Our curriculum includes clinical rotations, longitudinal outpatient experience, and a structured educational experience. Our communication curriculum focuses on building progressive skills with a learner-centric and interactive approach, powered by VitalTalk and utilizing the Serious Illness Conversation Guide from Ariadne Labs. Read this article about the work Dr. Amelia Cullinan is leading in the Dartmouth Cancer Center to make Serious Illness Conversations a routine part of cancer care. Our fellows learn complex symptom management skills, including for palliative care patients suffering with co-morbid substance use disorder, in one of our specialized outpatient clinics, at our Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care, and case-based curriculum throughout the course of the year.

We use a flipped classroom approach in our didactic sessions in order to maximize learning for each fellow – people learn best at their edge. We are committed to training fellows who are expert communicators, symptomologists, and can name and teach their skills to colleagues in order to improve the practice of primary palliative care system-wide. We have dedicated, interactive time to specifically train our fellows as large group interdisciplinary educators as well as bedside communication coaches for primary palliative care clinicians.

Our fellowship includes a focus on Narrative Medicine because this helps fellows gain self-awareness and the ability to track their own and others’ emotions as well as perspectives. We believe these are cornerstone skills for excelling in the field of hospice and palliative medicine. Learn more about Narrative Medicine from these papers: DOCTOR-PATIENT/READER-WRITER: Learning to Find the Text (PDF) by Rita Charon, MD, PhD, and Close Reading and Creative Writing in Clinical Education: Teaching Attention, Representation, and Affiliation (PDF) by Rita Charon, MD, PhD, Nellie Hermann, MFA, and Michael J. Devlin, MD. Listen to this interview by Dr. Ira Byock called Hear Me Now where our very own Dr. Kathy Kirkland and Dr. Rita Charon discuss narrative medicine.

Our program has teamed up with fellowship programs at University of Vermont and Maine Medical Center to provide 3 annual Northern New England Hospice and Palliative Medicine Interprofessional Fellowship Retreats focusing on regional community building, basic and advanced skills building, and leadership coaching.

Hospice and palliative medicine team picnic
Hospice and palliative medicine team meeting

Curriculum details