Palliative Medicine Oncology

Dr. Jessica Simon, Division Head

Stacey Shier, Administrative Assistant

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

We are committed to providing life-affirming care and the management of suffering associated with life-limiting conditions through education in Specialist Palliative Medicine and supporting education in a palliative care approach for primary providers in multiple disciplines and professions. Much of our research focuses on health services research, with emphasis on optimizing patient-family and system outcomes.


The University of Calgary provides both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) sub-specialty training in Palliative Medicine via the Department of Oncology (one resident/year) and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) Enhanced Skills Program in Palliative Care, via the Department of Family Medicine (usually two residents per year). Applications for Clinical or Research fellowships in Palliative Medicine are also welcomed. In total about 120 post-graduate trainees per year undertake rotations in palliative medicine, including family medicine, oncology, internal medicine, neurology, anesthesia and several other disciplines and we accommodate some clerkship and under-graduate electives. PhD and Masters students exploring palliative care topics are supervised via the Department of Community Health Sciences or colleagues in the Faculty of Nursing. We also provide a vibrant Continuing Professional Development Program and community/public education sessions.

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Division members address key research topics including Advance Care Planning, Illness comprehension and coping, Compassion, Coordination of care and Symptom and functional support. Major projects include the Palliative Care Early and Systematic (PaCES) Project funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Alberta Health, which is co-led by Dr. Jessica Simon and Dr. Ayn Sinnarajah. PaCES aims to improve the quality of life for Albertans with advanced cancer. This knowledge translation project is adapting, implementing and evaluating evidence-based practices for delivering early and systematic palliative care to improve patient outcomes and decrease health system inefficiencies. The Calgary and Area Mobile Palliative Program (CAMPP) led by Dr. Simon Colgan, supports and researches the palliative care needs of people living with homelessness or vulnerably housed. Adjunct Associate Professor Dr. Shane Sinclair conducts research in compassion and our division members collaborate on multiple studies provincially, nationally and internationally.