Institute launches first Palliative and Serious Illness Certificate course for Physician Assistants

SAN MARCOS, CA – The California State University Shiley Institute for Palliative Care has launched a new online palliative care certificate program for physician assistants, the first of its kind in the country.

The Physician Assistant Certificate in Palliative and Serious Illness Care is a 12-week instructor-led online course for physician assistants in primary care, subspecialty, or hospital-based practices who frequently care for patients with serious illnesses.

The course provides evidence-based theoretical knowledge, clinical tools, skill-building exercises, case studies, and interactive support to help physician assistants optimize care for patients with chronic or advanced illnesses. It features online coursework that can be accessed 24/7, as well as weekly live Grand Rounds via Zoom with practicing palliative care physician assistants offering real-world expertise, coaching, and case presentations.

“When my stepfather was diagnosed with liver failure, it was a physician assistant who came to my mother’s home and met with the family to explain the situation and answer our questions,” said Jennifer Moore Ballentine, Executive Director of the Institute. “PAs play vital roles in clinical practice, and a palliative care skill set will serve them and their patients well every day.”

Palliative care is a patient-centered holistic approach to managing symptoms of serious and chronic illness. It should be provided from diagnosis onward, even alongside curative treatment.

The need for palliative care is growing dramatically as our population ages. Amid a shortage of palliative specialists, a wider array of frontline healthcare providers, including physician assistants, are uniquely positioned to deliver generalist palliative care services to patients and families.

The Physician Assistant Certificate in Palliative and Serious Illness Care provides 72 hours of continuing education hours approved by California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) Extended Learning and accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

For more information visit or call 760-750-4006.

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