Harvard Medical SchoolCenter for Palliative Care



Course Directors

James A. Tulsky, MD
Vicki A. Jackson, MD, MPH

Pediatric Track Directors

Joanne Wolfe, MD, MPH
Christina Ullrich, MD, MPH


November 5-10, 2017 AND
May 6-11, 2018


Hotel Marlowe
Cambridge, MA




Scholarships available


Earn up to 66.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ for both the Adult and Pediatric tracks.

In Massachusetts
Opioid Education/Pain Management Credits:
Adult track max: 2.75
Pediatric track max: 4.00
End-of-Life Care Credits:
Adult track max: 34.00
Pediatric track max: 33.75

Application Period




Photo by Bastienne Schmidt and Philippe Cheng

This photograph is from a collection of images that depicts our evolving culture of death in America, how we emotionally, spiritually, and practically experience mourning, grief, and loss. Our social and cultural environments impact and shape our responses to death and form the basis of traditional rituals as shown in this picture of three women having a picnic in a cemetery in memory of their loved ones.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When will I hear back from you about my application?
When we receive your materials you will receive a confirmation email from us letting you know that we have received everything or if we are still waiting for something in order to review your application. You will be notified via email of your status no later than August 7, 2017.
If my colleague and are both applying to the course, can we send in one application?
While you and your colleague may be coming to the course with the same project and/or goals, we will be reviewing the applications separately. There are some instances when we can only accept one person from the team. With this, it is important for each individual to apply separately, but mention that your colleague (include name) is also applying.
Is the tuition due at one time?
Yes. Participants can pay via credit card or check prior to the start of the course. Cash is not accepted. Please note that if you pay by wire, you must include an additional $30 (U.S.) to cover the bank wire fees.
I am a Fellow and interested in applying for this program.
Sorry, we do not accept Fellows to this program.
Can you tell me more about the project?
The project should be something you are already working on or have been charged to do at your institution. Do not try to create something special for the course. The idea is to be able to bring this project with you and get feedback from faculty and your project group members, as well as apply what you are learning in the course to your every day work. Projects have ranged from those developing a palliative care program to developing curriculum for fellows/medical students to research and quality improvement projects related to palliative medicine/service.
What is the schedule like for the course?
The schedule is very full. Due to the intense nature of the course, we request that you keep most evenings free for program preparation and activities. You must be able to come for the full two weeks and participate in the online discussion in the 6 month interim. You also must complete the course in order. The curriculum is continuous so you cannot start with Part 2 and conclude with Part 1.
How many people are accepted and how many people apply?
The application process is competitive. We typically receive over 100 applicants each year for 64 spots; 21-24 spots are allocated to the Pediatric Track.

History of PCEP

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.


Sullivan, Lakoma, Billings, et al. (2005). Teaching and learning end-of-life care: Evaluation of a faculty development program in palliative care. Journal of Academic Medicine, 80(7), 657-668.
The Harvard Medical School (HMS) Program in Palliative Care Education and Practice (PCEP) was developed to address the need among physician and nurse educators for faculty development in palliative care. The target audience includes clinicians seeking to incorporate palliative care into their existing practice and teaching, as well as those planning to specialize in palliative care and assume roles in leading and managing improvements in palliative care education and practice. A distinctive aspect of this program is its integration of clinical skill development and pedagogy. This strategy combines learning to teach with teaching to learn; that is, participants focus on developing their abilities to teach palliative care, and in so doing enhance the quality and breadth of their own clinical practice.
Download full article.
Sullivan, Lakoma, Billings, et al. (2006). Creating enduring change: Demonstrating the long-term impact of a faculty development program in palliative care. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 21, 907-914.
Improving professional education is of particular concern in the rapidly growing field of palliative care, where the need for leaders in clinical care and education far outweighs supply, and, except for full-time fellowship programs, there are relatively few educational experiences available for clinicians. Deficiencies in care for the dying have been well documented, and national organizations have endorsed palliative care as a priority for training. This report describes an evaluation of the long-term impact of the Harvard Medical School Program in Palliative Care Education and Practice (PCEP), an intensive, learner-centered, interdisciplinary faculty development program that aims to build the field of palliative care by enhancing clinical expertise, pedagogic competencies, and organizational skills among a cadre of physician and nurse educators.
Download full article.
Block and Billings. (2004). New educational opportunity for hospitalists in palliative care. The Hospitalist.
Hospitalists regularly guide the care of the dying patient in the hospital. Their daily practice addresses complex pain and symptom management, troublesome psychological distress and anguished families, challenging decisions about appropriate care for a particular patient, and tensions among family and staff. As with other physicians whose training in medical school and residency have not equipped them well for these tasks and for delivering state-of-the-art competencies in end-of-life care, hospitalists describe a need for enhanced skills and knowledge in this area.
Download full article.