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San Diego Medical Community Receives First-Ever Accredited Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The Institute for Palliative Medicine's Fellowship Program received full accreditation from the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) -- the first accredited fellowship program in palliative medicine in San Diego. Located on the campus of San Diego Hospice, The Institute for Palliative Medicine has trained fellows since 2000 and its Fellowship Program in Palliative Medicine is known as one of the most clinically demanding programs in the country.

Charles von Gunten, MD, PhD, FACP, FAAHPM, is Provost of The Institute for Palliative Medicine and notes the accreditation acknowledges the advances in palliative medicine. "Our abilities to prevent and relieve suffering have never been more powerful in the history of medicine," said Dr. von Gunten. "Subspecialty consultation is one of the ways to make that knowledge practically available."

In collaboration with Scripps Mercy Graduate Medical Education, The Institute for Palliative Medicine's Fellowship Program is designed to prepare physicians to become subspecialists in palliative medicine and serve as expert consultants in hospitals and hospices throughout the country. Physicians from any of the 10 co-sponsoring specialties (Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Surgery, Psychiatry and Neurology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Radiation Oncology, and Anesthesiology) are eligible. The program includes rotations through a variety of patient care settings including San Diego Hospice's Inpatient Care Center, Scripps Mercy and UCSD hospitals, and home hospice visits.

David Shaw, MD, MBA, FACP, FACC, is the Director of Medical Education for Scripps Mercy and supports the advances in palliative medicine through the newly accredited program at The Institute for Palliative Medicine.

"The Fellowship Program at The Institute for Palliative Medicine embodies the mission of Graduate Medical Education at Scripps Mercy, training physicians, medical students and other health care workers in the art and science of medicine," said Dr. Shaw. "We congratulate The Institute of Palliative Medicine on this milestone achievement."

"The accreditation signifies the importance of palliative medicine and its focus on preventing and relieving suffering for patients," said Laurel H. Herbst, MD, Chief Medical Officer at The Institute for Palliative Medicine.

Gary Buckholz, MD, Director of the Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program at The Institute for Palliative Medicine is proud of his program's milestone. "Achieving first round accreditation from ACGME acknowledges the program's strong academic environment with expert faculty and overall ability to prepare fellows for any career in palliative medicine."

About The Institute for Palliative Medicine

Dedicated to the relief of suffering through the transformation of health care, The Institute for Palliative Medicine focuses on discovering, demonstrating and disseminating strategies for palliative care in existing health care systems locally, nationally and globally. Located on the campus of San Diego Hospice, physicians and healthcare professionals from around the globe come to The Institute for Palliative Medicine to study. The Institute helped pioneer the palliative medicine subspecialty approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties in 2006. For more information, visit online at

About Scripps Mercy Hospital

Established in 1890 by the Sisters of Mercy, Scripps Mercy Hospital serves the San Diego and Chula Vista communities. With two campuses, Scripps Mercy is the largest hospital in San Diego County and one of the 10 largest in California. Scripps Mercy is now the largest private teaching hospital in the San Diego area, and the Graduate Medical Education residency programs at the hospital have been in existence for more than 50 years. For more information, visit online at

    CONTACT: Melissa Delacalzada
             (619) 278-6139;

SOURCE The Institute for Palliative Medicine
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