Dr. Rachel M. Adams

Rachel Adams, MD, Director

Dr. Adams serves as Division Chief for Palliative Care within the Department of Medicine at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (MGUH).  Prior to joining Medstar Georgetown, Dr. Adams was associate director for inpatient consult services in the Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Care at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, NY, where she also completed her Palliative Medicine fellowship. Dr. Adams is a graduate of the Boston University Medical Center Internal Medicine Residency Program in Boston, MA and received her medical degree from SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY.  Dr. Adams is deeply committed to interdisciplinary team work, which is core to the structure of high-quality palliative care and is very proud to lead a team at Georgetown with representation from nursing, social work, medicine, and pharmacy.  Dr. Adams holds a BA from Swarthmore College in English Literature.

Yordanka Kirkova, MD


Tara M Coles, MD

Dr. Tara Coles received her medical degree from The George Washington University School of Medicine in 2001 and completed her residency in Emergency Medicine at Boston Medical Center where she served as Chief Resident in 2005. Dr. Coles spent 13 years practicing Emergency Medicine in both Academic and Community Medical Centers in the Baltimore and DC Metropolitan area. She developed an interest in the practice of palliative care in Emergency Departments and other acute care settings. This motivated her to continue her training in the palliative interdisciplinary  model of caring for the whole person and family unit in the context of complex serious illness. Dr. Coles completed her Fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Medstar Washington Hospital Center in 2019. She joined the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Palliative Care Service in August 2019. Dr Coles' interests include teaching and medical education, palliative care curriculum development, narrative medicine, caregiver wellness, and bridging gaps between palliative medicine and other subspecialties. She lives with her husband and 4 children in Bethesda, Maryland.

Beth Orrell, ANP-BC, ACHPN

Beth Orrell received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Eastern Mennonite University in 1985 and her Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994. She is certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner. Prior to joining MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s palliative care team, Ms. Orrell worked for 28 years at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s intensive care and cardio-thorasic stepdown units as a staff nurse, clinical manager and nurse practitioner providing post-surgical care to patients recovering from heart surgery. She joined MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s palliative care program in August 2014.

Cheryl Hughes, LICSW

Cheryl Hughes joined the Medstar Georgetown University Hospital Division of Palliative Medicine in 2019. Prior to that time, she was an oncology social worker at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she developed interventions to assist patients with young children navigate the challenges of a cancer diagnosis. Cheryl’s close association with patients and families during her decade as an oncology social worker prompted a deep respect for and interest in palliative care work.

Ms. Hughes earned her master’s degree in social work from Catholic University, and later received a post-master’s certificate in Palliative and End-of-Life Care from Smith College School of Social Work. She facilitates support groups for young adults with cancer, as well as bereavement support groups for family members.

Carolyn Kyle, NP

Carolyn Kyle received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Drexel University in 2006 and began her nursing career in oncology and bone marrow transplant at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania. In 2010, she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Science in Nursing in the Adult Nurse Practitioner program. From 2011 to 2019, she worked as a hematology-oncology nurse practitioner at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania where she cared for liquid oncology, bone marrow transplant, and cellular therapy inpatients. During this time, she completed post-master's nurse practitioner certificates from the University of Pennsylvania in Psychiatric-Mental Health (2011) and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care (2016). Carolyn joined the Medstar Georgetown University Hospital Palliative Care Service in September of 2019.  

Jennifer Ku, Clinical Pharmacist

Jennifer Ku received her Bachelors of Science in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University in 2013 and her Doctorate of Pharmacy from University of North Carolina in 2017. She is board certified as a pharmacotherapy specialist and has completed residency training in pain management and Palliative Care pharmacy practice at University of Iowa. Prior to joining the Palliative Care team at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Dr. Ku has worked as pharmacist at University of Utah Health and taught students at University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. She joined MedStar Georgetown University Hospital's Palliative Care program in August 2019.


Aaron Wood, DO



Michelle Milic, MD


Contact the Palliative Care Division

For more information on the Palliative Care division, please call

(202) 444-2611

Inpatient Palliative Medicine Consult

Ask your inpatient primary medical team to consider calling Palliative Medicine.