Salimah Meghani, PhD, MBE, FAAN

Salimah H. Meghani, PhD, MBE, RN, FAAN

Professor of Nursing & Palliative Care

Director, Palliative Care Minor and Certificate Programs

Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics

Dr. Meghani has a long-standing commitment to advancing the field of palliative care. She was appointed by Governor Edward Rendell of Pennsylvania to serve on a Taskforce to Improve Quality at the End of Life for Pennsylvanians and Patient Life-Sustaining Wishes Advisory Committee to assess the feasibility of POLST paradigm in Pennsylvania. Dr. Meghani also served as a member of the Institute of Medicine Study Committee that authored the landmark report, Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life. She was a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) planning committee on Pain and Symptom Management for People with Serious Illness in the Context of the Opioid Crisis and reviewed NAM report, Assessing Progress on the Future of Nursing. Her research findings have been utilized in influential health policy reports and congressional testimonies. Dr. Meghani is the past Chair of the American Pain Society’s Pain Disparities Shared Interest Group and currently serves as an invited member of the NIH/NIDA’s Partner Consultation Board for the “Multilevel Interventions to Reduce Harm and Improve Quality of Life for Patients on Long-Term Opioid Therapy” Research Network.

My program of research combines an investigation of palliative care and social determinants of health– two layers of vulnerability embedded in the context of the complex healthcare system. I am committed to helping students and fellows develop skills and the scholarly tools to broach this important area of research.


  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, 2005
  • MBE, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine, 2005
  • MSN, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, 2001
  • BSN, The Aga Khan University, School of Nursing, 1997

Social Justice

Dr. Meghani’s research focuses on investigating disparities in pain and symptom management in seriously ill individuals as a complex clinical and social phenomenon. She incorporates a discourse on disparities in the courses she teaches at undergraduate and graduate levels where the topics of social justice and implicit bias in health and healthcare access are brought to light and interrogated in an open and safe manner.  

Her research and perspectives on social justice and inequitable opioid access for pain is featured in major media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, raising public awareness of these critical social issues. 


Dr. Meghani directs and teaches core courses in Palliative Care Minor and Certificate Programs. She engages students at a very high level in critically appraising research evidence and examining and re-imagining workable healthcare delivery models.


Dr. Meghani leads a highly impactful research program focused on achieving equity in pain and symptom management and improving the quality of life for persons with cancer, particularly in the context of the opioid crisis. Her research adeptly navigates this challenging landscape, compounded by the intersections of federal policies, state laws, and clinical practice guidelines governing opioid access. Dr. Meghani’s research offers valuable insights into the multifaceted nature of cancer pain management and spans an understanding of clinicians, systems, and policy factors that affect clinicians’ decision-making, patients’ self-management, and patient-reported outcomes. Her research has been funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS 128779-PEP-15-186);National Cancer Institute (NIH R01CA270483; NIH U01CA286811); National Institute of Nursing Research (NIH R01NR017853; K01NR010886); NIH Office of the Director, among others. Dr. Meghani’s career highlights also include receiving the highly competitive NIH American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Challenge Grant (NIH RC1NR011591).

Selected Career Highlights

  • Member, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine planning committee, Pain and Symptom Management for People with Serious Illness in the Context of the Opioid Crisis
  • Member, Institute of Medicine Study Committee: Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life
  • Reviewer, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Report: Assessing Progress on the IOM Report The Future of Nursing
  • Former Chair, American Pain Society, Pain and Disparities Shared Interest Group
  • Editorial Boards, Pain Medicine: The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pain Medicine; Journal of Pain; Emergency Cancer Care; Journal of Pain Research 
  • Plenary Speaker, The U.S. Association for the Study of Pain Inaugural Scientific Meeting. 
  • Fellow, American Academy of Nursing
  • Barbara J. Lowery Doctoral Student Organization Faculty Award
  • Distinguished Nursing Researcher Award, Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association. 
  • International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society
  • Member, NIH/NIDA Partner Consultation Board, MIRHIQL Research Network (Multilevel Interventions to Reduce Harm and Improve Quality of Life for Patients on Long Term Opioid Therapy).
  • Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback University Award for Distinguished Teaching, University of Pennsylvania.

Accepting Mentees?

  • Yes

Accepting Fellows?

  • Yes

Selected Publications

  • Meghani, S. H. Quinn, R., Robinson, A., Chittams, J., Vapiwala, N., Naylor, M., Cheatle, M., Knafl, G.J. (2024). Trajectories and Predictors of High-Occurrence Pain Flares in Ambulatory Cancer Patients on Opioids. JNCI Cancer Spectrum, doi: 10.1093/jncics/pkae003. PMID: 38268502. 

  • Jones KF, Joudrey P, Meier D, Meghani S, Merlin J. (2023). Juggling Two Full-Time Jobs -
    Methadone Clinic Engagement and Cancer Care. N Engl J Med. 2023. doi:10.1056/NEJMp2310123. PMID: 38009604.

  • Meghani, S.H. (2023). Invited Editorial: ER/LA Opioid self-management patterns may pose safety risks in ambulatory persons with cancer pain. Emergency Cancer Care, 2(4).

  • Meghani SH, Vapiwala N. Bridging the Critical Divide in Pain Management Guidelines From the CDC, NCCN, and ASCO for Cancer Survivors. JAMA Oncol. 2018 Oct 1;4(10):1323-1324. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.1574. PubMed PMID: 29852051.

  • Meghani, S. H.  (2016). Intended Target of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Opioid Guidelines. JAMA Oncology, 2(9), 1243. (PMID: 27468172). 10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.2185. 

  • Meghani, S.H., & Hinds, P.S. (2015). Policy Brief: The Institute of Medicine Report Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life. Nursing Outlook, 63(1), 51-59. (PMID: 25645482).10.1016/j.outlook.2014.11.007
  • Meghani, S.H., Kang, Y., Chittams, J., McMenamin, E., Mao, J., & Fudin, J. (2014). African Americans with cancer pain are more likely to receive an analgesic with toxic metabolite despite clinical risks: A mediation analysis study. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 32(25), 2773-2779. (PMID: 25049323).10.1200/JCO.2013.54.7992
  • Meghani, S.H., Byun, E., & Gallagher, R.M. (2012). Time to take stock: A Meta-Analysis and systematic review of pain treatment disparities in the United States. Pain Medicine, 13(2), 150-174. (PMID: 22239747).10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01310.x
  • Meghani, S.H., Polomano, R., Tait, R., Vallerand, A., Anderson, K., & Gallagher, R.M. (2012). Advancing a national agenda to eliminate disparities in pain care: Directions for health policy, education, practice, and research.. Pain Medicine, 13(1), 5-28. (PMID: 22142450).10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01289.x

View all publications

Related Stories

When Segregation of Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Threatens Care for People with Coexisting Conditions

Life becomes very complex for patients who need to manage pain due to cancer or other illness while still receiving methadone treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). Methadone is a highly effective medication for treating OUD, however, the current U.S. regulatory framework mandates that methadone for OUD is exclusively accessible through federally approved Opioid Treatment Programs, with many individuals required to make daily visits for supervised dosing. This requirement places a significant burden on those with competing health needs, limited access to transportation, living in rural areas or in regions with few or no treatment programs.

Read MoreWhen Segregation of Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Threatens Care for People with Coexisting Conditions