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Carla C. Keirns, MD, PhD, MSc, FACP

Assistant Professor, History and Philosophy of Medicine 
Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Palliative Medicine 
2025 Robinson
MS 1025
3901 Rainbow Boulevard Kansas City, KS 66160
913-588-5190 -- office
913-588-7060 -- fax

Education and Training

• B.A. magna cum laude in Biological Sciences Cornell University
• M.A. in History and Sociology of Science University of Pennsylvania
• Ph.D. in History and Sociology of Science University of Pennsylvania
• M.D. and Residency in Internal Medicine University of Pennsylvania
• M.Sc. in Health & Health Care Research University of Michigan
• Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Fellowship Program University of Michigan
• Graduate Certificate in Clinical Ethics Union Graduate College (Now Clarkson University)
• Mentored Practice and Faculty Development (Harvard PCEP) in Palliative Medicine
• Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice & Palliative Medicine (ABIM)

Research, Teaching and Service

My research is at the intersection of public health and public policy, using a variety of methods and perspectives to answer questions about the social context of chronic disease, health disparities, and end-of-life care. I have used historical methods to understand the changing epidemiology of acute and chronic diseases in the past two centuries, and how medicine has and has not changed to meet changing population needs. I have used ethical analysis to look at questions of social justice in clinical medicine, public health, and social policy. And I have used both qualitative and quantitative methods to explore contemporary problems such as how and why different individuals and communities receive different kinds of health care across the life span, from studies of childhood asthma in urban communities to patterns of end-of-life care in different regions of the US. I have authored articles and book chapters in clinical ethics, health services research, and history of medicine, with a focus on health disparities, end of life care, chronic disease, epidemiologic transitions and public health ethics. I also served as co-curator to the National Library of Medicine's exhibition, "Breath of Life" on the history of asthma and is completing a book, Measured Breath: A Short History of Asthma, for Johns Hopkins University Press. I teach ethics, humanities and health policy within the medical curriculum, as well as to medical residents and fellows. 

My clinical practice includes attending on the inpatient adult palliative care service at the University of Kansas Hospital and serving as a clinical ethics consultant at the medical center. Before joining the faculty at KU Medical Center, I served as assistant professor of Preventive Medicine, Medicine & History at Stony Brook University (SUNY) and Associate Director of their Center for Medical Humanities and Associate Director of their Palliative Care Program.

Among my awards are an Investigator Award in Health Policy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a Gold Foundation-Harvard Macy Award for Medical Education and fellowships and awards from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIH), the Dewitt Stetten Jr. Museum of Medical Research and the NIH Office of History, the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH), the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation (Johnson & Johnson Fellowship), the Benjamin & Mary Siddons Measey Foundation, the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. I have worked, taught and observed in health care settings in the United States, Australia, Mexico and Botswana, and taught public health in Jamaica.

Selected Publications

Keirns, Carla C. Measured Breath: A Short History of Asthma, book on the history and sociology of asthma in the United States from 1850s to the 21st century, under contract after peer review, Johns Hopkins University Press

Carla C. Keirns, Illusions of Certainty, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, Winter 2015, 5(3): forthcoming

Carla C. Keirns, A Sister, A Father and a Son: Autism, Genetic Testing and Impossible Decisions, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, Winter 2015, 5(3): forthcoming Carla C. Keirns,

Everyday Ethics and Ebola: Planning for the Unlikely, American Journal of Bioethics, April 2015; 15(4): 68-70.

Carla C. Keirns, Watching the Clock: A Mother's Hope For a Natural Birth in a Cesarean Culture, Health Affairs, January 2015; 34(1): 178-182.

Matthew DeCamp, Neil J. Farber, Alexia M. Torke, Maura George, Zackary Berger, Carla C. Keirns, Lauris C. Kaldjian, Ethical Challenges for Accountable Care Organizations: A Structured Review. Journal of General Internal Medicine, October 2014; 29(10): 1392-9.

Stephen G. Post, John Pomeroy, Carla C. Keirns, Virginia Isaacs Cover, Michael Leverett Dorn, Louis and Florence Boroson, Anne Coulehan, Jack Coulehan, Kim Covell, Kim Kubasek, Elizabeth Luchsinger, Shana Nichols, James Parles, Linda Scheiber, Samara Tetenbaum, Rose Ann Walsh, Brief report: Stony Brook Guidelines on the Ethics of the Care of People with Autism and Their Families, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, June 2013; 43(6): 1473-6.

Natalie R. Sampson, Edith A. Parker, Rebecca R. Cheezum, Toby C. Lewis, Ashley O'Toole, Adriana Zuniga, Jean Patton, Thomas G. Robins, Carla C. Keirns, "I wouldn't look at it as stress": Conceptualizations of caregiver stress among low-income families of children with asthma, Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, February 2013; 24(1):275-88.

Last modified: Sep 17, 2020