Grant will create new oncology palliative care education program
Award of $1.5 million to aid in creation of multidisciplinary program.
Dr. Mark Pfeifer of the U of L Division of General Internal Medicine, Palliative Medicine and Medical Education is principal investigator on a grant that will create an interdisciplinary oncology palliative care education program at U of L.
A multi-disciplinary team representing the University of Louisville's Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Social Work, as well as clinical pastoral education programs in three Louisville hospitals, has been awarded a grant of $1,518,092 from the National Institutes of Health that will fund the development, implementation and evaluation of an interdisciplinary oncology palliative care education program.
Work related to the project will begin immediately.
The grant will be paid out over five years and the first year will be devoted to the design of an innovative and integrated oncology palliative care curriculum that will include eight learning activities that will become a required part of the curriculum for all third-year medical students, third and fourth year nursing students, master’s level social work students and clinical pastoral education residents.
"Almost every family has or will face a loved one needing cancer care, including curative treatment, symptom control and end-of-life care," Mark Pfeifer, M.D., of the U of L Division of General Internal Medicine, Palliative Medicine and Medical Education said. "Patients and families need the united services of physicians, nurses, chaplains and social workers, and there is a real need for health professionals to be educated in an interdisciplinary manner to prepare them for the real-world team environments they experience once they are in practice."
Pfeifer also serves as chief medical officer for U of L Health Care and is the principal investigator on this project.
Once the teaching tools are designed they will be implemented in the curriculum where they will be continually evaluated for their effectiveness, achievement of desired outcomes, integration and sustainability.
"Palliative care is now viewed as much more than end-of-life care," Pfeifer said. "It focuses on ongoing quality of life and well-being and is integral to the treatment of cancer patients from time of diagnosis throughout the trajectory of the illness."
The curriculum will aim to demonstrate palliative care's core principles by integrating the technical, scientific and humanistic elements of holistic care of the cancer patient.
It will include experiences that promote collaborative learning and teamwork and broaden interdisciplinary awareness, combine innovative as well as proven learning modalities and technologies and integrate interdisciplinary teaching approaches in both learning and practice of palliative care.
"The receipt of this grant is a great distinction for U of L, where we have a strong tradition of interdisciplinary collaboration and where we are well-positioned to make an even greater impact on the lives of our patients, here in Kentucky where cancer is a particularly serious public health issue," Larry Cook, M.D., executive vice president for health affairs at U of L's Health Sciences Center said. "It's important to note that our faculty came up with this idea right here at U of L and won this funding through a highly competitive process."