Palliative Medicine

Palliative Medicine Residency Program at McMaster

Welcome to the McMaster University Adult Palliative Medicine Residency Training Program. Our mission is to prepare residents to become expert clinicians and leaders in Palliative Medicine in the various settings in which palliative care is provided. The philosophy of the program is to combine mentorship and formal curriculum to provide residents with the tools to foster lifelong successful careers as subspecialists in Palliative Medicine.


Dr. Mino Mitri, Program Director
Dr. Mino Mitri, Program Director


The Adult Palliative Medicine Residency program at McMaster University has ties in the Department of Medicine and Department of Family Medicine. We are committed to propel the growth of the practice of palliative medicine within all medical subspecialties. The program’s vision aligns with national efforts to promote a palliative care approach earlier in patient’s disease trajectory, and broaden the scope of Palliative Medicine beyond end-of-life care.

Our rotations have been designed to span numerous care environments including community home and shelter health care, long-term care, academic teaching hospitals, hospice, small communities, tertiary acute care, trauma and critical care.

Training will predominantly occur in Hamilton’s large teaching centers of Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH). In addition to providing inpatient tertiary training in core palliative medicine, these large centers offer the full breadth of clinical and support services, including interventional radiology, medical and surgical subspecialties, diagnostic technologies, nutrition, child-life, spiritual care, social work, counseling, occupational and physical therapy, and speech language pathology. Our community sites, Six Nations and Joseph Brant Hospital, will provide residents with unique opportunities to broaden their community palliative care experience by directly working with First Nations population. Moreover, longitudinal ambulatory care training in palliative medicine will be offered through Joseph Brant Hospital and the Juravinski Cancer Clinic (JCC) in addition to outpatient clinics from medical subspecialties.

The training program will offer residents unique learning opportunities, such as integrative blocks in oncology and psychosocial work, combining several rotations in a longitudinal fashion to provide a comprehensive experience. In addition to clinical experience, other learning formats include academic half-days, case rounds, shared medical subspecialties academic half-days, Division of Palliative Care Journal Club and protected time to attend divisional retreats and Palliative Medicine conferences. 

Entry Requirements

Residents will be accepted into the training program from any of the entry pathways outlined by the Subspecialty Training Requirements of the Royal College for Adult Palliative Medicine, including completed core training in Internal Medicine, Neurology or Anesthesia.

Ontario Ministry of Health Funded Positions

Applicants would apply through the CaRMS Medicine Subspecialty Match (MSM). Full requirements can be found on their website. (link provided)

Government Sponsored Positions

Application Deadline

Ontario Ministry of Health Funded Positions
Please refer to the CaRMS website.

Refer to CaRMS MSM for Timeline and Dates

Goals & Competencies


Program overview and Rotation Description

The two-year residency training program fulfills the specialty training requirements in Adult Palliative Medicine as defined by the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada. The program is committed to provide opportunities for residents to hone their skills by offering a complementary three-pronged approach through clinical exposure, didactic teaching and interactive workshops.

Mandatory rotations in Community Palliative Care are provided under the supervision of a palliative care physician lead in Indigenous Health with Six Nations of the Grand River (6N). Residents will be exposed to the needs of the structurally vulnerably, housed through the Palliative Education and Care for the Homeless (PEACH) program at McMaster University. A unique Integrative Psychosocial Block offers longitudinal work in psychiatry, grief counselling, spiritual care, and infectious disease / addictions medicine. Medical Discipline Selectives are spread throughout the two years. There will be a mandatory of 6, including Infectious Disease (incorporated in the Integrative Psychosocial Block), and 5 others of the resident’s choosing from: Cardiology, Critical Care Medicine, Gastroenterology, Geriatric medicine, Nephrology, Neurology, and Respirology. Later in their residency, residents will have a 4-week block to consolidate their understanding of a mandatory scholarly project and bring it to completion. This dedicated time with access to mentors and supervisors will allow for preparation for dissemination through presentations, written papers or implementation / spread of QI projects. A sample resident rotation schedule is provided below. The Program Director will work with the resident to identify areas of interest and help arrange rotations and educational experiences, whether at McMaster-affiliated sites or at external sites in other catchment areas.

b. Objectives/Competencies

McMaster University’s Royal College Subspecialty training in Palliative Medicine will be committed to provide its residents the skills needed to address the physical, psychological, social and spiritual symptoms of patients with all life-threatening conditions, and lead palliative medicine in the future to serve the Canadian population’s health needs.

Objectives of the program are to provide support for the development of academic research and professional competencies within the framework of the CanMEDS roles. The specific objectives are tailored to meet the requirements of the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada for certification in Palliative Medicine.

The program has been designed to support resident achievement of increasing responsibility to independence through a logical sequence of clinical experiences. Beginning in the transition to discipline stage, Palliative Medicine residents will gain a firm understanding of the foundations of the discipline. The bulk of the rotations will serve to refine knowledge and skills, and tailor towards residents’ individual learning needs and goals. Near the end of the program, residents will be expected to function as junior attending staff during palliative medicine rotations, preparing them for independent practice.

