Stephanie A. Massaro, MD, MPH, is a pediatrician who specializes in hematology, oncology, and palliative care. Dr. Massaro’s primary research and clinical practice focus on abnormal blood development and blood cancers, specifically acute lymphoblastic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Dr. Massaro has a particular interest in Down Syndrome-associated leukemia. She is the medical director of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital and co-director of the Yale Pediatric Leukemia/Lymphoma Program. In addition, Dr. Massaro has established a Pediatric Palliative Care Program at Yale. The interdisciplinary team works to improve quality of life, support goals of care, and transition to hospice care at end-of-life.
Dr. Massaro seeks to provide the best care possible for patients and their families. Her goal is to help children with serious illnesses enjoy life across their care journey. She provides palliative and hospice care to children with chronic life-limiting illnesses, including cancer, genetic and neuromuscular disorders, and other conditions requiring frequent interventions and hospitalizations, which negatively impact quality of life. “When a child is diagnosed with leukemia at age 3, the toddler, pre-school, and kindergarten years are inevitably affected by treatment. They aren’t going to get that time back. So, we want them to find opportunities to do all the things that children do at those ages,” she says.
End-of-life care is exceptionally challenging, she explains. “Most families struggle with how best to transition care without feeling like they are abandoning their child,” she says. “We help patients, families, and providers focus the goals of care on aggressive symptom management, as well as support meaningful experiences and promote legacy building."
Dr. Massaro believes there are great rewards in developing intimate relationships with patients and families. “As an oncologist, I do a lot of talking. I think part of it is knowing how to have true and honest conversations and then, to really listen,” she says.
Dr. Massaro values these partnerships and remains committed to serving children in her community, whatever the situation. “I’ve found families are relieved and grateful to have this kind of support as they face the most difficult circumstances,” she says. “It’s my privilege to hold them up when they can no longer stand.”
Yale Medicine, Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital