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College of Nursing


Faculty and Staff

Ronit Elk, PhD

Title: Co-Director, Palliative Care Initiative and Research Associate Professor
College of Nursing
E-mail: elk@mailbox.sc.edu
Phone: 803-777-2684
profile

Background

Dr. Elk received her Bachelors of Social Science in Social Work, Honors in Social Science in Psychiatric Social Work, Masters in Social Science, and Ph.D. in Psychiatry, from the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Teaching 

Dr. Elk co-teaches NURS 804 and NURS 870. Dr. Elk is committed to primarily focused on mentoring post-doctoral students and junior faculty who focus on palliative care and/or health disparities or community based participatory research, in obtaining independent research funding.

Research 

  • Health disparities
  • Palliative care 
  • Rural communities
  • Culturally-based palliative care programs
  • CBPR (Community-based Participatory Research) 

Dr. Elk has been a researcher for 25+ years, with a focus on the common thread of a focus on health disparities. Her research focuses on developing culturally based palliative care programs using CBPR with underserved rural populations, in particular African American elders in rural SC. Prior to returning to academia, Dr. Elk was a Scientific Program Director of Cancer Control and Prevention Research at the American Cancer Society. Within this program, Dr. Elk developed national extramural research programs focusing on (a) Cancer health disparities, (b) Palliative Care, (c) Cancer Prevention and (d) Enhancing Quality of Life in Survivors and Families. Her program has funded hundreds of researchers nationwide for over $150 million. Her prior academic research at UT-Houston Health Sciences Center focused on enhancing adherence to treatment in medically challenged drug-dependent populations.

Dissemination 

Dr. Elk has presented at many national professional meetings, including serving as keynote presenter.

Professional Service 

Dr. Elk serves on several committees of the AAHPM (American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine) including the Research Committee, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Scientific Sub Committee. She is an appointed peer reviewer at the NIH (NIA-S.) Dr. Elk serves as an editor of the journal Equity, is a guest editor of the series on Diversity and Inclusion in Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, and served as guest editor of a Special Issue on Palliative and End of Life Care in African Americans in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

Research Studies (Selected)

Reducing Disparities in the Quality of Palliative Care for Older African Americans through Improved Advance Care Planning (Subaward). PCORI - $930,892. 2017-2022. Co-I (Site PI).

Positioning USC for Global Prominence in Research on Prevention and Management of Chronic Disease (Elk: PI for Puerto Rico and Ghana). ASPIRE II - $21,738. 2017-2018. Co-I.

Culturally-Based Goals of Care Communications: Community-Engaged Hospitalists Training. USC Provost - $10,000. 2017-2018. PI.

Improving Adherence to Adjuvant Hormonal Therapy among Disadvantaged Breast Cancer Survivors. NCI/NIH K01 - $535,883. 2015-2020. Mentor. (PI: Tisha Felder, Ph.D.)

Telehealth Palliative Care Connect: A Demonstration Project for Palliative Care Consult in Rural Primary Care Settings. SC DHHS - $200,000. 2017-2018. PI.

Culturally Tailored Goals of Care Conversations at End of Life. Gary & Mary West Foundation - $2,000. 2016-2017. PI

Culturally Tailored Conversations at EOL: What Your African American Patients Want You to Know: Phase I. ASPIRE I - $10,000. 2016-2017. PI.

Publications (Recent)

Bakitas, M.A., Elk, R., et al. A Systematic Review of Rural Palliative Care Research: A New Frontier. Cancer Control Journal, 2015; 22(4): 450-464.

Elk, R. Barriers to Cancer Care and Treatment as a Transgender Man: Jay Kallio’s Personal Journey. LGBT Health, 2016; 3(1): 3-6.

Gramling, R., Stanek, S., Ladwig, S., Gajary-Coots, L., Cimino, J., Anderson, W., Norton, S.A., and the AAHPM Research Committee Writing Group [R. Elk, member]. Feeling heard and understood: a patient-reported quality measure for the inpatient palliative care setting. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 2016; 51(2):150-4.

Boehmer, U. and Elk, R. LGBT Populations and Cancer: Is it an Ignored Epidemic? LGBT Health, 2016; 3(1):1-2.

Elk, R. The first step is recognizing, acknowledging, and respecting the inequity, disrespect, and disregard our African American patients have experienced. (Editorial Note.) Journal of Palliative Medicine, 2016;19(2);124-125.

