Aquifer Plans Palliative Care Course

July 21, 2020

Made Possible by a Grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations

Aquifer is pleased to announce plans to develop an online course on Principles and Practice of Excellence in Palliative Care, designed for undergraduate health professions students, made possible by a grant award from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. The goal of this project is to build a practice-ready healthcare workforce that knows the principles of palliative care and can use them to deliver high value, compassionate care to chronically ill patients using a shared mental model. 

The Principles and Practice of Excellence in Palliative Care will fill an important gap in healthcare professional training. Despite the existence of published competencies for teaching palliative care principles to undergraduate healthcare professional students, most existing online palliative care training is aimed at continuing medical education. Multiple medical specialties, including internal medicine, surgery, and cardiology describe a critical need to formalize training for physicians in training. (Edwards A, Nam S; Crousillat DR, Keeley BR, et al; Wancata LM, Hinshaw DB, Suwanabol PA).  A recent bill passed in the US House of Representatives and currently with the US Senate has addressed the need to fund palliative care training. (

Aquifer will leverage our collaborative network of educators and partners, trusted pedagogy and content, and widely used teaching and learning platform to deliver quality online training that addresses critical gaps in palliative care learning across undergraduate healthcare education. The new course will address the clear need for standardized educational curricula on palliative care.

The palliative care course development will be led by Dr. Sherilyn Smith, Aquifer Chief Academic Officer and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington, and Dr. Mandi Sehgal, Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program Director, Cleveland Clinic Florida Clinical Affiliate Professor, Florida Atlantic University Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine.  Initial work is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2020. 

 “The grant award from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations enables us to begin the collaborative work of developing standardized curriculum and clinical learning tools for palliative care,” said Sherilyn Smith, MD. “We are honored to be working toward supporting students and faculty with the resources they need to make a real difference in improving patient care in this critical area.”

Aquifer is a unique non-profit organization deeply committed to driving innovation in clinical teaching and learning. Used in 97% of U.S. allopathic medical schools, 66% of U.S. osteopathic programs, and a growing number of physician assistant, and nurse practitioner programs—with over 15 million virtual patient cases completed since our founding in 2006—Aquifer is a leader in clinical learning.

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations were established in 1952 by former ALCOA chairman, Arthur Vining Davis. Grounded in Arthur Vining Davis’s principled and innovative leadership in national corporate life and philanthropy, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations strengthen America’s intellectual life, humane instincts, and democracy through philanthropic support for private higher education, public educational media, interfaith leadership and religious literacy, the environment, and palliative care.

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