Dr. Pamela Sutton
with her Godmother
Barbara Ziegler


Memorial Sloan-Kettering
Cancer Center


 A Distinguishing History

What Is Palliative Care?




The Barbara Ziegler Palliative Care Education Program (ZPEP) at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) is dedicated to the promotion and advancement of pain and palliative care education and research activities. ZPEP builds on MSKCC's leadership in the education and training of physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and postoral counselors. The primary goal of ZPEP is to establish a nationally recognized center of excellence for physicians, nurses, and other health-care providers in pain and palliative care medicine.


A Distinguishing History

Twenty-five years ago Dr. Katheen Foley founded the first pain and palliative care service within a cancer hospital in the United States. She and her colleagues in the Departments of Neurology and Pharmacology at MSKCC and Weill Medical College of Cornell University performed groundbreaking scientific research which greatly advanced the science of pain medicine, and established as a priority in the delivery of comprehensive cancer care. The Pain and Palliative Care Service is now the internationally recognized leader in the evaluation and treatment of cancer patients with pain.




What Is Palliative Care

Palliative Care is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as:

"...the active care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment."

Palliative Care Treatment:

  • Affirms life and regards death as a normal process
  • Neither hastens nor postpones death
  • Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
  • Integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
  • Offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death
  • Offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their bereavement

A major priority of ZPEP is the incorporation of the principles of palliative care into the routine care of all the patients with from cancer the time of diagnosis, not only in the setting of advanced terminal disease.



 Developing, Implementing, Transforming

Education initiatives of ZPEP include:

Medical and Nursing Education:

  • Development and expansion if MSKCC physician and nursing fellowship programs in pain management, palliative care, and end of life care
  • Development and implementation of a pain and palliative care curriculum for medical oncologists in training at MSKCC and other cancer centers
  • Integration of pain and palliative care training into the medical student curriculum of Weill Medical College of Cornell University and the neurology residency training program at the Cornell campus of New York Presbyterian Hospital
  • Creation of an Education Resource Center for oncologists, physicians-in-training, nurses, and other health-care providers
  • Establishment of an on-line pain and palliative care curriculum including slide sets, examination, teaching modules, and other educational materials
  • Sponsorship of weekly Grand Rounds and educational seminars to maintain MSKCC at the forefront of pain and palliative medicine

Community Outreach:

  • Sponsorship of education outreach programs in underserved and minority communities through affiliation with North General Hospital in Harlem
  • Publication of an educational newsletter to link palliative care health-care providers worldwide
  • Publication and distribution of education materials to patients and families


Sponsorship of regional and national meetings with the goal of:

  • Advancing the science of pain and palliative medicine
  • Developing strategies for optimal cancer pain and palliative assessment, diagnosis, and treatment
  • Improving doctor/ patient communications
  • Developing palliative care educational models, curricula, and standards

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Pamela Sutton MD

The Barbara Ziegler
Palliative Care
Programs in Florida

The Sloan-Kettering
Palliative Care Center