Harvard Medical SchoolCenter for Palliative Care

Our Mission

The Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care (HMS CPC) aims to ease suffering and enhance the quality of care for patients and their families dealing with life-threatening and/or serious illness, through fostering leadership and supporting outstanding educational programs in palliative care. By educating future generations of physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals, the Center serves as a national and international resource for the best practices in palliative care education and practice.


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Andy BillingsIn Memoriam

As many of you have surely heard by now, Andy Billings passed away on September 6th. This was a profound loss for his family and his many friends within and outside of the palliative care community. Andy was a pioneer in our field in so many ways, and one of his greatest contributions was as a founder and co-director of PCEP. A generation of palliative care clinicians have enhanced their knowledge and skills through this program, and for many of you it was the gateway to a new career. We have heard many remembrances about Andy's gifts as a teacher and mentor.

Many of these same people have also asked about a way that they can recognize his memory through a charitable contribution. In discussion with his wife, Susan Block, we have decided to create the J. Andrew Billings Fund to support scholarships to PCEP for candidates from developing countries. This is a topic about which Andy felt passionately and to set aside monies for this purpose would be a fitting tribute to his memory and dedication to the field.

We invite you to consider a gift to this fund. All contributions will be used exclusively for PCEP international scholarship support, and will be administered by a committee of the Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care designated for this purpose. Donations will be managed through the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and can be made at the following site:


Andy's loss sent a wave of sadness throughout our palliative care community.

We are grateful for this opportunity to continue to carry on his work.


Vicki A. Jackson, MD, MPH
James A. Tulsky, MD
Co-Directors, HMS Center for Palliative Care

PCEP Palliative Care Education and Practice (PCEP)

A Course for Palliative Care Clinical and Education Leaders

November 3-10, 2015 and May 4-10, 2016

This year's course is now closed.
Please consider joining us next year:
November 1-8, 2016 and May 3-9, 2017

Palliative Care Education and Practice (PCEP) offers intensive learning experiences for physician and nurse educators who wish to become expert in the clinical practice and teaching of comprehensive, interdisciplinary palliative care, as well as gain expertise in leading and managing improvements in palliative care education and practice at their own institutions. Our goal is to contribute to the training of leaders and educators who can train the next generation of clinicians, and build new programs to improve access to palliative care services. PCEP provides intensive small group teaching focused on communication, psychosocial issues, feedback, self-care, change management, ethical challenges, and many other topics.

PCEP is designed for physician and nurse educators who wish to enhance their skills in clinical practice, teaching, and program development in palliative care and who have, or wish to develop, a leadership role at their institution. In addition, educators, hospital administrators, mental health clinicians, pharmacists, and physician assistants are also encouraged to attend.

Download the 2015-16 course brochure

ASPNArt & Science of Palliative Nursing (ASPN)

A Course for Nurses in Palliative Care Basics

June 9-10, 2016

The Art & Science of Palliative Nursing (ASPN) course focuses on applying essential principles of palliative nursing to the management of patients with various chronic illnesses across settings. Sessions will highlight advance care planning, communication, pain and symptom management, and integrative therapies in palliative care.

Download the 2015 course brochure

SICPSerious Illness Care Program (SICP)

A Course for Change Agents at the Personal, Practice, and System Level

June 22-24, 2016

Participants in this intensive, highly-interactive, two-and-a-half-day course, sponsored jointly by Ariadne Labs and the Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care, will learn about and practice an innovative approach to serious illness discussion and develop competencies in training others and implementing a system-wide Serious Illness Care Program (SICP) at their local institution. Derived from evidence-based best practices, this new course offers proven strategies, practical instruction, tools, and workshops to support you, your colleagues, and your institution in conducting these difficult, but crucial, conversations.

We invite all physicians, psychologists, nurses, allied health professionals, social workers, chaplains, residents, and fellows in training who work with patients with serious illness and families, or who teach other clinicians about serious illness communication skills, to attend this course. This course is especially designed for individuals who are responsible for system-wide innovations to improve the quality of care, manage populations, and enhance value.

Download the 2015 course brochure

PAPCPractical Aspects of Palliative Care (PAPC)

A Foundational Program in Palliative Care for New and Experienced Clinicians

September 15-17, 2016

Registration will Open in Spring 2016

Practical Aspects of Palliative Care (PAPC) is a two-and-one-half-day course designed to offer physicians, nurses, and other clinicians the information and skills needed to provide high quality palliative care to patients with serious illnesses in a variety of practice settings. It addresses the assessment and management of current challenges in palliative care, including the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual/existential sources of suffering experienced by patients and their families. Through plenary sessions and small breakout groups, participants will develop a toolbox of palliative care competencies and will learn from colleagues facing similar practice challenges.

We invite all physicians, nurses, social workers, and allied health professionals who work with patients and families with serious illness or near the end of life to attend this course. This course is designed to provide basic palliative care content for those seeking to build competencies in palliative care, as well as to provide a refresher learning experience for experienced palliative care clinicians.

Download the 2015 course brochure


Palliative Care for Hospitalists and Intensivists (PCFHI)

A Course for Hospital-based Clinicians

March 16-18, 2017

This course will not run in 2016.
Please join us in 2017.

Palliative Care for Hospitalists and Intensivists (PCFHI) is an intensive two-and-one-half-day course that fills a significant gap for hospital-based specialists who seek training in palliative care, and provides these clinicians with the information and skills needed to offer high quality, specialist-level palliative care to inpatients with life-threatening illnesses. Hospitalists and intensivists will acquire a toolbox of key competencies required to deal with challenging end-of-life situations in the hospital. This course will utilize interactive learning formats, such as panel presentations, case-based discussions, Q and A, and role modeling.

This course is specially designed to meet the needs of hospitalists and intensivists (MD, DO, NP, PA) and subspecialty clinicians or generalists with substantial inpatient practices (e.g., cardiologists, surgeons) who are interested in improving their palliative care skills.

Download the 2015 course brochure

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