Palliative Care Education and Practice (PCEP)
A Course for Palliative Care Clinical and Education Leaders
Palliative care is an essential component of medical care for patients with serious illness. The field is growing rapidly, presenting healthcare institutions and systems with challenges about how to meet the need with high quality care. Palliative Care Education and Practice (PCEP) is a comprehensive course delivered by expert palliative care clinicians and educators who create a warm welcoming environment conducive to deep learning and growth. PCEP provides physicians, nurses, and social workers a structure in which to efficiently acquire the skills and perspective necessary to influence this changing health care environment.
At the conclusion of PCEP, participants will have acquired significant skills in the clinical practice and teaching of comprehensive, interdisciplinary palliative care, as well as having gained expertise in leading and managing improvements in palliative care education and practice at their own institutions.
"As an academic general pediatrician myself, I highly recommend the Harvard’s PCEP program. I had the opportunity to attend it several years ago, and it was phenomenal and transformative. It is an immersive and intensive experience (2 one-week blocks) with an excellent pediatric track. Not only does it teach palliative care, it teaches you how to teach palliative care."
- Shih-Ning Liaw, MD, FAAP
Part 1 of PCEP consists of 7 days of intensive learning, followed by a 6-month interim during which participants work on an individual project and contribute to weekly online discussions of problematic, clinical, educational, or program development cases presented by other participants. Part 2 consists of 6 days of continued experiential learning, training, and consolidation.
Teaching is learner-centered and takes place in a variety of interactive formats including: small groups, large group discussions, demonstration interviews, and panel discussions. Participants have the opportunity to develop action plans for change at their institutions and to practice and receive feedback about their teaching and change strategies. Many opportunities for informal interchange are available.
You may apply for either the adult track or the pediatric track. Adult and pediatric track participants attend joint sessions except where noted in the schedule. The pediatric track will highlight the unique aspects of pediatric palliative care.
Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:
- Demonstrate increased knowledge in the key competencies of palliative care, including advanced pain and symptom management.
- Apply new communication skills to the complex care of seriously ill patients.
- Teach palliative care fundamentals (evaluation and treatment of physical, psychosocial and spiritual distress, communication, ethical and cultural issues, palliative care in pediatric populations, depression, and bereavement) to learners from a variety of healthcare settings.
- Develop palliative care curricula using principles of adult learning styles, new teaching methodologies, and by providing feedback.
- Integrate palliative care clinical programs into a wide variety of healthcare settings by assessing institutional structure and culture, evaluating readiness to change, dealing with resistance, developing and financing palliative care programs, and cultivating fundraising strategies.
Who Should Attend?
PCEP is designed for palliative care specialists, champions, and educators, as well as generalist and specialist physicians and nurses who wish to gain additional competencies in palliative care by enhancing their skills in communication, teaching, and clinical practice. Palliative care specialists charged with new program initiatives and who would benefit from mentoring are also encouraged to attend.
Please note that mastery of spoken and written English is essential for successful participation in PCEP. Candidates from countries for whom English is not the primary language may be interviewed to determine fluency.
"Thank you for a truly transformative experience that I (and, clearly, many others) had through PCEP. Those were certainly the best two weeks of education (in the broadest sense of the word) I've ever had, which is saying a lot, given how many years I went to school."
-Robert Macauley, MD
We are grateful to the Open Society Foundations' Project on Death in America and Jane Weingarten and the late Dr. Charles Weingarten for their long-term commitment to scholarship funding. Special appreciation to the J. Andrew Billings, MD Memorial Fund. Additional scholarship assistance, and support for our "patients-as-teachers" program, is provided by Partners HealthCare, Inc., the Jacqueline S. Alaimo Palliative Care Fund, and JoJo's Education Fund.