On January 26, 2017 the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus’ Graduate Council approved the expansion of the interprofessional Master of Science in Palliative Care (MSPC) to include an Allied Health Professional (AHP) Track. Since its inception, the MSPC has incorporated interdisciplinary faculty and teaching modules addressing psycho-social-spiritual-ethical issues within palliative care. Expanding the student body to draw from the disciplines of social work, spiritual care, psychology, gerontology, and ethics replicates the interdisciplinary palliative care team environment in which palliative care professionals work.
MSPC affiliate faculty Kelly Arora, PhD, and Bob Davidson, LCSW, will serve as co-directors of the AHP graduate track. Arora is the John Wesley Iliff Senior Adjunct Lecturer in Spiritual Care at the Iliff School of Theology. Davidson, an Episcopal priest and social worker, is a member of an interdisciplinary team providing community based palliative care.
According to Arora and Davidson, “drawing in fellow professionals from allied health disciplines will enrich the program’s interdisciplinary learning environment, as well as broaden the scope of our curriculum to address important psycho-social-spiritual-ethical topics.”
In 2016, the MSPC program kicked off with sixteen students in the biomedical professions who are working or desire to work in palliative care as physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and pharmacists. For fall 2017, the MSPC program will recruit allied health professionals for both the two-year Masters (36 credit hours) and the two-semester (12 credit hours) Interprofessional Palliative Care Certificate.
The MSPC curriculum is delivered predominantly online, with three 3-day weekend intensives, taught on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. With the addition of the AHP track, the majority of course offerings will integrate biomedical and allied health professionals in shared modules and class assignments. New AHP content will address advanced skills for psycho-social-spiritual-ethical professionals practicing in palliative care settings. Following graduation, MSPC allied health professionals will be positioned as leaders within the growing palliative care movement in the United States and internationally.
Arora and Davidson will promote the program through professional organizations, as well as academic and practice partners within allied health. They encourage everyone to help spread the word about the MSPC program and the AHP track. Information and application materials can be found at: www.ucdenver.edu/MSPC.