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Department of Supportive Care Medicine

The Department of Supportive Care Medicine is a 'city' - a community - working together to make sure you and your loved ones never have to face the challenges involved with cancer alone.

We provide an integrated, interdisciplinary array of supportive care services and programs that address the many physical and emotional issues that can arise during and after treatment to help you navigate City of Hope and ensure access to the resources you need.
Supportive Care Vision

The partnership between City of Hope and The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation will support City of Hope’s efforts to expand patient access to its evidence-based supportive care medicine offerings across its cancer care system and to advocate for establishing supportive care as a standard best practice for cancer care in the United States.

City of Hope is a National Leader in Supportive Care Medicine

Our goal is to expand access to our evidence-based supportive care offerings and advocate for a national standard of practice for cancer care.

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Supportive and Palliative Medicine

Patients with a serious illness often face complex challenges involving physical, spiritual and emotional stress. Our Supportive and Integrative Medicine team can help manage discomfort with a wide array of available services.

60-40 Dr. Dale clinic
Emotional, Social and Spiritual Support

The stress and anxiety that can accompany diagnosis and treatment of cancer can weigh on a patient and their loved ones. Our Supportive Care staff members are highly trained experts, able to help you and your family with emotional, social and spiritual support.

Leukemia survivor, Alex Tung, talks about the support he received from City of Hope’s Department of Supportive Care Medicine while he was in treatment.
Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center

Conveniently located on the Duarte campus, the Biller Patient and Family Resource Center integrates all support services under one umbrella.

Biller Center
Patient and Family Education Library

The stress and anxiety that can accompany diagnosis and treatment of cancer can weigh on a patient and their loved ones. Our Supportive Care staff members are highly trained experts, able to help you and your family with emotional, social and spiritual support.

Biller Center
Caring For Older Adults With Cancer

Our Older Adults’ Specialized Interdisciplinary Services Program (OASIS) team knows that as older adults receive cancer care, whether it is before, during or after treatment, they may struggle with the effects of cancer and its treatment in unique ways.

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Practical Resources

Practical issues can sometimes complicate your ability to receive medical care. Our services focus on providing patients and families with practical resources.
Understanding Chemotherapy

We resources to help you understand chemotherapy treatment and how to manage the symptoms of side effects.

PATIENT NAVIGATORS

We provide services to help navigate the complex health-care system.

GRIEF AND BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT

We believe in helping patients reach the end of their lives with dignity and in as much comfort as possible, while helping families and friends cope with grief and loss.

YOUNG ADULTS AND ADOLESCENTS

We offer medical care, psychosocial support and resources designed to help young adults flourish from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.

Our Research Programs

Beyond providing a comprehensive range of supportive care services, the Department of Supportive Care Medicine also engages in research and training to continually improve and integrate supportive care at City of Hope and other health institutions nationwide.

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Supportive Care Training Programs

Our Vision is to transform the health care system by maximizing compassionate expertise one professional at a time. 

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Department Leadership
Dr. Andrew T Leitner
Andrew T. Leitner, M.D.
Anesthesiologist; Arthur M. Coppola Family Chair in Supportive Care Medicine

Anesthesiologist Andrew T. Leitner, M.D., is chair of the Department of Supportive Care Medicine and the Arthur M. Coppola Family Chair in Supportive Care Medicine.

Natalie Schnaitmann, L.C.S.W.
Natalie Schnaitmann, L.C.S.W.
Executive Director, Department of Supportive Care Medicine

Natalie Schnaitmann is the Executive Director of the Department of Supportive Care Medicine where she will continue in the leadership and development of the internationally-renowned Department and work to further the efforts of elevating supportive medicine in cancer care for patients nationally.

William Dale, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.S.C.O.
Physician; George Tsai Family Chair in Geriatric Oncology in Honor of Arti Hurria, M.D.

William Dale, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.S.C.O., is the Vice Chair of Academic Affairs for the Department of Supportive Care Medicine.

Richard T. Lee, M.D.
Cherng Family Director's Chair, Center for Integrative Oncology

Richard T. Lee, M.D., is the medical director of the Integrative Medicine Program in the Department of Supportive Care Medicine at City of Hope.

Annette Mercurio, Director, Patient and Family Services, Department of Supportive Care Medicine
Annette Mercurio, M.C.H.E.S., M.P.H.
Director, Patient and Family Services, Department of Supportive Care Medicine

Annette Mercurio, is director of programs in the Department of Supportive Care Medicine at City of Hope in Duarte, California. She directs City of Hope’s Patient Navigation Program, biopsychosocial screening and Child Life, as well as patient and family education. 

Valerie Rhea, Director of Health Care Services and Advance Care Planning
Valerie Rhea
Director of Health Care Services and Advance Care Planning

As director of Health Care Services & Advance Care Planning in the Department of Supportive Care Medicine, she leads the development and integration of more than 300 volunteers on the Duarte, California, campus and within the community practice sites.

Supportive Care Team
Sharon Bailk Ph.D.

Sharon Baik, Ph.D., is an assistant professor, Division of Psychology, Department of Supportive Care Medicine. Her research interests focus on improving the health-related quality of life of cancer survivors, with a particular emphasis on medically underserved populations.

Heather Bitar
Heather Bitar, D.O.
Supportive Care Medicine Physician

Heather Bitar, D.O., is an assistant clinical professor and a palliative medicine physician in the Department of Supportive Care Medicine at City of Hope.

Sorin-Buga
Sorin Buga, M.D.
Supportive Care Medicine Physician

Sorin Buga, M.D., is a clinical professor in the Department of Supportive Care Medicine.

Jessica Cheng, M.D.

Jessica Cheng, M.D., is among the nation’s few, and Orange County’s only, fellowship-trained experts in cancer rehabilitation medicine. This is a subspecialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) also known as physiatry.

Contact Us

Patient Resources Coordinator & Patient Navigators
Our Patient Resources Coordinator focuses on providing patients and families with practical resources so that you can focus on getting treatment.
Clinical Social Workers
Clinical Social Workers help you and your family with practical and emotional concerns.
Child Life Services
Supportive Medicine

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