Palliative Medicine

Dr. Jessica Simon, Division Head

The Division of Palliative Medicine works hand-in-hand with the palliative and end of life care service of Alberta Health Services Calgary Zone. Our mission is to support comprehensive, integrated, community-focused palliative care via research and educational excellence.

This is a growing division, currently with 26 members.

We are committed to providing life-affirming care and the management of suffering associated with life-limiting conditions, meeting the manpower needs for Palliative Medicine consultants for the Calgary Zone, supporting education in palliative care for primary providers, including rural physicians, nurses and others, and conducting clinical and health services research, with emphasis on evaluating and optimizing care delivery.


The University of Calgary has a nationally accredited Palliative Medicine Residency Program. We have provided training con-joint palliative medicine for up to three residents per year in the jointly accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC). In 2017 we are planning to offer the new CCFP certificate of added competence in palliative care via the Department of Family Medicine Enhanced Skills Program and in the future plan to provide the RCPSC sub-specialty training in palliative medicine. Applications for Clinical fellowships in Palliative Medicine are also welcomes. In total about 120 post-graduate trainees per year undertake rotations in palliative medicine, including family medicine, medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, internal medicine, neurology, anesthesia and several other disciplines. We also try to accommodate under-graduate electives, continuing medical education and other educational requests as much as possible.

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The Division research program currently focuses on advance care planning and health services research. Dr. Jessica Simon and Dr. Neil Hagen (Professor Emeritus) are co-leads with Dr. Konrad Fassbender at University of Alberta on an AIHS CRIO Program “Advance Care Planning and Goals of Care Alberta: A Population Based Knowledge Translation Intervention Study”.

The Division also works closely with the fast track palliative radiation clinic at Tom Baker Cancer Centre in their study of the outcomes of palliative radiation therapy, with the interdisciplinary brain metastasis clinic and with the Division of Psychosocial Oncology studying distress and with Adjunct Assistant Professor, Shane Sinclair in compassion research. There are also opportunities to study non-cancer palliative care topics in Calgary with faculty and colleagues in cardiology, renal, critical care and pulmonary medicine.