Taking Steps to Make Palliative Medicine a Subspecialty

Development of fellowship program standards and an improved certification process in hospice and palliative medicine

Between 2001 and 2003, the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Silver Spring, Md., implemented an accreditation process for fellowship training programs in palliative medicine.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national program Targeted End-of-Life Projects Initiative.

Key Results

  • The board developed and disseminated program standards for fellowship training in palliative medicine.

  • The board improved its certification exam and for the first time in 2002, through a contract with the National Board of Medical Examiners, administered it at computerized testing centers nationally.

  • The board adopted a comprehensive plan for a Maintenance of Certification program to assist physicians certified in palliative medicine in maintaining their knowledge and competency.

  • In the course of working together on the development of program standards, a group of fellowship directors decided to form a special interest network under the auspices of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine to advance the development of fellowships in palliative medicine, according to the project director.

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