Message from the Director

We are excited about the prospect of you joining us. Our medical subspecialty is continuing to transform the care we provide to patients and our community around the globe. Today more that ever, our medical discipline is an engine to positively impact the healthcare we provide to individuals.

In 2018, Prisma Health/USC School of Medicine Columbia launched the our fully accredited Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship program to provide a 12-month comprehensive subspecialty training for graduates of internal medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine, psychiatry, neurology, gynecology, surgical specialties or pediatrics. 

In a nutshell, palliative care is:
• Specialized care for people with serious illnesses, whatever the diagnosis.
• Targeted to patients, families and/or patient’s support system.

The objectives of palliative care are:
- to alleviate, extenuate or mitigate physical symptoms;
- to provide psychosocial help and support; and
- to identify spiritual distress and attempt to alleviate it.

Palliative medicine is one of the newest approved medical specialties that aims to fulfill our oath to accept life on its own terms, honestly and openly. It has taken its place in academic medicine, and its intent is to train future generations of physicians to gain palliative medicine skills to serve those affected with serious illnesses. Our hope also is to fulfill our promise to patients and their families that we will not abandon them as they pursue treatments, but that when treatments fail—and at all times—we will do all we can to relieve their suffering and accompany them.

Our program faculty and fellows have been able to publish a few works in the last couple of years, including: (1) the first edition of Palliative Care Pearls, with support from Practice Change Leaders program, the Hartford Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies and their “Proactive Palliative Care in the Intensive Care Unit Project." It is a pocket guidebook for medical students, residents, fellows, social workers, chaplains and all clinicians and trainees who actively participate in the care of patients with serious illnesses. (2) our booklet Good Grief that aims to provide intentional tools for professionals dealing with grief and loss, and also (3) our booklet Having conversations that matter that guides patients and families in the process of medical decision making and goals of care.

HospicePallCarbooklets.jpgWe strongly believe in the mission of Palliative Medicine which is shaping the way we deliver care, in a more wholesome and person-oriented way. Our initial classes of graduates have been stellar as they have been great pioneers collaborating with faculty and other professionals to shape, structure and paving the way of the program going forward.

I invite fellowship candidates to explore our collegial program and the unique opportunities if offers to serve and to lead in this deeply rewarding specialty.

Program Director, Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship