Education and Research

Education Highlights

Through our teaching and scholarly efforts, we are showing how humanities-based palliative care education can help interprofessional teams provide artful and excellent care for all patients with serious illness.

The 3-Act Model

A goals of care conversation explores a seriously ill patient’s values, beliefs, and priorities in the context of the clinical situation, with the aim of providing care aligned with their values. With a nod to Aristotle, we designed a novel narrative approach to goals of care communication called the 3-Act Model (see hourglass figure). In  recent studies, 3-Act Model training has led to learner proficiency in role-play as well as real-life clinical encounters, and has been the preferred method of trainees in the clinical setting:

Narrative Approach to Goals of Care Discussions: A Novel Curriculum (Wu, Kern, Dy, Wright) J Pain Symptom Manage

Narrative Approach to Goals of Care Discussions: Assessing the Use of the 3-Act Model in the Clinical Setting (Roberts, Wright, Dy, Wu) J Pain Symptom Manage

Narrative interventions in the palliative care setting: a scoping review (Laskow, Small, Wu) J Pain Symptom Manage

Groups of Learners We are Training

  • Residents, Fellows, Physician Assistants, Physicians
  • Nursing Students, Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners
  • Pharmacy Residents and Students, Pharmacists
  • Chaplain Residents
  • Social Workers
  • Interprofessional teams in key units and clinics

“I was blown away by the team at Bayview – it was amazing to witness the compassionate advocacy for patients and families and the seamless teamwork. I could tell the patients and families (and other staff!) really felt seen, heard, and valued through interacting with the PC team.”


Your ‘art of conversation’ and ‘the narrative 3 act approach’ were a God send to us. I believe to be under a doctor's care, who uses your techniques, will be a great blessing to everyone who is tied to that patient. Show those new doctors how to be great and the older doctors how to be greater in their practices.

Patient, TL

Resident Palliative Interest Group (PIG)

Pig logo and zoom screenshot

Some of our greatest internal medicine residents are passionate about palliative care. With our guidance and support, they formed the Resident PIG, which has become a palliative hub within the residency.

PIG has broken bread together in homes and restaurants, hosted arts events, talked about fellowships and careers, and done educational outreach.

Research Notes

Bringing Stories to the ICU

One of our current projects, funded by the Cambia Health Foundation Sojourns Scholar Leadership Award, is integrating the 3-Act Model (see above) in the Medical ICU at Hopkins Bayview.  We are collaborating closely with leaders and team members in the ICU to integrate artful communication and systems change with the aim of improving person-centered care and systems outcomes.

Palliative Interprofessional Collaborative for Action Research (PICAR)

The PICAR team consists of Rebecca Wright, PhD,BSc (Hons), Danetta Sloan, PhD, Janiece Taylor, PhD, and David Wu, MD.




We are grateful to partner with researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and Bloomberg School of Public Health in doing important work at the intersection of palliative care and social justice. Together, we are aiming to better incorporate the voices of our patients and families and communities, in all their diversity, in the care of those with serious illness using participatory / collaborative / co-design approaches. Our conceptual framework is described in this publication, “A Call to Action to Address Disparities in Palliative Care Access: A Conceptual Framework for Individualizing Care Needs.”

One project we are working on, funded by the Hillman Foundation, is entitled: “A nurse-led approach to improving palliative care in the ICU for Black populations.” Rebecca Wright, PhD, BSc (Hons), is the principal investigator for the project, and co-investigators include Danetta Sloan, PhD, and David Wu, MD.

Another project, funded by the Johns Hopkins Institute for Excellence in Education, is “Partnering with community members to design culturally sensitive goals of care communication training.” David Wu is the principal investigator, and co-investigators include Drs. Wright and Sloan, Drs. Chapla and Orozco from our Division, and several incredibly talented Medicine residents, Drs. Ekene Ojukwu, Amarpreet Ahluwalia, and Kamini Kuchinad. 

Our Team’s Recent Publications

Clinical excellence in palliative care. (Wu, Wright) Am J Hosp Palliat Med.

Primary palliative care education for trainees in US medical residencies and fellowships: a scoping review. [published online July 8, 2020]. (Paulsen, Wu, Mehta) J Palliat Med.

Covid-19-pandemic-response-development-of-outpatient-palliative-care toolkit based on narrative communication.  (Roberts, Wright, Christmas, Robertson, Wu) Am J Hosp Palliat Med. 2020.

Hopes and Future Directions

Building on our success to date, in 5 years we aim to:

  1. have artful palliative care thoughtfully integrated throughout the hospital AND the community;
  2. have a robust interprofessional research program pursuing health equity in palliative care;
  3. keep growing, thriving, and bringing peace.