Kathryn Walker

Kathryn Walker, PharmD, is the regional director for Palliative Clinical Outcomes, Research and Education for MedStar North. She also is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.

She specializes in palliative care services, end-of-life medication use, and education of health professionals in providing quality end-of-life care. Her passion for alleviating suffering drives her efforts in pain management, clinical practice, research and education.

Dr. Walker provides palliative medicine consultations throughout the MedStar hospitals, focusing on patients in the intensive-care units. She developed a protocol for terminal withdrawal of mechanical ventilation and a standardized palliative care order set that serve as models throughout the MedStar system. She frequently serves as a consultant on complex medical, symptom management and ethics cases, and she was instrumental in creating and expanding the pharmacy-based pain management consultation team. Dr. Walker participates in many educational efforts to increase awareness of pain issues and teach appropriate management techniques related to drug therapy.

Dr. Walker was the first pharmacist to be chosen to complete the MedStar Medical Education Research Certificate Program, sponsored in conjunction with the Association of American Medical Colleges. She was in the first cohort of providers nationally to become a Certified Pain Educator, and she is board certified as a pharmacotherapy specialist. Dr. Walker is a past president of the Maryland Pain Initiative (MPI) and has served on the boards of directors for MPI and the Maryland Society of Health System Pharmacists. She holds additional memberships in the Maryland Pharmacists Association, the American College of Clinical Pharmacists, and the Hospice and Palliative Care Network of Maryland.

Dr. Walker is frequently invited to speak at national and regional meetings of professional societies, where she lectures on palliative care, guidelines for ventilator withdrawal and pain medication, and other palliative-care issues. Her research has been published in journals, including the Journal of Supportive Oncology and theJournal of Palliative Medicine. She serves as a reviewer for the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She has received several awards from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for her work in the Public Health Service, and she received an Innovative Practice Award from the Maryland Pharmacists Association.

After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Dr. Walker completed a specialty residency in Palliative Care at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in Baltimore.

Research Interests

Dr. Walker’s research interests include

Pharmaceutical careHealth services researchPalliative carePain managementEnd-of-life medicationHospice care

Selected Research

Effectiveness of Integration of Palliative Medicine Specialist Services into the Intensive-Care Unit of a Community Teaching Hospital

In this retrospective study, Dr. Walker and colleagues assessed the effectiveness of integrating palliative medicine specialists into intensive-care units. Results of this work were published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine (2013).

Using the Power of Mobile Technology to Support End-Stage Cancer Patients

Dr. Walker is a principal investigator on this project sponsored by the Verizon Foundation.

Controlled Dangerous Substance Emergency Preparedness Plan

Dr. Walker is a principal investigator on this project sponsored by the Maryland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Managing Acute Pain in Non-Communicative Palliative Care Patients

Dr. Walker is a co-investigator on this project sponsored by the National Institute of Nursing Research.

View Dr. Walker's publications on PubMed

Research Areas

  • Critical Care/Emergency Medicine
    Health Services/Quality/Outcomes