Meet Hunter Groninger, MD, MA

Hunter Groninger

Hunter Groninger serves as Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University, Director of the Section of Palliative Care at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and Scientific Director for Palliative Care at the MedStar Health Research Institute. He grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts, completed his undergraduate degree at Princeton University and master’s degree at the University of Paris-Sorbonne in comparative and French literature. After completing his medical degree and training in internal medicine at the University of Virginia, Dr. Groninger completed a fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine at Capital Hospice in Washington, DC. Dr. Groninger is also a Master Facilitator with the Education for Palliative and End-of-Life Care (EPEC) Program at Northwestern University, a Faculty Affiliate in the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities at the University of Virginia, and a grant-funded investigator at the MedStar Health Research Institute. Some of his current studies include palliative care delivery in cardiovascular medicine, innovative symptom management strategies, language and word choice in complex communication, and the medical humanities. Select citations can be seen at

Featured media, scholarship, and events

Nurse holding patient's hand

“When We Document End-of-Life Care, Words Still Matter”

September 21st, 2018

Dr. Hunter Groninger and Anne M. Kelemen highlight the findings of the study “Language Used by Health Care Professionals to Describe Dying at an Acute Care Hospital”, and how providers’ discomfort in employing clear, direct terms when talking about dying can have unintended consequences, such as miscommunication, and missed or delayed opportunities to engage in the grieving process.…

Hospital patient holding a heart-shaped plushie

“Failing Better: A New Paradigm of Care”

July 22nd, 2017

Dr. Hunter Groninger introduces a Heart Failure Reviews symposium issue that aims to call attention to the rapidly developing interface between heart failure and palliative care.…

Collage of post-its under the title "Diagnostic tools". The post-its say "There's too much jargon and no one to explain", "Suggestions/consulting leaves me confused", "Internet tools symptom/disease tools scare people, they always think they have the worst/least likely disease", and "Who to go to -correct level, -expertise, -self-service triage"

“Poor Prognostication: Hidden Meanings in Word Choices”

April 21st, 2017

The absence of a standardised language to express prognostic information can be a barrier for providing realistic information to patients and their families. The team of researchers that includes Dr. Michael Pottash and Dr. Hunter Groninger surveyed a random sample of internal medicine attending physicians and residents to better determine perception of word choice related to documentation of patient prognosis and hospice eligibility in the medical record.…