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Our Curriculum

The year begins with an intensive summer lecture series that provides a solid foundation in symptom management, palliative care consultation, care of the imminently dying patient, fundamental communication, and interdisciplinary teamwork.

Beginning in September, didactics occur Friday afternoons and continue to build on the summer core curriculum. Fellows also participate in a communication curriculum, emphasizing a cognitive approach to communication and taught with demonstrations and interactive role-play.  


Fellows also participate in a variety of academic activities, including designing a QI project, leading a journal club, creating a small group teaching session, and finally presenting at the Palliative Care and Geriatric Medicine Grand Rounds. 

Year-long educational opportunities include weekly palliative care grand rounds and site-specific sessions such as pain rounds, psychosocial oncology grand rounds, and research Works-in-Progress.

These activities are augmented by five fellowship retreats:

  • Health Equity: A day-long retreat during orientation to consider health care disparities in palliative care and lay the foundation of skills to address it

  • Art and Medicine: A half-day summer retreat at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston or the Harvard Art Museum to hone our observation and reflection skills

  • Teaching Lollapalooza: A day-long autumn retreat to reflect on our role as educators and learn skills for teaching and learning

  • Sustainability and Resilience: A day-long winter retreat to develop a deeper understanding of our personal strengths and to learn techniques to maximize resilience

  • Leadership Retreat: A day-long spring retreat to define our own leadership styles and develop leadership skills

Below illustrates our approach to the curriculum, matching the fellowship's different didactic and experiential components to the

Hospice and Palliative Medicine Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs).


A strong foundation in basic and specialty-level communication skills is essential for HPM Physicians. Principles of communication are incorporated...


An understanding of the principles and practices of clinical bioethics is essential to HPM Practice. Principles of clinical bioethics are incorporated into many...

Health Equity

Understanding health equity as it relates to palliative care is essential to HPM Practice. HPM clinicians must first understand how social determinants of health...

Psycho-Social-Spiritual Topics

At the end of the fellowship, fellows will be able to support patients and families in the psychosocial domain...

Population-Specific Palliative Care

HPM Physicians must know how to provide care to specific patient populations, including those with particular disease...

Professional Development

HPM is a relatively young, rapidly-growing field. As a result, in addition to acquiring clinical expertise...

Physical Symptom Management

An understanding of the pathophysiology and treatment of symptoms in patients with life-limiting illness is essential...

Sites and Systems of Care

Hospice and Palliative care physicians must understand systems of care in order to...

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