Mary K. Buss, MD, MPHMary K. Buss, MD, MPH

Role(s): Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program Director; Director, Outpatient Palliative Care Clinic; Associate Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine

Brief Biography: Dr. Buss joined Tufts Medical Center in 2022 with the goal of expanding the ambulatory clinic and opening a fellowship. Her clinical practice is primarily in the outpatient setting, where she enjoys collaborating and learning from colleagues of other specialties. Previously, she practiced as both a medical oncologist and a palliative medicine specialist. She has been responsible for opening and leading a transdisciplinary outpatient palliative care clinic, starting a Hospice Palliative Care Fellowship in 2017 and overseeing the expansion of the Section of Palliative Care at another institution.

Her scholarly work focuses on improving the integration of palliative care into the care of patients with cancer and other advanced illnesses. She is invested in developing and studying the impact of innovative models for delivering palliative care to patients. Dr. Buss has co-designed communication skills curricula for oncology fellows, pulmonary/critical care fellows and internal medicine residents as well as taught communication skills at workshops across the country through VitalTalk. She loves mentoring trainees and early career faculty in scholarly projects. In 2015, she received a Cunniff-Dixon Early Career Physician Award from the Hastings Center, which recognizes physicians who advance end-of-life care. She is an active member of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM), serving as the co-chair of the annual assembly in 2020.

Dr. Buss graduated from Williams College with a degree in Bio-Medical Ethics. She completed her medical school at Georgetown University School of Medicine, followed by residency at University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Hematology-Oncology fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a Palliative Care fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Outside of work, she shares a home with three amazing daughters, a supportive husband, and a spoiled dog. Faith and church inform her world view, helping her make sense of suffering seen in the incredibly gratifying work of supporting the seriously ill and their families.


Rachel Bernstein, MDRachel Bernstein, MD

Role: Attending Physician, Inpatient Palliative Care Consult Service; Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine

Brief Biography: Dr. Bernstein joined Tufts Medical Center and the Division of Palliative care in 2018 after completing her Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship with a focus on inpatient care and clinical work. Currently, Dr. Bernstein attends part-time on the inpatient palliative care consult service. In addition to inpatient care, her clinical interests include physician wellness, and the medical humanities including reflective writing and narrative medicine.

After completing medical school at SUNY Buffalo (her hometown-Go Bills!), she went on to complete a residency in Emergency Medicine at Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, OH.

She started her attending career as an Emergency Medicine physician at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in Manhattan, but soon gravitated towards Palliative Care completing her fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in 2018 before coming to Tufts to focus exclusively on Palliative Medicine.
At home she lives with her husband and young son and enjoys her bike commute to work come rain, snow, or shine!


Elizabeth Figuracion, DO, is a palliative care doctor at Tufts Medical Center. Elizabeth Figuracion, DO

Role: Attending Physician, Inpatient Palliative Care Consult Service; Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine

Brief Biography: Dr. Figuracion is an active clinician on both the inpatient palliative care consult service and in the palliative care clinic. She loves teaching and oversees the weekly palliative care didactics for the team and residents rotating with the palliative care service.

After graduating from Binghamton University of the State University of New York, she earned her medical degree from the New York Institute of Technology, College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Figuracion completed her residency in Family Medicine and her Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens New York. She is a board-certified physician in family medicine as well as in hospice and palliative medicine.

Dr. Figuracion is passionate about providing empathetic and equitable care for vulnerable populations, especially through difficult times. Outside the hospital, some of her favorite things include: being a food enthusiast (sushi!), traveling, shopping, and streaming her favorite shows.



Jatin Dave is a Palliative Care physicianJatin K. Dave, MD, MPH

Role: part-time attending physician on the inpatient palliative care consultation service; Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine

Brief Biography: In addition to attending part-time on the Tufts Inpatient Palliative Care, Dr. Dave is a member of the Medical-Scientific Committee of the New England Alzheimer's Association.  He is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Care, Geriatric Medicine and Clinical Informatics. A few of the topics of special interest include: Management of Cardiac Devices in Hospice and Palliative Care, Payer-Provider Partnerships and Care During the Last Hours.

