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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J. Andrew Billings, MD

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

J. Andrew Billings, MD

Former Director, Palliative Care Service, Massachusetts General Hospital

Co-Investigator, Serious Illness Care Program, Ariadne Labs

Co-Director, Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care

Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School


Educational and Professional Experience


BA Amherst College


MD Harvard Medical School


Straight Medical Intern, San Francisco General Hospital


Medical Resident and Elective Fellowship in Psychosomatic Medicine, University of California, San Francisco Hospitals


Fellow in Adult Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston


Staff Physician, MGH Chelsea Memorial Health Center


Staff Physician at MGH


Director, Palliative Care Service, MGH


Co-Director, HMS Center for Palliative Care

Teaching and Research Interests

Dr. Billings began practicing medicine as a primary care physician at a neighborhood health center and at MGH. His special interests were in psychosocial aspects of medicine and in teaching the clinical interview. He soon started a home care program, which led him to hospice at the local and national level. In 1995, Dr. Billings started the Palliative Care Service at MGH. His teachings focused on end-of-life care and especially on communication issues. After piloting a series of Palliative Care Role Model programs under a NIH grant, he and Dr. Block created the Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care with the sponsorship of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Center now sponsors an annual faculty development course, Palliative Care Education and Practice; and two annual review courses, Practical Aspects of Palliative Care and Palliative Care for Hospitalists and Intensivists, and initiated the Serious Illness Communication course in June 2015. Special projects at MGH have included integrating palliative care with intensive care and early integration of palliative care into treatment of advanced lung cancer.