Palliative Medicine – McMaster University Two-Year Program

Clinical Rotations Sample:

IP Consult
Integrative Oncology BlockMedical oncology
Radiation Oncology
Outpatient Clinic- PSMC
Community PC
Med Discipline #1Med Discipline #2Integrative Psychosocial BlockIP Consult
Block # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Longitudinal:  Ongoing Scholarly Activity (0.5 d/week) Longitudinal:  Communication Skills /
Crisis Intervention (0.5d/week)

PGY5 IP Consult
Peds PC
SelectiveMed Discipline #3Med Discipline #4Med Discipline #5SelectiveHospice/LTCScholarly ActivitySelectiveIP PCU
IP Consult
Block # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
 Longitudinal:  Ongoing Scholarly Activity (0.5 d/week)

 Key: PC: Palliative Care 
 6N: Six Nations PCU: Palliative Care Unit
 Brant: Joseph Brant Hospital Peds: Pediatrics
 ICU: Intensive Care UnitPSMC: Pain and Symptom Management Clinic
 ID: Infections DiseaseSPH: St. Peter’s Hospital
 IP: InpatientSJHH: St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
 MCH: McMaster Children’s Hospital JH: Juravinski Hospital 
 LTC: Long Term Care 


Description of training rotations

The first two rotations are on inpatient palliative care services. This will include daily patient rounds with an attending physician, which allows for residents to be more closely supervised initially with increased independence and responsibility as the resident’s knowledge/skills develop. The purpose of these rotations is to transition the resident to the discipline and provide the necessary foundations.

Residents will then move into core rotations, including an Integrative Oncology Block, providing comprehensive and longitudinal experience in Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology and the Pain and Symptom Management Outpatient Palliative Care Clinic. This allows the resident to thoroughly immerse in the care of a patient with a malignancy and follow their journey.

Community setting rotations are split evenly over the two years, giving a broad exposure to multiple settings, including Six Nations and Joseph Brant Hospital.

An Integrative Psychosocial Block provides comprehensive and longitudinal experience in Psychiatry, Infectious Disease / Addictions Medicine, and additional relevant selectives such as Spiritual Care and/or Grief Counselling. Academic Half—Days tailored around communication skills will predominantly occur during this time.

Mid-way in their training, residents return to inpatient consultations to begin to consolidate their first year of training and focus on teaching skills of junior learners.

Medical Discipline Selectives are spread throughout the two years. There will be a mandatory of 6, including Infectious Disease (incorporated in the Integrative Psychosocial Block), and 5 others of the resident’s choosing from: Cardiology, Critical Care Medicine, Gastroenterology, Geriatric medicine, Nephrology, Neurology, and Respirology.

Scholarly activity is largely done on a longitudinal basis throughout the two-year training program with a protected block in the second year to consolidate the scholarly work in preparation for dissemination and presentation.

The final two months of training will be done back in inpatient palliative care to consolidate learning and concepts of “transition to practice”. During this time, the trainee will be acting effectively as a junior attending with responsibility for patient care as well as teaching and supervision of more junior trainees, as appropriate. The supervising staff physician will be available for advice and to ensure that the trainee is ready for independent practice.

c. Educational ActivitiesProgram-Wide Educational Activities

  • Academic Half-Days

Residents are excused from their clinical duties to attend Palliative Medicine academic half days on a weekly basis. Occasional, additional protected time is allotted in the afternoon after the weekly AHD for residents to complete scholarly work.

  • Medicine Specialties

Academic Half Days The Medicine Specialties programs combine efforts to provide half-days addressing the intrinsic CanMEDS roles that are common among all specialties. Separate subspecialty half days are organized for the PGY-4 and PGY-5 residents with some common sessions. A committee with resident representation from all the medicine subspecialties allows for topics that are selected by the residents to ensure relevance and interest. Topics may include financial planning, career planning, leadership, resident stress, and harassment.

Academic Rounds

  • Medical Grand Rounds
  • Case Rounds 
  • Division of Palliative Care Journal Club

Research and Scholarly Activities

Residents will be required to complete a scholarly project on a self-selected topic or patient population. The Division of Palliative Care at McMaster University is a recognized leader nationally in the development and production of scholarly work and research. Given that McMaster hosts several large and well recognized research institutes in Population Health (PHRI), Geriatric research (GERAS), Oncology research (ECRI) and the more recently established Juravinski Research Institute, there is an abundance of opportunities for residents to participate with world class academics and researchers. In particular, the Division of Palliative Care has academics pursuing work in Public Health, vulnerable populations, whole patient care, end-of-life in critical care, and the development of educational programs in Palliative Care. Scholarly activity in the program is a longitudinal experience beginning early in the first year of the program, with the support and guidance of a Palliative Medicine Research Advisor.


The residency mentorship program will offer a space for residents to receive support and guidance regarding wellness, stress, personal and professional challenges. Residents will be assisted in finding a mentor and encouraged to engage with their chosen mentors who may have knowledge and experience to help them navigate career opportunities.


In addition to expected clinical leadership roles (i.e. junior attending roles, team management), residents will be encouraged to develop their leadership, administrative, and academic skills through various opportunities in the division, and the broader university community. Leadership opportunities are encouraged such as quality improvement initiatives, research initiatives, committee representation, and educational opportunities.

Career Counseling

Residents regularly meet individually with the Residency Program Director to self-reflect and discuss career goals, research plans, and resident performance. Resident schedules will also be reviewed and adjusted to tailor towards the resident's career goals, while still adhering to the mandatory curriculum.


Joyce Munga

Palliative Medicine
Placeholder portrait image for Joyce Munga
Program Assistant

Mino Mitri

General Internal Medicine
Mitri Mino-resized
Assistant Professor
Program Director, Palliative Medicine Residency Program

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