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In this session, Dr. Jean Kutner, MD, Chief Medical Officer for the University of Colorado Hospital, describes what palliative care is, trends in its use, and the role public health can play in ensuring those with a cancer diagnosis have access to this important element of care. 


Watch a little at a time by clicking on the videos below or watch the entire video at the bottom of the page.

Part 1 - Overview (3:50)

Part 2 - Understanding Palliative Care (2:41)

Part 3 - Role of Public Health (3:02)

Full Video (9:20)


  • Toolkit for the Development of Palliative Care in the Community
    • European Association for Palliative Care - Toolkit - This document is a resource to help support and guide individuals and organizations in Europe, as well as worldwide, to further develop palliative care services in primary care settings. It discusses, why development is important, current issues, innovations and best practice approaches, policy initiatives, educational initiatives, implementation frameworks in the community, drug availability, and the next steps in development. Greater depth in the development of the toolkit can be found here.
  • Palliative or Supportive Care
    • American Cancer Society - Palliative or Supportive Care - Provides an overview of palliative or supportive care, including: focus of, a guide to palliative or supportive care, if cancer treatment stops working, help managing side effects of cancer treatment, care resources, and care videos.
  • Palliative Care in Cancer
    • National Cancer Institute - Palliative Care in Cancer - Provides an overview of palliative care in cancer, includes: what it is, uses, who gives palliative care, treatment, difference between hospice, where to receive palliative care, how to find a place, issues, family members, end of life, what to talk about, who pays, research of benefits, and does the NCI support palliative care.
  • Palliative Care, Version 1.2014Michael H, Levy, MD PhD, Thomas Smith, MD, Amy Alvarez-Perez, MD, Anthony Back, MD, Justin Baker, MD, Susan Block, MD, Shriley N. Codada, MD, Shalini Dalal, MD, Maria Dans, MD, Jean S, Kutner, MD, Elizabeth Kvale, MD, Sumathi Misra, MD, William Mitchell, MD, Todd M. Sauer, MD, David Spiegel, MD, Linda Sutton, MD, Robert M. Taylor, MD, Jennifer Temel, MD, Roma Tickoo, MD, MOH, Susan G. Ubra, MD, Carin Van Syl, MD, Sharon M. Weinstein, ND, Mary Anne Bergman and Jillian L. Scavone, PhD

Learning Objectives

  • Define palliative care
  • Describe when palliative care can be helpful and who is involved
  • Identify the public health role in palliative care

Quiz and Certificate of Completion

Click Quiz and Certificate of Completion to take a short quiz and reeceive a certificate for this topic.


Jean Kutner, MD, University of Colorado

Dr. Kutner is a tenured Professor of Medicine in the Divisions of General Internal Medicine (GIM), Geriatric Medicine, and Health Care Policy and Research at the University of Colorado School of Medicine (UC SOM). Dr. Kutner received her MD from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in 1991 and completed residency training in internal medicine at UCSF in 1994. Subsequently, she completed a NRSA primary care research fellowship, earning an MSPH degree with honors, and a fellowship in geriatric medicine at UC SOM (1994-1997). She is Board Certified in internal medicine, geriatric medicine and hospice and palliative medicine and cares for patients on the palliative care service and in general internal medicine clinic. Her research focuses on improving symptoms and quality of life for people with serious advanced illness and their family caregivers. Dr. Kutner is Co-Chair of the NIH-funded Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group (PCRC). She was a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Transforming End of Life Care Committee and is a Past-President of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM).

In addition to building her own successful extramurally-funded research program, she has made mentoring of students, residents, fellows and junior faculty from multiple disciplines a priority, often co-mentoring with colleagues from other disciplines.  Since 1997, Dr. Kutner has mentored more than 45 students, residents, fellows and junior faculty.  In addition to her work with individual mentees, Dr. Kutner has focused attention on activities designed to build investigator capacity in hospice/palliative care-related research on an institutional and national level. 

In addition to her research and mentoring activities, Dr. Kutner started and was the founding Director of the University of Colorado Hospital Palliative Care Consult Service. She continues to attend on this service and cares for internal medicine patients at University Internal Medicine Lowry.

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