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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PCEP Palliative Care Education and Practice (PCEP)

A Course for Palliative Care Clinical and Education Leaders

October 30-November 5, 2016 and April 30-May 5, 2017

Now Accepting Applications

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 2017 course brochure

ASPNArt & Science of Palliative Nursing (ASPN)

A Course for Nurses in Palliative Care Basics

June 9-10, 2016

Registration Now open!

Palliative care is an essential element of nursing. The Art & Science of Palliative Nursing (ASPN) is a two-day course which is designed to provide generalist and advanced practice nurses with palliative care knowledge and skills applicable across the health continuum. Through an adult learning model, this course focuses on essential principles and concepts that guide caring for patients and families living with serious and/or life-threatening illness. The emphasis is on promoting quality of life and covers topics ranging from suffering, psychosocial distress, and spiritual concerns, to pain and symptom management. Cultural diversity, communication, ethics, end-of-life care, and self-care are integral themes.

Download the 2016 course brochure

PAPCPractical Aspects of Palliative Care (PAPC)

A Foundational Program in Palliative Care for New and Experienced Clinicians

September 15-17, 2016

Registration Now Open!

Practical Aspects of Palliative Care: Integrating Palliative Care into Clinical Practice (PAPC) provides a "deep dive" into palliative care content for both palliative care specialist and non-specialist clinicians, as well as other allied health professionals.

Join us in Boston for 2½ days with colleagues from across the United States and around the globe focussing on pain and symptom control, cultural issues, communication skills, prognostication, bereavement, management of various non-oncological conditions, the special needs of patients at various stages of the life cycle, and ethical, legal, and practical issues in the setting of advanced illness. Recent research in palliative care will also be presented.

Download the 2016 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, Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Department of Psychosocial Oncology and 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.

This course is targeted towards those who work with patients and families with serious illness including Physicians, Pharmacists, Psychologists, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, Social Workers and Chaplains, especially those who are responsible for system-wide innovations to improve the quality of care, manage populations, and enhance value.

Read an overview of this course here.

Download the 2016 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

International Programs

Learn more about our international programs here.

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