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UMB Offers New, Innovative Online Master of Science Degree and Graduate Certificates in Palliative C

The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Graduate School has begun enrolling students in a completely online Master of Science (MS) and Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care. Classes for the new program begin in Spring 2017, with a full roll-out in Fall 2017.

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing a serious illness, through the prevention and relief of physical, psychosocial, and spiritual problems.

The new MS and Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care is an interprofessional program, appropriate for physicians, pharmacists, nurses, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, therapists, psychologists, administrators, social workers, chaplains, counselors, bereavement and volunteer specialists, thanatologists, and more.

“We practice as a team, so it makes sense for practitioners to learn as a team,” says Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, program director and professor of pharmacy practice and science at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. “Fostering an interprofessional team-based approach to caring for this vulnerable population is a priority in this program. Each course is taught by two or more faculty members from different disciplines to model interprofessional practice.”

Students can chose to earn the Graduate Certificate or complete the full program for the MS degree.

In the program, students complete four required courses in the first two semesters (each course is eight weeks long), resulting in their earning a Graduate Certificate in Principles and Practice of Hospice and Palliative Care. For students who continue to pursue expertise, this is followed by four elective courses, which can be completed in a specific track (e.g., clinical, administrative/leadership, psychosocial/spiritual, or thanatology) selected to meet personal learning needs. Next, students complete two remaining required courses, culminating in the awarding of the MS degree.

Applications are now being accepted for the Fall 2017 semester (deadline June 30, 2017).

Palliative care services are expanding rapidly at hospitals and in the community, in response to the growing number of Americans living with serious and chronic illnesses.

“It is evident that palliative care clinicians greatly improve the quality of life for patients and caregivers and reduce the cost of care,” says Eduardo Bruera, MD, FAAHPM, chair of the Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “There is now a large demand for palliative care clinicians, but an insufficient number of individuals with the training to meet this need. The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Master of Science program has been designed and developed by a world class leader in the field and comes at the right time to fill this gap in patient care in the United States.”

For more information on the MS and Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care, visit Consider participating in a virtual open house (March 22 or April 19, 2017 both at 12N and 9 pm).

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