Women Who Inspire Us: Shoshana Ungerleider

portrait of Shoshana Ungerleider

Early in her training, Shoshana Ungerleider, M.D., was treating a 72-year-old man who had end-stage lung cancer. He likely had just months to live. She decided to ask him, "What do you want?" 

His answer surprised her. He said, "Since being diagnosed with cancer, no one has asked me what I really want. Can I please go home? All I want is to be at home." 

Dr. Ungerleider never looked back. After receiving her M.D. at OHSU, she became a philanthropist, writer, and activist who advocates for palliative care training in medical education. She focuses on education because she realized that doctors-in-training are rarely trained in how to break bad news, support a grieving patient and family, and making sure healing goes beyond medicine.  

She founded the End Well Project, an interdisciplinary symposium on design and innovation for the end of life experience. She also founded the Ungerleider Palliative Care Education Fund to support innovative programs that further palliative care education at every level. 

Along with teaching at Sutter Health's California Pacific Medical Center, Dr. Ungerleider speaks about her work across the country. She has produced several films including Extremis, which won two Emmy awards. 

We're inspired by Dr. Ungerleider because she's spreading the word far and wide that everyone deserves an end-of-life experience that matches their goals and values.