Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care


The EPEC Program developed its core curriculum and its specialty adaptations with the support of peer-reviewed grant funding. Since that time, EPEC has evolved into an ongoing, self-sustaining program with national and international reach. Committed to continuous quality improvement, EPEC uses feedback from current participants to better meet the needs and goals of future participants.


Development of the core EPEC Curriculum begins.


The first Become and EPEC Trainer Conference is held, taught by EPEC master facilitators. In addition to learning palliative care skills and competencies, participants are also taught effective methods of adult education. In response to participant request, the Professional Development Workshop is established to allow for trainers to deepen their skills and become master facilitators


Dissemination of the EPEC curriculum and of the program’s initial training efforts were evaluated by an external group. Results published in 2004 indicated that 90 percent of trainers were actively using the EPEC curriculum to teach others; a sample indicated that 184 of the initial trainers were estimated to have taught 120,000 other professionals.


An online distance learning format suited to an individual learner’s schedule is rolled out for the EPEC curriculum. Distance learning allows healthcare professionals to access the EPEC curriculum in a format that is convenient and flexible.


EPEC has collaborated with many partners to create specialty and population-based adaptations of the original curriculum in order to expand the scope and range of palliative care by introducing it into new settings and broadening the definition to include the entire spectrum of illness. The program also advocates referring patients for palliative care earlier in the disease process.

The program has also rolled out our Tailored Implementation Practice Standards (TIPS) Kits, tools that provide guidance on how to implement a new clinical practice in a healthcare setting.

Today there are more than 3,500 EPEC trainers in the United States and 25 other countries. It is estimated that the EPEC curriculum has reached over one million end-learners.


The EPEC Program will adapt and update its curriculum and continue to teach and support EPEC trainers. In addition, EPEC will emphasize the expansion of distance learning and the development and dissemination of TIPS Kits. EPEC’s goal is to reach an increasing number of individuals and institutions through the distance learning platform, including those who might otherwise not be exposed to the EPEC curriculum. We look to expand the availability of specialty curricula and raise awareness of the EPEC distance learning platform.