Dr. Jung Kwak

Bridging better lives for persons with dementia and their caregivers.

How Do You Make Decision
About Healthcare Treatment
For Yourself and Others?

We make decisions all the time. In fact, some estimates suggest that an average person makes over 30,000 choices per day!  Some decisions are easy, sometimes made unconsciously, while some decisions are really difficult to make. Some decisions are of very little importance, while some decisions can have life-changing, or even life or death consequences.  

At our lab, several research projects focus on healthcare decision-making.  Specifically, the research projects focus on how persons with dementia and their family members make decisions about medical treatments, and communicate their values and preferences with healthcare providers.  We also study how healthcare providers can help patients and families make informed decisions that are consistent with their values and preferences.  

One project is testing a conversation workbook designed to help persons with memory problems or dementia, and their family members to engage in advance care planning (a process for people of any age or health status to talk and share with their loved ones and healthcare providers about what kind of care they want or don’t want to receive when they become unable to speak for themselves).  Another project looks at competency standards for advance care planning from different health professional disciplines. Other project aims are to identify, describe, and examine the extent to which healthcare chaplains are engaged in facilitating advance care planning. A new project will examine social media data to identify, describe, and analyze information, value, and support needs among family caregivers of persons with dementia as they make important medical decisions on behalf of their loved ones. 

Interested in joining our team?

We’re looking for undergraduate and graduate researchers!!

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RESEARCH GRANTS: Dr. Kwak and her colleagues from Dell Medical School received Cain CollaborativeResearch Pilot grant award for their study, Advancing Equities in Palliative Care: FeasibilityStudy of Palliative Lay Navigator & Support for Hospitalized Dementia Family Caregivers in June 2022.

AWARDS AND HONORS: Dr. Kwak was awarded Ed and Molly Smith Centennial Fellowship in Nursing (Fall 2021-Spring 2023). School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin.

MEDIA INTERVIEWS: Dr. Kwak was interviewed by Elizabeth L. McQueen for What Do We Do Now? Podcast episode (August 10 th , 2021),