Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care

Program Overview

The development of the core Education in Palliative and End-of-life Care (EPEC) Curriculum began in 1997, a time when the field of medicine had generated increased capacity in palliative care and symptom management but was still struggling to develop a balance between curative approaches to treatment and the need to ameliorate suffering in chronic or incurable diseases.

The EPEC core faculty and staff consult on conference design and production of conferences, including pre-conference planning, strategies for success, and identification and development of tools that will encourage desired outcome measures.

Conference Types

See the Conferences page to learn more about and register for upcoming conferences and workshops.

Become an EPEC Trainer

Become an EPEC Trainer Conferences disseminate the core principles of palliative care and demonstrate effective teaching approaches that the trainees can then use to teach others. EPEC trainers are certified after they complete a Become an EPEC Trainer Conference. These conferences are produced with direct oversight from EPEC and may be co-sponsored by another institution.

Specialty Become an EPEC Trainer

EPEC continues to adapt its curriculum for specialty adaptations of the curriculum such as oncology, emergency medicine, and the care of veterans. Specialty EPEC trainer certification requires successful completion of a Become an EPEC Trainer Conference in that specialty. EPEC is responsible for certification of trainees.

Professional Development Workshop

These workshops are an opportunity for EPEC trainers and others to advance their teaching skills and become candidates for the position of master facilitator. Workshop participants learn teaching skills and strategies for the effective teaching of palliative care principles and successful implementation of practice improvement and system-based change. The workshops employ adult learning theory to help participants learn and practice a variety of effective presentation and educational models. Selected participants with particular aptitude are then invited to take the next steps toward becoming a master facilitator by co-facilitating with a certified master facilitator during a Become an EPEC Trainer Conference. EPEC bestows master facilitator status on the basis of merit and availability of positions.

EPEC End-Learners

EPEC curricula are taught to end-learners in two formats: in-person training sessions that are led by EPEC trainers and an online distance learning system. The end-learner audience consists of interdisciplinary healthcare professionals who want to augment their knowledge and practice of palliative care. Although end-learners are encouraged to use the EPEC curriculum, they are not certified EPEC trainers. Individuals must participate in an institutional Become an EPEC Trainer Conference in order to receive trainer certification.

In-person Training

Each year thousands of end-learners are taught the fundamentals of palliative care by certified EPEC trainers. Trainer-held sessions occur in a variety of formats, such as mini-conferences and grand rounds presentations. Each trainer is encouraged to adapt the curriculum to meet the unique needs of his or her end-learners.

Distance Learning

Adapted to an online learning system, the EPEC curriculum is now more accessible and convenient to busy healthcare providers. In this format, the curriculum is partitioned into sections and is interspersed with videos, case vignettes, and discussion questions. Each of the 16 modular topics includes a post-test and an evaluation that earn continuing education credit for the learner. End-learners gain core competency in palliative care and benefit from the flexible format.



Institutions and groups (including medical and professional societies, caregiver groups, and individuals) may use the curricular materials for any audience and in any venue providing it is used for non-profit purposes and proper attribution is given.

Find an EPEC Trainer

Please see our curricula section for details of specific adaptations. For regional and national lists of certified EPEC trainers, please contact EPEC.