Primary Palliative Care Education in U.S. Residencies and Fellowships: A Systematic Review of Program Leadership Perspectives

Michael Spiker, Kate Paulsen, Ambereen K. Mehta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: More medical residents and fellows outside of palliative care (PC) will need to be trained in primary PC (PPC) to meet an increasing patient need. Objective: To systematically review surveys of program leadership in postgraduate medical training programs and their respective PPC curricula. Methods: This review included all studies of program leadership surveyed about their PPC curricula in U.S. graduate medical education programs, published in English, and listed on MEDLINE, CINAHL, and EMBASE through January 2020. Results: Data were extracted from eight studies that met the selection criteria out of 221 reviewed texts. PC domains of communication, symptom management, and end-of-life care were taught in all medical specialties most commonly through didactics and PC rotations. Program leadership supported expanding PPC curriculum, with lack of time being the most common barrier. There were differences by specialty in which trainees were exposed to PPC education, with most programs not using a formal curriculum. Conclusions: Generally, there are positive attitudes about PPC education, but there remain significant numbers of trainees with no exposure, and heterogeneity in the content and delivery of PPC education across specialties. PPC Education in U.S. Residencies and Fellowships: A Systematic Review of Program Leadership Perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1392-1399
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • curriculum development
  • medical student and resident education
  • palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • General Nursing

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