The National Institutes of Health has awarded a 1.5 million dollar grant to the University of Louisville for a new oncology program.
The program focuses on palliative care, which combines medicine, nursing, social work and religious education to provide broad care for cancer patients. Students in each discipline will be required to take new courses in palliative medicine so they can better work together to treat patients.
“Palliative medicine includes, but is not limited to, the traditional view of end-of-life care and hospice work. Palliative care starts the day of cancer diagnosis for all patients, focusing on the alleviation of symptoms in the bio, psychosocial, and spiritual realms,” says U of L Chief Medical Officer Mark Pfeifer. “It meets [patients] at their symptoms, their goals, their worries, their environment, their family. It combines everything, then, from advanced, invasive pharmaceutical procedures, to prayer and music.”
The grant will be paid out over five years as the program is developed.
“For the first year, we’ll be working on specific design details and complex curricular changes for the students. In years two, three, and four, we will implement the new model. And in year five, we will evaluate, refine and disseminate the program,” says Pfeifer.
Pfeifer says some palliative treatments are performed at U of L, but doctors, social workers, nurses and chaplains are not currently required to train together.