An Educational Intervention to Enhance Palliative Care Training at HBCUs

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2023 Jan 20;S0885-3924(23)00038-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2023.01.007. Online ahead of print.


Context: Primary palliative care training is important for clinicians at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) given the decreased access to specialty palliative care among Black patients and patients' preferences for race concordant care.

Objectives: To describe the impact of a palliative care educational intervention at two HBCUs.

Methods: We administered a palliative care educational intervention in family and internal medicine residency programs at Morehouse School of Medicine and Howard University College of Medicine. Pre- and post-intervention surveys were sent to residents assessing attitudes toward their palliative care education and their perceived competency in specific palliative care domains. The results were analyzed using Chi-squared analysis.

Results: A total of 105 of 191 (response rate 55%) residents completed pre-intervention surveys and 101 of 240 (42%) completed post-intervention surveys. Prior to the intervention, 50% of residents rated their overall preparedness in palliative care as a 7 or above (0-10 Likert scale); 78% (P < .01) of respondents reported ≥7/10 after the educational intervention. While post-intervention residents did not feel better prepared to treat symptoms, a higher percentage reported feeling well prepared to deliver bad news (41% post-intervention vs. 23% pre-intervention) and conduct a family meeting (44% post-intervention vs. 27% pre-intervention) (P < .05). Pre-intervention, 14% of residents felt their overall palliative care education was very good or excellent, while post-intervention ratings increased to 30% (P < .01).

Conclusion: Residents' confidence in their preparedness to provide palliative care, particularly in their communication skills increased after an intervention at two HBCUs.

Keywords: Black physicians; HBCUs; Palliative care; residents.