Nearly 200 hours of continually updated didactic content designed specifically for our fellows is taught weekly by experienced interprofessional educators and leaders in the field of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Content themes include:

  • Communication
  • End-Stage Disease
  • Function
  • Hospice / End-Of-Life Care
  • Leadership, Health Systems and Policy
  • Pediatrics
  • Professionalism
  • Quality Improvement
  • Scholarship
  • Symptom Management
  • Teaching / Education
  • Whole Person Care

For a complete list of all didactics, click here


Our didactics are varied in format: lecture, small group discussion, role-play/simulation, workshops, and more. Our focus is on interactive learning whenever feasible.

Additional Elements and Themes

Case Conferences:

In addition to the didactics listed, fellows present interesting clinical cases at our regularly scheduled Division meetings. Each fellow chooses a case, enlists a faculty member with expertise in the content area of interest, and facilitates a discussion with the team that leads to a deeper understanding of the issues involved.

Education and Teaching:

In our growing field it is likely that all of our graduates will be called upon to teach in one capacity or another. Fellows learn teaching skills in several ways. In addition to didactics covering teaching frameworks, fellows participate in a three-part module wherein they design a teaching session and then deliver it twice to 3rd year medical students, first with faculty feedback and then with feedback from their peers. To gain experience in curricular development, fellows also develop their own electives or modify existing options under the mentorship of the program director. Finally, several of the clinical rotations have a structured teaching requirement (generally fellows are teaching 4th year medical students or interns), with direct observation and feedback provided by the clinical teams. Fellows with a particular interest in medical education can also make this topic the focus of their scholarly activity and/or work with a faculty member on a variety of curricular development projects.


While good communication may start with theory, it is fundamentally a practical skill. In a series of high-fidelity simulations throughout the year, fellows have a safe space to practice these fundamental skills facilitated by VitalTalk trained faculty. Good communication also arises from the same inner work and processing that is facilitated by our resiliency curriculum. Both aspects of communication practice are further enhanced through regular direct observation and feedback provided during clinical rotations.

Journal Club:

Spearheaded by Drs. Wendy Anderson and Alex Smith, the objectives of journal club are to become familiar with the evidence base for clinical practice of hospice and palliative medicine, develop a practice of critical reading of the HPM literature, and bring the larger UCSF palliative care community together to discuss how evidence applies to practice. Each fellow works with a faculty member to choose and analyze a research study using the principles of Evidence-Based Medicine.