian emergencies and crises.