Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship - Didactics Curriculum


  • Communication
  • End-Stage
  • Function
  • Hospice / End-Of-Life Care
  • Pediatrics
  • Professionalism
  • Self-Directed Learning
  • Symptom Management
  • Teaching / Education

For a complete list of all didactics, please click here.


Lecture, small group discussion, role-play/simulation, workshops, and others. The focus is on interactive learning whenever feasible.

Additional Elements and Themes

Case Conferences:

  • Case conferences are an opportunity to process and learn from difficult and/or intriguing cases fellows encounter in fellowship. Each fellow chooses a case, enlists a faculty member with expertise in the content area of interest, and co-facilitates a discussion with him or her that leads to a deeper understanding of the issues involved.

Education and Teaching:

  • In our growing field it is likely that all of our graduates will be called upon to teach in one capacity or another. Fellows learn teaching skills in several ways. In addition to didactics covering teaching frameworks, fellows participate in a three-part module wherein they design a teaching session and then deliver it twice to 3rd year medical students, first with faculty feedback and then with feedback from their peers. Later in the year, each fellow is given one hour of didactic time to teach his or her peers – an opportunity not only to practice teaching but to go into greater depth on a topic of interest. To gain experience in curricular development, fellows are also encouraged to develop their own electives or modify existing options under the mentorship of the program director. Finally, several of the clinical rotations have a structured teaching requirement (generally fellows are teaching 4th year medical students or interns), with direct observation and feedback provided by the clinical teams. Fellows with a particular interest in medical education can also make this topic the focus of their scholarly activity and/or work with a faculty member on a variety of curricular development projects.


  • While good communication may start with theory, it is fundamentally a practical skill. In a series of high-fidelity simulations throughout the year, fellows have a safe space to practice these fundamental skills in both challenging one-on-one and – unique in the nation – team-based communication settings. Good communication also arises from the same inner work and processing that is facilitated by our resiliency curriculum. Both aspects of communication practice are further enhanced through regular direct observation and feedback provided during clinical rotations.

Journal Club:

  • Spearheaded by Drs. Wendy Anderson and Alex Smith, the objectives of journal club are to become familiar with the evidence base for clinical practice of hospice and palliative medicine, develop a practice of critical reading of the HPM literature, and bring the large UCSF palliative care community together to discuss how evidence applies to practice. Each fellow works with a faculty member to choose and analyze a research study using the principles of Evidence-Based Medicine.