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Matthew Thomas Mendlik, MD PhD

Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology
Attending Physician, Comprehensive Outpatient Parkinsonism Evaluation (COPE) Clinic, School of Medicine, Depart of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania
Attending Physician, Penn Medicine Hospice, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Department: Neurology

Contact information
Department of Neurology
3400 Spruce Street
3 W Gates
Philadelphia, Pa 19104
University of Notre Dame (Biochemistry), 1997.
The Ohio State University (Synthetic and Biological Organic Chemistry), 2005.
The Ohio State University, 2007.
Post-Graduate Training
Medical Scientist Program Fellow, The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health, 1997-2007.
Samuel J. Roessler Research Fellow, The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public HealthThe Ohio State University Department of Chemistry, 1998-1998.
NIH Chemistry/Biology Interface Program (CBIP) Fellow, The Ohio State University Department of Chemistry, 1999-2005.
Resident in Internal Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston MA, 2007-2008.
Resident in Neurology, Boston Medical Center, Boston MA, 2008-2011.
Chief Resident in Neurology, Boston Medical Center, Boston MA, 2010-2011.
Fellowship, Clinical Geriatric Neurology and Palliative Care, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston MA, 2011-2012.
Fellowship, Harvard Palliative Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston MA, 2012-2013.
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 2012.
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 2014.
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Description of Clinical Expertise

Area of concentration: Education in Palliative Care and Neurology

My desire to focus on practice and education in Palliative Care and Neurology was shaped by multiple people and events during my training. Early influences during medical school included a Neurology faculty member who led the Palliative service, with which I rotated, and a peer who trained in Neurology and Palliative Care, ultimately becoming a hospice medical director. Throughout medical school and Neurology residency, I witnessed a strong need for improved communication with patients and families about serious illness in general, and neurologic illness in particular.

Since beginning my career at Penn, I have been delighted with the ways in which I have been able to practice both Palliative Care and Neurology, and at times combine them in rewarding ways. Early on, I naturally became the Palliative service’s “go-to neurologist,” and was able to advise colleagues both at HUP and at Penn’s hospice about the care of patients with neurologic illness. At the same time, my colleagues in Neurology recognized that I could be helpful in guiding difficult conversations for patients with advanced diseases, like multiple sclerosis and CIDP, and I received Palliative consult requests and patient referrals to my general Neurology clinic for advanced symptom management and goals of care discussions. I have also been a part of the Comprehensive Outpatient Parkinsonism Evaluation (COPE) clinic since 2014, providing Palliative Care to patients and families dealing with advanced and atypical movement disorders. I have begun seeing patients from the Huntington’s Disease clinic in a Palliative context as well, and hope to have a more formal relationship with this clinic in the near future, to provide these patients and families with additional support.

In a similar way, I have found many rewarding opportunities to provide and promote crossover education in both of my chosen disciplines. I was privileged to mentor two Neurology residents, Ali Mendelson and Maggie Johnson, through their decisions to pursue Palliative Care fellowships, mentoring Maggie during her fellowship at Penn and in writing a peer-reviewed publication as well. I have also had the pleasure of mentoring Mike Baer, helping to develop his Capstone project to design and implement a Palliative Care skills curriculum for Neurology residents. Ongoing mentorship of Neurology residents, morning report lectures about Palliative-related topics, interviewing residency candidates who are interested in Palliative Care, and instructing medical students and residents in courses and in rotations through my general Neurology clinic, help me to form relationships with pre- and post-graduates, and remain active in their education, both in Neurology and Palliative Care domains. Finally, I have enjoyed promoting Palliative Care through multiple lecture formats including Grand Rounds, invited divisional lectures, and community outreach seminars both at Penn and locally.

I have also been a trainer since 2017 for the Serious Illness Conversation Program, a collaboration with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Ariadne Labs. This program seeks to improve the skills of clinicians and care providers not trained in Palliative Care to initiate and complete meaningful, compassionate conversations about serious illness with their patients. We believe that this program will increase the discussion and documentation of patient and family values and care wishes, ultimately increasing goal-concordant care. This program has been implemented extensively in Oncology at Penn and in multiple other domains across the Health System; I envision helping to bring this program to Neurology faculty and trainees.

