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Palliative Care Education

Teaching and learning are essential to our division’s mission. In addition to our UMass Palliative Medicine Fellowship, our award-winning faculty have created longitudinal curriculum on serious illness communication, pain management, opioid safety, palliative care and hospice for trainees and clinicians throughout our institution. We present at grand rounds in multiple departments and at regional and national conferences. 

Drs. Reidy, Chang, O'Connor, Soni, and Toomey presenting at Grand Rounds

1. Massachusetts Medical Schools Collaborative

We lead the Massachusetts Medical Schools Collaborative, a statewide expert group of faculty, administrators, and students at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Tufts University School of Medicine, and UMass Chan Medical School. Convened in 2017 by Atul Gawande, MD, and the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care, we have a vision that every student in our state will receive foundational training in serious illness communication as a graduation requirement. Our Collaborative has created and implemented educational competencies, curriculum mapping, and data from student focus groups to guide new curriculum and faculty development at each school. Read about our work, including our recent publications in Academic Medicine here and at the links below.

Additional publications

A Call to Action: Using Curriculum Mapping at Four Medical Schools in Massachusetts to Advance Serious Illness Communication Training in Undergraduate Medical Education
Paving the way for universal medical student training in serious illness communication: the Massachusetts Medical Schools’ Collaborative
Chair of the Massachusetts Medical School Collaborative: All Med School Students Should Learn Serious Illness Communication

2. Partnership with the Interdisciplinary Center for Experiential Learning and Simulation (iCELS)

Since 2012, our division has designed and taught simulation-based curricula in serious illness conversations in partnership with iCELS. We have required trainings for 3rd year medical students, internal medicine and neurology residents, and palliative care fellows. With an institutional grant, we launched a training in 2023 for hospital social workers to elevate their role on interdisciplinary teams in assessing patients’ goals of care.

We helped develop the medical school’s nationally recognized curriculum in safer opioid prescribing, pain management, and recognition and treatment of substance use disorder which received a Curriculum Innovation Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges in 2018.

Learn more about these initiatives below.

Effective Goals-of-Care Conversations: From Skills Training to Bedside
Enhancing Skills in Serious Illness Communication in Neurology Residents Using Simulation- A Pilot Study (P2.9-001)
Empowering Hospital Social Workers with Goals-of-Care Skills Training Using Simulation
UMass Opioid Conscious Curriculum

3. Jewell Palliative Scholars Program

Our interdisciplinary faculty have trained more than 400 nurses, nurse practitioners, and social workers in primary palliative care as part of this program since 2014, creating a community of champions within our medical center.  Learn more.

Members of the Division of Palliative Care

Members of the Division of Palliative Care