Palliative Care

National cancer organizations recommend starting palliative care at the time of diagnosis of a serious illness to assist patients with pain management, symptom management, stress, and anxiety, and to continue through survivorship and end of life. Depending on the hospital, up to seventy percent of patients with a serious illness may have a cancer diagnosis.

The Coleman Foundation convened hospital administrators and medical professionals to discuss palliative medicine as it relates to cancer patients. Hear what they said… 


Many of the Supportive Oncology Collaborative members are also a part of The Coleman Primary Palliative Medicine Training Program and are working together to increase the interdisciplinary workforce trained to provide primary palliative medicine. 

Recognizing the value of palliative care services and the shortage of trained palliative care providers, the Coleman Foundation of Chicago awarded a grant to the Chicagoland Palliative Medicine Physicians’ Collective to train doctors and nurses at healthcare organizations across the Chicago area in palliative care. In 2012, the two-year Coleman Palliative Medicine Training Program was initiated. Thirty nurses and physicians completed the training from February 2013 to March 2015. In March 2015, the training program was renewed and expanded for interdisciplinary health care providers from social work, chaplaincy, nursing and medicine.

To learn more and access resources, visit the Coleman Palliative Medicine Training Program website:

“My biggest concern is the workforce shortage. There are only 280 funded Hospice and Palliative Medicine Physician Fellowship Training positions in the whole country,” explained Dr. Stacie Levin, project co-director and palliative medicine physician at University of Chicago Hospitals. “That is never going to be enough. So the way to provide better access to primary palliative care for patients and families is through team building, education, and mentorship.”

The Trainees in Cohort 2

  • 27 interdisciplinary Fellows consisting of: 11 nurse practitioners, 5 social workers, 7 chaplains, 3 physicians, and 1 physician assistant.
  • 11 Junior Mentors – all graduates of the first cohort.
  • 25 health care systems across the Chicago area are served by fellows’ participation.

The Mission of the Primary Palliative Medicine Program

  • To improve the quality of palliative care services for patients and families with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses
  • To increase patients’ and families’ access to palliative care services at health care organizations in Chicago and the outlying areas
  • To support health care leadership in building and integrating palliative care services across existing systems
  • To grow a supportive network of interdisciplinary palliative care providers across the Chicago area

Faculty and Mentors

  • Over 30 interdisciplinary health care providers from medicine, nursing, social work, and chaplaincy
  • Expert in palliative and supportive care
  • Representing leading academic medical centers, community-based hospitals, health care systems and hospices in the Chicago area Meet the Mentors…

The Training

  • Two-year training program
  • Annual CE/CME conferences
  • Self-directed web-based learning
  • Interdisciplinary training for social workers, chaplains, nurses and physicians
  • One-on-one mentoring and direct observation of a mentor’s practice
  • Practice improvement projects in palliative care — developed by each Fellow in alignment with institutional goals and priorities for improving access and quality.  More about practice improvement projects…
  • More about the Training...
  • Join the program mailing list


There is no more powerful tool for learning than watching experts demonstrating their skills in real life situations. I took away many new skills that I use on a daily basis.

The networking and relationships with peers in other institutions was good for patient care and outcomes, as we shared patients often and therefore cross-consulted each other.

The Coleman Palliative Medicine Training Program was the jumping off point for developing a new clinical program, a new educational curriculum and real culture change at our institution.