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School of Medicine to pioneer education for end-of-life care

March 28th, 2007

The University of Louisville School of Medicine will participate in a program to develop curriculum that will give students training in an area which traditionally has not been emphasized.

The UofL School of Medicine, which has had a graduate palliative care fellowship program since 2004, is one of only six schools in the United States selected to develop and implement a palliative care curriculum for medical students through an initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Palliative care addresses a patient’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs and seeks to improve not only the patient’s quality of life, but also that of his or her family. Instead of seeking to cure disease, palliative care focuses on easing symptoms of chronic or terminal illness.

“Compassionate palliative care is a moral imperative. A society is fairly judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens,” said medicine Dean Edward Halperin. “We are pleased to be in the forefront of moving palliative care into the mainstream of medical education.”

UofL was chosen from an applicant pool of 57 schools of medicine for participation in the program, which is led by the Medical College of Wisconsin, Harvard’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Other selected schools include Emory University School of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Northeastern Ohio Universities School of Medicine, Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and Oregon Health and Science University.

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