Palliative Care Team

Serious illness creates tremendous challenges for patients and for the people around them. Palliative care expands traditional medical treatment by using an interdisciplinary structure to deliver holistic care to people with advanced disease. Our goals include optimizing patients’ symptom control and functional ability, helping with medical decision-making, and enhancing quality of life for patients and their families.

The palliative care team at Barnes-Jewish Hospital consists of a chaplain, two social workers, two nurse practitioners, and two physicians. Each team member brings years of experience in palliative care, hospice care, and traditional medical care. Team members combine their expertise to provide comprehensive management of the physical, psychological, and spiritual issues related to a patient’s illness. We work closely with Washington University physicians and other healthcare providers to clarify goals and to coordinate workable plans of care.

Our team members include:

Maria Dans, MD

Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine 
Clinical Director, Palliative Care Services

Dr. Dans graduated from Washington University School of Medicine in 1999. She completed residency in Internal Medicine, followed by fellowships in Palliative Medicine and Critical Care Medicine at Stanford University Medical Center in California. Dr. Dans is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She also serves as the Chair of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Guidelines Review Panel in Palliative Care.

Prior to working at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Dr. Dans worked as a surgical intensive care attending at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. She also serves as an associate editor for the American College of Surgeons ethics webpage.

H. Michael Koller, MD

Instructor of Medicine, Internal Medicine
Dr. Koller graduated from Washington University School of Medicine in 1978. He completed residency in Family Medicine and a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Dr. Koller is board certified in Family Medicine and board certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Prior to his fellowship training in Palliative Medicine and joining the BJH Palliative Care Service, Dr. Koller was a member of the Emergency Medicine Division of Washington University, serving in the Emergency Department at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital.

Jonathan Hanson, MSN, ANP-BC, RN

Nurse Practitioner 
Mr. Hanson received his undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia and Graduate degree from the University of Missouri – St Louis. His background includes 6 years of experience on the Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Unit at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and is a US Army veteran. He has been a part of the Palliative Care service since July 2011, and is credentialed as an Adult Nurse Practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Mr. Hanson has also obtained Advanced Certification in Hospice and Palliative Care through the Hospice and Palliative Nurses’ Association in 2016.

Leila Othman, MSN, FNP-BC, RN

Nurse Practitioner
Nurse Practitioner Leila Othman, MSN, FNP-BC completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Chamberlain College of Nursing, and holds a Master’s Degree in Nursing from Maryville University of St. Louis. She started working at Barnes-Jewish Hospital as a Student Nurse Technician in 2007, and continued to work here as a Registered Nurse on a high-risk cardiology division for 7 years. She has been a part of the Palliative Care service since March of 2015. She is board-certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Christa Burke, MSW, LCSW

Social Worker
Christa Burke, MSW, LCSW has a Master’s degree in Social Welfare (MSW) from UCLA and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has a broad background in social work but has been in the field of oncology and palliative care since 2005. She obtained Advanced Certification in Hospice and Palliative Care Social Work in 2015.

Julie Allen-Berger, D. Min., BCC-HPCC

The Rev. Berger is a graduate of Yale Divinity School in New Haven, CT. and Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis. Trained as a pastoral counselor, she has served the oncology population at Barnes-Jewish Hospital since 1992, leading bereavement and compassion fatigue/professional resiliency groups. She served on the hospital’s ethics committee. Rev. Berger participates in education of medical students and staff about spiritual issues in medicine. In 2015, she received specialty certification in hospice and palliative care through the Association of Professional Chaplains. Through her religious tradition, the Presbyterian Church, USA, she participates in teaching and worship leadership in the St. Louis area.

For more information about Palliative Care Services at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, please call 314.747.5361 or email at

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