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J Palliat Med. 2006 Apr;9(2):273-8.

A needs assessment: Fellowship Directors Forum of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

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University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA.


The Fellowship Directors Forum, a special interest group of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) initiated an assessment of the needs of directors of fellowship programs in the emerging specialty of hospice and palliative care. One major finding, which may contribute to understanding the needs of other new disciplines, is that directors come into this role with clinical and teaching experience, but lacking administrative, educational, and management skills perceived as necessary to success. A study team collected data from current and former fellowship directors across the United States using an online survey and telephone interviews. The survey was sent to 60 current and former directors, with a 60% response rate, and 16 randomly selected directors were interviewed. Results showed that directors believe development of an outcome-based standardized curriculum is vitally important to advancement of the field, and that this should be developed collaboratively through the Forum. Although directors were confident of their own clinical and teaching skills, directors identified a lack of adequate training and experience in several management and educational skill areas critical to running a successful fellowship program. The study team made several recommendations: develop models from parts of existing programs that can be incorporated into a standardized curriculum to meet Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) requirements; provide workshops and toolkits for new directors to address the lack of management and educational skills; and establish new communication methods through more or longer forum meetings, a dedicated website, and an online discussion group.

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