Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Palliative Medicine


Volume 16, Issue 12

Inclusive Pages





Curriculum--trends; Education, Public Health Professional; Palliative Care; Terminal Care


Background: Palliative care has been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a critical policy element for the relief of suffering, yet palliative care policy receives minimal attention in mainstream U.S. public health journals, conferences, or textbooks. In the ’90s, documentation of the lack of attention to end-of-life and palliative care in medical and nursing curricula led to concerted efforts to improve medical and nursing education in palliative care. No such educational effort has yet been directed toward public health professionals.

Objective: This study's objective was to quantify current course offerings covering palliative and end-of-life care from a public health and health policy perspective at accredited schools of public health.

Design: Using a list of keywords about palliative and end-of-life care, the research team searched publicly accessible websites of all CEPH accredited and affiliated U.S. schools of public health to identify courses that included relevant content about palliative care.

Results: For academic years 2011/12 and 2012/13, 3 (6%) of the 49 accredited U.S. schools of public health offered a full course covering public health issues in palliative care. Six schools (12%) included some palliative care content in related courses such as gerontology policy.

Conclusions: Schools of public health are not preparing future policy experts with a basic knowledge of the components and systems of palliative care and hospice. Development and dissemination of appropriate curricular material to address the public health and policy aspects of palliative care is needed to address this gap.


This is a copy of an article published in Journal of Palliative Medicine © 2013 copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.; Journal of Palliative Medicine is available online at:

Peer Reviewed


Open Access