The first step is to know that PHPM is the right field for you. This is why we recommend spending time with a PHPM team on an elective rotation, especially if you are considering a PHPM fellowship immediately after a general pediatrics residency.

If your training program does not offer a PHMP rotation, there are other ways that you may learn about the field such as joining the AAP Section on Hospice and Palliative Medicine (SOHPM). The SOHPM hosts a website and two LISTSERVs® that can connect you with others in the field of PHPM. The SOHPM welcomes pediatric trainee members, including medical students, residents, post residency training fellows, and early career physicians (among other member types). The SOHPM engages in various activities to support trainees and early career physicians interested in the field of PHPM. The SOHPM has a formal liaison relationship and subspecialty delegate position with the AAP Section on Pediatric Trainees (SOPT). Trainees interested in PHPM can apply for the SOPT liaison or subspecialty delegate role. The AAP Mentorship Program is another way to get connected to PHPM physicians. This program offers opportunities for mentorship and peer support by matching trainees with mentors based on shared career interests. You may also consider joining the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) and attending their annual assembly, if you are able, to make contacts in PHPM and to appreciate the breadth and depth of the field. AAHPM has an active Pediatrics Special Interest Group.

Once you are more certain that PHPM is the career for you, the next step to becoming board- eligible is to complete a fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine. Prior to 2012, practicing physicians who met certain patient care criteria could be “grandfathered” into sitting for the hospice and palliative medicine board exam. Since then, only those physicians who have completed a fellowship are considered board-eligible.

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American Academy of Pediatrics