Despite dramatic growth in the number of hospice programs over the past 15 years, palliative care skills and principles receive minimal attention in medical schools and residency training programs. Northwestern University Medical School and Northwestern Memorial Hospital have developed a program in palliative care education for internal medicine housestaff. Residents, working with a multidisciplinary team of hospice staff, have primary responsibility for the care of terminally ill patients in the home. An inpatient unit is available for acute care when needed. A formal lecture series on symptom management, accompanied by a bibliography and defined learning objectives, provides a guide to the clinical experience. Participating residents also attend seminars focusing on physicians' coping skills and attitudes toward death and dying. Evaluation of the program in its first year shows a definite perception of educational benefit by residents, and enthusiasm for continued involvement in palliative care.