Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics

Palliative Medicine Communication Course  |  Pittsburgh, PA

As a palliative care clinician, do you want to take your communication skills to the next level? As a fellowship director, do you want to see your fellows’ communication skills improve, while meeting ACGME requirements for training in the core competencies of interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and patient care?

We invite you to choose form two dates, December 8-10, 2021 and January 19-21, 2022, for the 2021 annual Palliative Medicine Communication Course (PMCC), a three-day course modeled on the acclaimed Oncotalk, Intensivetalk, and Geritalk courses.

Palliative care clinicians and fellows in this course will learn advanced communication skills, practicing communication in real time with simulated patients with coaching from expert faculty, in a supportive and safe environment. Learn how to skillfully handle scenarios such as:

  • A patient who, in discussions about code status, says “I want everything done”
  • An anxious patient who asks “Why is this happening to me?”
  • A family member who is hoping for a miracle
  • A patient who questions the doctor about her own religious belief and asks her to pray with him
  • A family member who asks for a feeding tube for a patient who is dying of cancer
  • Intra-family conflict about end of life decisions

Comments from previous participants:


“It was a great learning experience that gave me more confidence.”

“It was valuable. I appreciated having a safe space to work on trying new things.”


Date: December 8-10, 2021  OR  January 19-21, 2022 // 9:00 am-4:30 pm

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Course Director: Rene Claxton, MD, MS //

Additional Faculty: Mamta Bhatnagar, MD, Amanda Brown, MD, Rene Claxton, MD, Tara Cook, MD, Jan Leahy, CRNP, Scott Maurer, MD, Heather Mikes, DO, Eva Reitschuler-Cross, MD, Jane Schell, MD, Ethan Silverman, MD

Cost: $1,200 per trainee; $2,000 per practicing physician (NP or PA)

(includes breakfast and lunch; housing may be available in faculty member’s homes if needed)

Registration Deadline: September 30, 2021

For more information: contact Rene Claxton, MD, MS at

To register, please print out the appropriate registration form and mail/email, with payment, to:
Registration Form – December 8-10, 2021  (PDF)
Registration Form – January 19-21, 2022  (PDF)

Chris Chavlick
University of Pittsburgh
Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics
Division of General Internal Medicine
3600 Forbes Avenue, Suite 405
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-864-2856
Fax: 412-692-4315

Please contact Chris Chavlick at to discuss a cancellation.

Contact Us

Division of General Internal Medicine Academic Offices

UPMC Montefiore Hospital
Suite W933
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Patient/Clinical Inquiries


Administrative Office