Global Palliative Care Education in the Time of COVID-19

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2020 Oct;60(4):e14-e19. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2020.07.018. Epub 2020 Jul 24.


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the need for health care providers skilled in rapid and flexible decision making, effective and anticipatory leadership, and in dealing with trauma and moral distress. Palliative care (PC) workers have been an essential part of the COVID-19 response in advising on goals of care, symptom management and difficult decision making, and in supporting distressed health care workers, patients, and families. We describe Global Palliative Education Collaborative (GPEC), a training partnership between Harvard, University of California San Francisco, and Tulane medical schools in the U.S.; and two international PC programs in Uganda and India. GPEC offers U.S.-based PC fellows participation in an international elective to learn about resource-limited PC provision, gain perspective on global challenges to caring for patients at the end of life, and cultivate resiliency. International PC colleagues have much to teach about practicing compassionate PC amidst resource constraints and humanitarian crisis. We also describe a novel educational project that our GPEC faculty and fellows are participating in-the Resilience Inspiration Storytelling Empathy Project-and discuss positive outcomes of the project.

Keywords: COVID-19; Global health; coronavirus; humanitarian crisis; international health; medical education; palliative care; pandemic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Curriculum*
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation*
  • Palliative Medicine / education*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • SARS-CoV-2