Highlight: Pediatric Palliative Care and End-of-Life Care SIG

The Pediatric Palliative Care and End-of-Life Care SIG is delighted for the opportunity to highlight the amazing initiatives and work of our members to the broader group of SPP in this edition of Progress Notes. Our SIG is fairly young compared to many other SIGs in the division. It was founded by the fantastic Drs. Amanda Thompson and Rachel Kentor in 2018, with the inaugural SIG meeting being held in 2019 in New Orleans, LA. When Drs. Thompson and Kentor sent out the initial membership survey in late 2018, we had 26 psychologists and 16 trainees reply. At that time, we had a total of 58 members represented across various medical sub-specialties including hematology/oncology/bone marrow transplant, pain, inpatient consultation-liaison, neonatology, transplant, and cardiology. Members endorsed primary interest in the SIG for purposes of accessing and participating in education and training opportunities and connecting to resources for ongoing professional development and multidisciplinary collaboration. As we reflect on our work together over the last 5 years, we are pleased with how much our SIG has accomplished in advocating for the role of psychology in pediatric palliative care (PPC). Today, we are excited to share our SIG has grown to over 185 members, including a little over 60 trainees. Thanks to the contributions of our phenomenal members and leadership teams, we have made significant progress in meeting the needs identified by the SIG early on in its inception.

Please read below for some of our proudest accomplishments!

  1. Amanda Thompson and Kentor served as guest editors for a CPPP Special Edition on Pediatric Palliative Care, End-of-Life, and Bereavement. In this special edition, you will find a series of articles illustrating the many contributions psychologists offer to the field of pediatric palliative care.
  2. Amanda Thompson led a work-group in developing competencies for psychology practice in pediatric palliative care (PPC). These competencies were developed with the goal to highlight psychology’s unique contributions to PPC patient care and research, better define our role and expertise, guide curriculum development for trainees interested in the field, and support our inclusion and integration into PPC teams. Feel free to check out the article here, as well as the PediPal podcast on competencies here. Also, stay tuned for another highlight on the competencies on The Pediatric Psychology Podcast.
  3. The Pediatric Palliative Psychology Advisor Program (PPPAP), established April 2022, offers an informal program in which interested SIG members will be paired based on experience to offer reciprocal support and guidance across clinical, practice, and professional domains. In this way, participants garner assistance towards their practice-related goals from those that have more and/or different experiences. To date, we have 35 individuals participating in the PPPAP ranging from first year graduate students to advanced career practitioners. If you are interested in being and advisor or advisee, please email Div54palliativeSIG@gmail.com.
  4. We have hosted three fantastic webinars titled, “A Day in the Life of A Pediatric Psychologist: End-of-Life and Palliative Care; Ask the Experts: Navigating Communication with Newly Bereaved Caregivers; and Competencies LIVE: Psychologists in Pediatric Palliative care Research, Practice, Education, and Advocacy.” All webinars were recorded and can be found on our SIG’s website.
  5. And we are pleased to announce our next upcoming webinar, “Interdisciplinary Considerations for Inclusive Palliative Care,” in which we will hear from a multidisciplinary panel of colleagues and caregivers on aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion in collaborative palliative care. Stay tuned via the Division 54 Listserv for forthcoming registration details soon!

This is only the beginning for our SIG. We are excited to watch the Palliative Care and End-of-Life Care SIG continue to grow and lead initiatives with the primary goal of improving care for all children and families impacted by pediatric serious illness. We would like to thank all who have engaged with our SIG mission thus far, and we are hopeful for more members to join our group, as we are stronger and louder together. Send us an email at Div54palliativeSIG@gmail.com if you are interested in joining this wonderful group!


With gratitude,

Megan Schaefer, PhD & Heather Bemis, PhD
SIG Co-Chairs