Professor of Pediatrics, University of Utah
Medical Director, Rainbow Kids Palliative Care Program

Primary Children's Hospital
100 N Mario Capecchi Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84113
contact address


Dr. Joan Sheetz founded the Rainbow Kids Pediatric Palliative Care Program at Primary Children's Hospital, which is an interdisciplinary team that works with children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, assisting with communication, medical decision making, spiritual and psychosocial distress, and symptom management for chronically ill children and children at the end of life. She is director of communication training programs for healthcare providers, including UCoPE (the Utah Certificate of Palliative Education), and UACT, (Utah Advanced Communication Training). She is the Thriving in Pediatrics (TIP) program director for Department of Pediatrics wellness and resiliency, and holds a certificate in Conflict Resolution from the University of Utah.

Dr. Sheetz joined the Office of the Ombudsman for University of Utah Health Sciences faculty, staff, and trainees in February 2019. She has published research related to pediatric palliative care and communication training. She graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and completed a Pediatric Residency and Chief Residency at the University of Utah. She completed the Palliative Care Education and Practice course at Harvard Medical School, and the Foundations Course of the International Ombudsman Association.

Selected Bibliography:

Spraker-Perlman HL, Tam RP, Bardsley T, Wilkes J, Farley L, Moore D, Sheetz J, Baker JN.
The Impact of Pediatric Palliative Care Involvement in the Care of Critically Ill Patients without Complex Chronic Conditions.
J Palliat Med. 2019;22(5):553-556. PubMed abstract

Smith AG, Andrews S, Bratton SL, Sheetz J, Feudtner C, Zhong W, Maloney CG.
Pediatric palliative care and inpatient hospital costs: a longitudinal cohort study.
Pediatrics. 2015;135(4):694-700. PubMed abstract

Sheetz MJ, Bowman MA.
Parents' perceptions of a pediatric palliative program.
Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2013;30(3):291-6. PubMed abstract

Sheetz MJ, Bowman MA.
Pediatric palliative care: an assessment of physicians' confidence in skills, desire for training, and willingness to refer for end-of-life care.
Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2008;25(2):100-5. PubMed abstract

Graves KK, Sheetz J, Patterson P, Davis A, Beck AC.
Communication Training for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Resident Physicians.
American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 2020;In Press.