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Karin B. Porter Williamson, MD

Karin Porter Williamson portrait
Associate Professor, Palliative Medicine

Division Director Palliative Medicine

Professional Background

Dr. Porter-Williamson is Associate Professor and Division Director of Palliative Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She is also the Medical Director for Palliative Care Services at the University of Kansas Health System, and is the Medical Director for the KS-MO TPOPP Coalition. Dr. Porter-Williamson grew up in Topeka, KS, attended Washburn Rural High School then KU for her undergraduate degree in Biology, French and Psychology. She completed Medical School and Internal Medicine residency training at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2002, and then completed fellowship training in Hospice and Palliative medicine in 2003 at San Diego Hospice. After training she returned to the University of Kansas and has been on faculty at KU for the past 19 years.

Dr. Porter-Williamson's professional focus has been on the building and maturation of a world class Palliative Medicine Program, including an inpatient inter professional consultation service which sees more than 3000 new inpatient consults per year, the Allen J Block outpatient Palliative Care Program at the University of Kansas Cancer Center which also sees more than 2800 patient encounters annually, and outpatient services for the Advanced Heart Failure and Transplantation program at the University of Kansas Transplant Center. New ambulatory access for seriously ill patients and families is presently in development for Pediatrics and advanced lung disease

Dr. Porter-Williamson began important collaborations with Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care in 2005 when KU and KCHPC joined in the creation of the first Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship in the great plains region. When Palliative Medicine became an official ABMS specialty, and ACGME began accrediting HPM fellowship programs in 2008, Dr. Porter-Williamson served as the fellowship director for the program through that process. The fellowship program now trains 1 pediatric and 3 adult fellows per year, in partnership with KCHPC, North Kansas City Hospital, and Children's Mercy Hospital. Close collaboration with KCHPC has continued over many years, with creation of a General Inpatient Hospice program for The University of Kansas Health System through KCHPC in 2019.



Dr. Porter-Williamson’s academic interests include building systems for patient-centered, goal concordant plans of care, to improve the value of medical care for patients and families facing serious illness, and to integrate the principles of Palliative Medicine as the standard of care for all seriously ill patients and families. Dr. Porter-Williamson’s educational focus is on the training of medical professionals and inter professional teams across the continuum of care to understand these principles and integrate them into their practice, with specific attention to communication skills necessary for goals of care discussions and serious illness care planning.