Within the Palliative Care service and community, I have found multiple opportunities to talk about the unique challenges of neurologic disease. These have included Grand Rounds, regular lectures to our Palliative fellows and to medical students in the Frontiers in Medicine program, and seminars for Penn Medicine Hospice staff. I have presented three concurrent sessions at the Annual Assembly of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association in 2014 and 2018, on topics including communication with patients who are “locked-in,” coping with personality change and loss of identity in neurologic illness, and how neurologic illness presents unique challenges to the hospice and Palliative Care communities. More recently, I co-authored a paper for the Journal of Palliative Medicine titled, “Top Ten Tips Palliative Care Clinicians Should Know About Caring for Patients with Neurologic Illness.”

I am thankful for the opportunities Penn has afforded me not only to practice Palliative Care and Neurology, but also to combine them in interesting and rewarding ways. My hope is to continue to bring more of each of these disciplines to the other, to improve the care of the patients they have in common.

Selected Publications

Rosenberg J, Massaro A, Siegler J, Sloate S, Mendlik M, Stein S, Levine J. : Palliative Care in Patients with High-Grade Gliomas in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit. Neurohospitalist 10(3): 163-167, 2020.

Matthew T Mendlik, Jessica McFarlin, Benzi M Kluger, Christian L Vaughan, Joel N Phillips, Christopher A JOnes: Top Ten Tips Palliative Care Clinicians Should Know About Caring for Patients with Neurologic Illnesses. Journal of Palliative Medicine 22(2): 193-198, January 2019 Notes: doi: 10.1089/jpm.2018.0617.

Margaret O Johnson, Samuel Frank, Matthew Mendlik, David Casarett: Utilization of Hospice Services in a Population of Patients With Huntington's Disease. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 55(2): 440-443, Feb 2018 Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2017.09.004.

Mendlik MT, Uritsky TJ: Treatment of Neuropathic Pain. Current Treatment Options Neurology 17(12), December 2015 Notes: doi: 10.1007/s11940-015-0381-2.

Mendlik, MT; Frank, S; Casarett, D: Utilization of Hospice Services in a Population of Patients with Huntington Disease. American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine/ Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association Annual Assembly 2015.

Matt Mendlik, Lorie Smith: Book Review: The Better End: Surviving (and Dying) on Your Own Terms in Today's Modern Medical World. Journal of Palliative Medicine 16(12): 1644, December 2013.

Mendlik, Matthew T.; Tao, Peng; Hadad, Christopher M.; Coleman, Robert S.; Lowary, Todd L.: Synthesis of L-Daunosamine and L-Ristosamine Glycosides via Photoinduced Aziridination. Conversion to Thioglycosides for Use in Glycosylation Reactions. Journal of Organic Chemistry 71(21): 8059-70, Oct 2006.

Mendlik, Matthew T.; Coleman, Robert S.; Qi, Guizhong; Lowary, Todd L.; Ferguson, Michael J.: p-Tolyl 3-amino-3-N,4-O-carbonyl-2,3,6-tride­­oxy-1-thio-α-L-lyxo-hexo­pyran­oside Acta Crystallographica E 62(7): o2788–o2790, Jul 2006 Notes: https://doi.org/10.1107/S1600536806021027

Mendlik, M. T., Coleman, R. S., Qi, G., Lowary, T. L. & McDonald, R.: Methyl 2,3-amino-3-N,4-O-carbonyl-2,3-N-cyclo-2,3,6-tride­­oxy-β-L-allo­pyran­oside Acta Crystallographica E 62(7): o2573-o2575, Jul 2006 Notes: https://doi.org/10.1107/S1600536806016709

Mendlik, M. T., Coleman, R. S., Qi, G., Lowary, T. L. & Ferguson, M. J.: Methyl 2,3-amino-3-N,4-O-carbonyl-2,3-N-cyclo-2,3,6-tride­­oxy-α-L-allo­pyran­oside Acta Crystallographica E 62(7): o2576-o2577, Jul 2006 Notes: https://doi.org/10.1107/S1600536806019507

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Last updated: 11/15/2022
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