Mar Vista resident Dr. Thomas Strouse has been named to the Maddie Katz Chair in palliative care research and education at UCLA.

The chair is named after a longtime benefactor to UCLA, who along with her husband, Ronald, founded Operation Mend, a partnership between UCLA and the U.S. Army to provide reconstructive plastic surgery to military personnel wounded during service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Strouse serves as medical director of the Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA and vice chair for clinical affairs in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.

Palliative care is an area of medicine that aims to improve quality of life for patients and their families who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illnesses by assessing and treating a patient’s physical pain and other physical, psychosocial and spiritual issues.

“Establishing this chair is important to me because it recognizes not just the need to take care of the patient’s pain, but the pain of the family as well,” Ronald Katz said.

“UCLA will benefit from Dr. Strouse’s appointment, and most important of all, patients and their families will benefit and find comfort and contentment.”

Strouse has worked with medically ill adults throughout his career and for the last 15 years has focused clinically on psychosocial oncology and cancer pain and symptom management, according to UCLA. He has published extensively in this area and has worked at a national level, teaching health professionals about psychosocial oncology and palliative care.

Strouse, who has maintained a faculty appointment at UCLA since completing his residency training there in 1991, previously served as director of cancer pain management and psychosocial services at the outpatient cancer center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Prior to Cedars, he was director of the UCLA consultation/liaison psychiatry service and worked closely with the UCLA Liver Transplant Program for more than a decade.

In addition, Strouse is a fellow of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine and an American Psychiatric Association distinguished fellow. He is board-certified in both general psychiatry and the sub-specialty areas of pain medicine, psychosomatic medicine, and hospice and palliative medicine.

“I was drawn to the practice of psychiatry and palliative care because it is, first and foremost, organized around the needs of the patient,” Strouse said. “In palliative care, we strive to manage a patient’s pain and symptoms in the most effective and efficient way possible. The goal is to prevent unnecessary hospital stays or trips to the emergency room.”