Lamba, S., Berlin, A., Goett, R., Ponce, C.B., Holland, B., Walther, S. and the AAHPM Research Committee Writing Group [R. Elk, member]. Assessing Emotional Suffering in Palliative Care: Use of a Structured Note Template to Improve Documentation. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2016 Jul;52(1):1-7.

Grudzen, C.R., Buonocore, P., Steinberg, J., Ortiz, J.M., Richardson, L.D. and the AAHPM Research Committee Writing Group [R. Elk, member]. Concordance of advance care plans with inpatient directives in the electronic medical record for older patients admitted from the emergency department. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2016 Apr;51(4):647-51.

Unroe, K.T., Hickman, S.E., Torke, A.M., and the AAHPM Research Committee Writing Group [R. Elk, member]. Care Consistency with Documented Care Preferences: Methodologic Considerations for Implementing the Measuring What Matters Quality Indicator. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2016;52(4):453-8.

LeBlanc TW, Ritchie C, Friedman F, Bull J, Kutner JS, Johnson KS, Kamal AH, and the AAHPM Research Committee Writing Group [R. Elk, member]. Adherence to Measuring What Matters (MWM) Items When Caring for Patients with Hematologic Malignancies vs. Solid Tumors. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2016 Dec; 52 (6): 775-782

Garner, KK, Dubbert, P, Lensing, S, Sullivan, DH, and the AAHPM Research Committee Writing Group [R. Elk, member]. Concordance between veterans’ self-report and documentation of surrogate decision makers: implications for quality measurement. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2017 Jan; 53 (1); 1-4

Elk, R. A Community-Developed, Culturally-Based Palliative Care Program for African American and White Rural Elders with a Life-Limiting Illness.  Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics. In Press.

Aslakson, RA. Kweku, J., Kinnison, M., Singh, S., Crowe, TY. And the AAHPM Research Committee Writing Group [R. Elk, member]. Operationalizing the Measuring What Matters Spirituality Quality Metric in a Population of Hospitalized Critically Ill Patients and their Family Members. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2017. Mar; 53 (3): 650-655.

Qureshi, ZP, Haider, MR, Rodriguez-Monguio, R, Wooten, NR, Nikitin, RV, Ball, S, Barth, K, Elk, R, Horner, R, Bennett, C. Opioid prescription drug use and expenditures in US outpatient physician offices: Evidence from two nationally representative surveys. Cancer Therapy & Oncology International Journal. In Press.

Elk, R, A Community-Developed, Culturally-Based Palliative Care Program for African American and White Rural Elders with a Life-Limiting Illness: A Program by the Community for the Community”. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, vol 7 (1); Spring 2017.

Unroe KT, Katherine A, Chuang E, Schulman-Green, D, Gramling R and the AAHPM Research Committee Writing Group [R. Elk, member]. The Implementation of Measuring What Matters in Research and Practice: Series Commentary. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

Elk, R. A Community-Developed, Culturally-Based Palliative Care Program for African American and White Rural Elders with a Life-Limiting Illness: A Program By The Community for the Community. Narrat Inq Bioeth. 2017;7(1):36-40

Cain, C, Surbone A, Elk, R., Kagawa-Singer, M. Unpacking Culture, Race and Ethnicity: Quality Palliative Care for All. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. (Under Review)

Hughes, B.P., DeGregory, C., Elk, R., Graham, D., Hall, E.J., Ressallat, J. (2017). Spiritual Care and Nursing: A Nurse’s Contribution and Practice [White Paper]. www.HealthCareChaplaincy.org

Elk, R., Hall, E.J., DeGregory, C., Graham, D., Hughes, B.P., Ressallat, J.I.. The Role of Nurses in Providing Spiritual Care to Patients: An Overview. Journal of Professional Nursing (In Press)

INVITED PUBLICATIONS (In Press)

Elk, R.: Providing Culturally Based End of Life Care in African Americans (Commentary). Journal of Family Strengths, In press. 

BOOKS PUBLISHED

Elk, R. and Morrow, M.: “Breast Cancer” FOR DUMMIES, Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing Inc., 2003.

Elk, R. and Landrine, H. (Eds.): Cancer Disparities: Causes and Evidence-Based Solutions. NY: Springer Publishing Company, 2012.

Boehmer, U. and Elk, R. (Eds.): Cancer and the LGBT Community: Unique Perspectives from Risk to Survivorship. NY: Springer Publishing Company, 2015. Downloads of eBook in 2015: 2,714.