Miller School Introduces Hospice and Palliative Care Fellowship Program

The Miller School of Medicine, recognizing the need to educate a new generation of physicians in the growing complexities of medical care, has introduced the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program.

The program, which will accept four physician fellows each year, is being led by Khin Zaw, M.D., assistant professor of clinical medicine in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine. Zaw has extensive experience in palliative care, including seven years as director of the Hospice and Palliative Care Program at the Miami Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.

“This field of medicine is about dealing with patients and their families during extremely difficult times,” said Zaw. “The program is intended for physicians who have a commitment to solving clinical problems holistically and who have a desire to help advance the field.”

Fellows will have an opportunity to work with patients in a variety of settings at several clinical training sites, including Jackson Memorial Hospital, the Miami Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, University of Miami Hospital and Clinics, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, VITAS Innovative Hospice Care and Jackson Memorial Long-Term Care Center. Additional time will be spent with the pediatric palliative care team at Holtz Children’s Hospital. The program also offers electives in a wide variety of healthcare subspecialties.

“People often associate palliative care with hospice, but that isn’t completely accurate,” said Zaw. “There are two types of palliative care — hospice and non-hospice. Hospice care is provided for patients with terminal illness. Non-hospice palliative care is offered to those with serious illnesses that can still be managed and treated.

“Palliative care makes a huge difference in the lives of the sickest patients and their families. We help manage pain and symptoms, and relieve suffering. Many patients actually improve and have a better quality of life. Even those in hospice palliative care may live longer.

“The work is very rewarding.”

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