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Careers in Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Are you drawn to a career in hospice and palliative medicine?

"For the first time in my medical career I told a family their Dad was dying right in front of our eyes. But at the end of the meeting I was hugged and thanked (also for the first time in my medical career) for helping them navigate a dark and frightening path. I never realized my medical powers extended to helping people by having an actual conversation with them. I had really thought until this point it was about numbers and tests and medicine."


Definition of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Hospice and palliative medicine is a medical specialty focused on enhancing quality of life for patients and their families who are facing life-limiting or serious conditions. Hospice and palliative medicine specialists concentrate on managing pain and other symptoms while addressing the spiritual, emotional, and social concerns surrounding the patient and their illness. HPM Physicians develop particular expertise in:

  • complex symptom management
  • psychosocial and spiritual support for the dying patient and the family
  • assistance with end-of-life decisions and advance care planning
  • continuity of care across settings
  • home and hospice care
  • bereavement care
  • interdisciplinary teamwork

Key Resource: HPM Competencies and Measurable Outcomes

Hospice and palliative medicine is best practiced with the help of an interdisciplinary team. Team members may include physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists, volunteers, and mental health providers. Palliative Medicine is practiced in hospital consultation services, hospices, nursing homes, and outpatient clinics.

Key resource: Consumer website for HPM patients

Career Pathways

Personal Stories

The following personal stories follow the pathways of physicians now working in hospice & palliative medicine. Click on the positions below to learn more.

Hospice Physician - Dorece Norris, MD
Dr. Norris began as an infectious disease specialist during the HIV epidemic.

Hospice Physician based at Veterans Administration - Jose Cariaga, MD
Prior to Dr. Cariaga's current position, he had 16 years of geriatric experience in private practice.

Hospice Associate Medical Director and Palliative Medicine Consultant - Christian Sinclair, MD FAAHPM
Dr. Sinclair was the first fellow in a new hospice and palliative medicine fellowship program and is now co-editor of Pallimed and serves on the AAHPM Board of Directors.

Hospital-based Palliative Care Consultant and Fellowship Director - Drew Rosielle, MD
Dr. Rosielle took a hospice and palliative medicine fellowship immediately after residency


AAHPM has provided information on the various resources and programs available for physicians interested in hospice and palliative medicine whether you’re entering the field or looking for development opportunities as a mid-career practitioner.

Fellowship Pathway

Mid-Career Pathway


Continuing Education Curriculum

Various resources and programs are available for physicians interested in hospice and palliative medicine. Find AAHPM recommended staged approach highlighting introductory and ongoing education available in the Continuing Education Curriculum.

    AAHPM also offers a variety of educational programs and resources to enhance your knowledge. Visit the LEARN section of the AAHPM Website to learn more.

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