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Fellowship Curriculum

Fellows in the ACGME accredited Palliative Medicine Fellowship program have the opportunity to experience providing palliative care in public, VA, and private community hospitals throughout the year. Fellows also have the opportunity to rotate at the beautiful inpatient hospice facilities of Center of Hospice Care in South Bend, IN, a smaller city located 2.5 hours north of Indianapolis, in addition to our longstanding local inpatient hospice partner unit at St. Vincent.

Fellows also participate in our comprehensive small-group education sessions. This involves a mixture of weekly didactics, formative simulation sessions, and monthly evening sessions geared toward your personal development as a palliative care physician. (Sample Schedule)

Additionally, fellows will develop a scholarly/quality improvement project with the mentorship of one of IU School of Medicine's expert palliative care research mentors.

The learning environment at IU School of Medicine, the country's largest medical school, offers fellows the opportunity to participate electively in a rich and diverse series of educational programs. Fellows can also experience comprehensive global health education through an elective rotation at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya in partnership with AMPATH and IU School of Medicine Global Health.

  • Scholarly Activity

    Fellows have the opportunity to develop a small project during their fellowship year. Fellows receive mentorship from fellowship faculty with the leadership of Dr. Amber Comer, who leads the scholarly activity research curriculum. Regardless of the project, we set the goal of having results that can be reported in the second half of the fellowship year and submitted to a national meeting and/or written in a manuscript shortly after the completion of fellowship.

  • Quality Improvement

    Each fellow completes a QI proposal with the opportunity to implement the proposal near the end of the year. We look for opportunities to merge the QI project with scholarly activity, when possible, to help with enhancing the meaning/impact of both project as well as to improve efficiency of project completion. Examples from previous Fellowship classes include:

    • Improving practices of the use of Urine Drug Toxicology in the fellow outpatient palliative care clinic.

    • Modifying code status options in EPIC to improve clarity and consistency.

  • Monthly Evening Educational Sessions

    Being in a relaxed setting such as a faculty member’s home or local restaurant helps with community formation and enhances the learning environment for these sessions. Dinner is provided for fellows and faculty who attend. Throughout the year, we rotate between the following:

    • Narrative medicine (2-3 times per year): A faculty member from IUPUI’s Medical Humanities program leads this session. These sessions involve a doable combination of reading and writing. This past year, we even did some brief play script writing and a reading!

    • Journal club (3-4 times per year)- 1-2 fellows present an article of their choosing.

    • Career Preparation Sessions (3 times per year): These sessions include presenters and panels on a variety of topics, including how to find the right job in hospice and palliative medicine, job negotiation, and program/team leadership topics.

  • Communication Skills Training

    Indiana University School of Medicine Palliative Medicine has adopted the VitalTalk approach to teaching communication skills. Our curriculum involves a blend of simulation and clinical teaching opportunities to learn more about best communication practices and to give fellows the opportunity to reflect on the art and science of this practice.

    Fellows participate in simulation sessions on campus in addition to attending Pallitalk with other fellows from throughout the Midwest and beyond. Topics of fellowship simulations in the past have included:

    • Introducing Palliative Care to patients and families

    • Conflict Resolution

    • Talking to patients about aberrant opioid use

    • Responding to patient concerns about racial inequities in care

  • Research
    • Indiana Medical Resident's Knowledge of Surrogate Decision Making Laws

    • “Code Status Options and Framing of Decisions about Urgent Clinical Decisions"- presented at the IUPUI RESPECT conference in March of 2020. Manuscript in progress.

    • “Evolution of Do Not Resuscitate practices during the first several months of the COVID pandemic. (Analysis and writeup in progress)