New Faculty

Dr. Debra Parker Oliver joins the Department of Medicine

Debra Parker Oliver, PhD

Dr. Debra Parker Oliver joined the Division of Palliative Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine as a Professor of Medicine in October of 2020. She also has an appointment in the Goldfarb School of Nursing. She was born in St. Joseph, Missouri and graduated from the University of Missouri with a Master’s degree in Social Work and a PhD in Rural Sociology. She was a Professor at the University of Missouri Department of Family Medicine for 20 years prior to moving to Washington University.

Dr. Parker Oliver is an internationally known researcher in hospice care. She has been a Principal Investigator on three NIH funded R01 awards from three separate institutes (Nursing, Aging, and Cancer). Her work focuses on testing of behavioral interventions with caregivers for patients in hospice and palliative medicine. She has authored 200 peer reviewed publications, and one text book titled: Behavioral Interventions in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Parker Oliver is a Senior Associate Editor for the second leading journal in Palliative Medicine, the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. Dr. Parker Oliver is also the first non-physician member of the Board of Directors for the Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

She is a requested conference speaker as she shares her personal caregiving story. Her award- winning book titled, Legacies From the Living Room: A Love Grief Equation tells the story of her personal caregiving journey with her husband through treatment, palliative care, hospice and bereavement. Her personal interests include quilting, traveling in her RV and cruising. She enjoys her two dogs, three daughters, and four grandchildren. Dr. Parker Oliver is excited to lead the overall research program for the Division of Palliative Medicine and the BJC Supportive Care Institute.