HMS Center for Palliative Care website

(May 2018) A critical shortage of clinicians with palliative care expertise has been identified nationally by the Institute of Medicine and internationally by the World Health Organization.The Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care is recognized worldwide for its ongoing contributions to the development and growth of the field of palliative care.

HCC designed and built a new website to help the Center meet an increasing demand for palliative care professionals. The new site’s design was crafted around a revised brand identity that included a new logo, color palette, and typography. Page layouts were constructed to ensure that learning about its programs, viewing course schedules, and applying to courses is easy for potential participants. Its visual approach conveys that palliative care is more than pain management and end-of-life conversations--that it helps patients grow and live during serious illness, and that it can be joyous.

Keeping the constantly fluctuating roster of courses and hundreds of faculty up-to-date has been streamlined for site administrators through a powerful web platform. HCC migrated hundreds of pages of static html content from the legacy website into the Drupal 8 content management system, and developed content types to facilitate editing by website administrators. Web pages are generated dynamically, aggregating relevant pieces of content based on menu options chosen by the site visitor. The site was built on a responsive design framework, optimizing display on a wide array of phones, tablets, and other portable devices (one-third of site visits are from mobile devices).

Building a field

A new “History” section of the site offers insight into the work of Drs. Block and Billings, who were early pioneers of palliative care and national leaders in the field’s development. Nearly 4,000 medical students, physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and other health professionals from 57 countries have participated in the Center’s palliative care education and professional development programs since it was founded in 1999 by Susan Block, MD, and the late J. Andrew Billings, MD.