Previously, at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dr. Dave served as both a primary care physician and consultant geriatrician, as well as director of education. While there, he received the Geriatric Academic Career Award and the Clinical Innovation Award.After his training in internal medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Dr. Dave completed a general internal medicine fellowship at New York University. Dr. Dave then completed a fellowship in geriatric medicine at Harvard University. He also received a master's degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health and earned a bachelor's degree in medicine and in surgery at Gujarat University in Gujarat, India.

Jatin enjoys traveling, spending time with his family and collecting stamps!


Carol R. Pilgrim, MS, AOCN, FNP-BC

Role: Nurse practitioner on the inpatient palliative care consult service. 

Brief Biography: Carol has a bachelor's degree in political science from Grinnell College.  After working in a homeless shelter, she went back to school to become a nurse. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Grand View College and later a Master of Science from the school of Public Health Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

After years of working various roles in oncology, including outpatient breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancers, and inpatient bone marrow transplant, she transitioned to working in palliative care. She joined Tufts Medical Center in June of 2022 with the goal of building a practice providing palliative care to patients with long hospital stays who would benefit from continuity of care.
Outside of work she is a proud mother and loves to hike, cross country ski and travel. 


Rebecca Gorban, MSW, LICSW, APHSW-C

Role: Inpatient Palliative Care Social Worker

Brief Biography: Rebecca comes from a long line of health care providers (her mother, aunt, and grandmother studied nursing and her uncle was a doctor).  After graduating from Barnard College in 1996, Rebecca spent ten years in the not-for-profit sector working in child welfare and as an event planner, fundraiser, and grant writer for a variety of disease related organizations.  This work inspired a desire to work directly with patients and their families which led Rebecca to pursue an MSW which she received from California State University Long Beach in 2009 while living in California.  During her MSW program, Rebecca completed internships with a hospice provider and at a hospital which sparked her interest in Palliative Care. 

She moved back to the East Coast in 2014 and has primarily worked on the Palliative Care team at Tufts Medical Center since 2015.  In addition to her role on the team, Rebecca is the Lead social worker for the oncology team and manages the MSW student intern program.  She currently holds an LICSW and is a Certified Advanced Palliative Hospice Social Worker. 

When she is not at work, Rebecca enjoys living near the beach, walking/running, traveling near and far, going to the movies/theater, and spending time with her favorite (and only!) niece.


Barbara Ratto, RN BSN

Nurse Navigator Palliative Care Division


Tamara Vesel, MDTamara Vesel, MD

Chief of Division of Palliative Care; Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, Tufts University School of Medicine

Biography: Tamara Vesel, MD is the Chief of the Division of Palliative Care in the Department of Medicine at Tufts Medical Center. Most recently, she has been working as the medical director of Pediatric Services as well as a senior Palliative Care physician at the Hospice of the North Shore and Greater Boston/Care Dimensions. In addition to establishing a premier pediatric hospice service for the organization, Dr. Vesel provided care for children and adults of all ages in the North Shore and Greater Boston area. She returns to Tufts Medical Center where she completed a pediatric residency in 1993 and was an attending physician from 1996 to 2003.

Dr. Vesel has been on staff at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, where she was the director of the interdisciplinary pediatric palliative care fellowship program. She has extensive work experience in teaching: she was the course director at Harvard Medical School for “Living with Life Threatening Illness,” that taught medical students the fundamental knowledge, attitudes, and skills for working with a dying patient and their family. She also cofounded curriculum and served as the pediatric co-director for PCEP and Harvard center for palliative care, an interdisciplinary international palliative care course, until 2012.

Dr. Vesel is pediatric and adult palliative care physician with a passion in clinical patient care and teaching of interdisciplinary learners in various care settings. She enjoys traveling, learning about new cultures and spending time hiking and meditating in nature. Dr. Vesel loves music and other arts, in particular playing the harp. Her favorite time spent is with friends and family.