Next-Level Perinatal/Neonatal Comfort Care Training: Creating an Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Plan for Each Baby and Their Family

Most recent Comfort Care Training in NYC: June 19-21, 2019. 


The Next-Level Comfort Care Training is a three-day intensive training of seminars and hands-on activity sessions to provide an overview of the methods, elements, and strategies needed to create a comprehensive palliative care plan for the entire perinatal team.



Subscribe here for registration opening, deadlines, and course updates.



Summer 2019 dates: June 19-21; 9:00am - 5:00pm

Perinatal detection of congenital anomalies leads to the identification of infants who are affected by life-limiting conditions with a short life expectancy Moreover, a significant number of newborns admitted to the neonatal ICU in critical condition face potentially adverse prognoses. Perinatal palliative care offers a plan for improving quality of life of the infant and the family, when extending the baby’s life is no longer the goal of care or the complexity of the medical condition is associated with uncertain prognosis.The evidence base for perinatal palliative care continues to grow. However, there is no consensus about best clinical practice in promoting support for the family or comfort for the neonate. Support for the family is achieved through appropriate pre- and postnatal consults, shared-decision making, and advance care planning. A state of comfort for the neonate is achieved when relational basic needs such as bonding, maintenance of body temperature, relief of hunger/thirst, and alleviation of pain/discomfort are met.

This three-day training is designed for the entire perinatal team: physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other allied health professionals practicing in the perinatal arena (obstetric and neonatology) interested in improving the practice of perinatal palliative care, both nationally and internationally. Health professionals at all career stages are welcome to attend.

Training will cover virtually all aspects of perinatal palliative care, including information about the successful experiences of the Neonatal Comfort Care Program in providing perinatal palliative care for over a decade at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC). Faculty will discuss evidence-based rationale, practical aspects and strategies for implementing and applying aspects of the CUIMC to provide support for families and achieve a state of comfort for newborns with limiting or life-threatening conditions. Training format includes didactic presentations, practical applications, hands-on training, case studies, role-play, videos, and Q & A sessions on the following topics: 

  1. The current state of the science on perinatal palliative care
  2. Strategies to assist families during decision-making processes
  3. Definition and roles of the members of the interdisciplinary team
  4. Essential elements of perinatal palliative consult
  5. Advance care planning
  6. Evidence-based interventions in the prenatal, intrapartum and postnatal periods that promote the health of the mother and family
  7. Essential elements of a neonatal palliative care plan
  8. Identification of potential barriers to institutional uptake of perinatal palliative care

Training objectives:

  1. Become familiar with the essential elements of prenatal and neonatal palliative consult
  2. Ability to adequately perform prenatal and neonatal palliative consult
  3. Ability to identify families’ needs and apply strategies to successfully achieve support when they have a newborn with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition
  4. Ability to identify newborns’ basic needs and apply strategies to successfully achieve a state of comfort for newborns with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions

A draft agenda is available herePlease note that course content and speakers may change.

Continuing Medical Education (CME), Continuing Nursing Education (CNE), and Continuing Education (CE)

This course has been approved for CME and CNE credits. CE pending.

Continuing Medical Education (CME)

  • Accreditation Statement: The Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
  • AMA Credit Designation Statement: The Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons designates this live activity for a maximum of 18.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
    • June 19th: 6.25 CME credits
    • June 20th: 6.50 CME credits
    • June 21st: 6.00 CME credits

Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) 

  • Accreditation Statement: The New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Nursing Professional Development is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the New Jersey State Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.
  • Credit Designation Statement: No more than 18.5 contact hours will be provided for attending this program.

NYS Social Work Continuing Education (CE)

  • Two sessions on Day 3 are eligible for NYS Social Work CEs for a maximum of 2.25 CE credits.

Before the program, all faculty will disclose the existence of any financial interest and/or other relationship(s) (e.g. employee, consultant, speaker’s bureau, grant recipient, research support, stock ownership or any other special relationship) they might have with a) the manufacturer(s) of any commercial product(s) to be discussed during their presentation and/or b) any commercial contributor to this activity. When unlabeled uses are discussed, these will also be indicated.


Several training scholarships are available for this training. The scholarship submission period is now closed.



There are no prerequisites or requirements to attend this training.


The Comfort Care Training will take place on the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) campus in New York City, specifically at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, 722 W. 168th Street, Allan Rosenfield Building 8th Floor Auditorium. Please note that the entrance to the building is on the 10th floor (training is located two floors below entrance).

General transportation and lodging information can be found in the Getting Around section. A PDF map of the Training location on the CUIMC campus will be available closer to training dates. 


Course Director: Elvira Parravicini, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center; Neonatologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital; Department of Pediatrics; Director of Columbia University's Neonatal Comfort Care Program 

Brian Carter, MD, Professor of Pediatrics (Neonatology), and Sirridge Professor of Medical Humanities & Bioethics, University of Missouri-Kansas City, School of Medicine, and Children’s Mercy Hospital

Ruth Downing, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

Monica Joshi, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Department of Pediatrics

Frances McCarthy, MS, RNC-NIC, CPLC, Nurse Clinical Coordinator at Columbia University, Department of Pediatrics; Nurse at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital; Department of Pediatrics

Solimar Santiago-Warner, LCSW, CPLC, Instructor at Columbia University School of Social Work; Licensed Social Worker at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Department of Pediatrics

Rochelle Steinwurtzel, PsyD, Instructor in Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry; Clinical Psychologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Department of Pediatrics 

Maryanne Verzosa, MS, CCLS, CEIM, CLC, Child Life Specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Department of Pediatrics

Emilee Walker-Cornetta, Chaplain, MDiv, BCC, Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science Program; Chaplain at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Pastoral Care & Education Department

Charlotte Wool, PhD, RN, Associate Professor of Nursing at York College of Pennsylvania; Perinatal Palliative Care Consultant



Participants have two options for course registration: 1) attend the full three-day training (June 19-21) or 2) attend the last day only (June 21 only). Registration fees by occupation are listed below.

 Early-Bird Rate (through 4/15/19)Regular Rate (4/16/19 - 6/1/19) Columbia/NYP Discount*
Residents, Fellows, Nurses, and Other Healthcare ProvidersDays 1-3 (attend all 3 days)$495$59510%
Day 3 Only (attend last day only)$125$150
Physicians (MD, PhD, DO)Days 1-3 (attend all 3 days)$1,050$1,25010%
Day 3 Only (attend last day only)$250$295
Industry Professionals Days 1-3 (attend all 3 days)$1,295$1,495NA
Day 3 Only (attend last day only)$325$375

*Columbia Discount: This discount is valid for any active employee at Columbia University and New York Presbyterian Hospital. To access the Columbia/NYP discount, email for instructions.

Registration Fee: includes course material, breakfast, lunch, refreshment breaks, and CME certificate (if applicable). Course material will be available to all attendees after the workshop and CME certificate will be emailed to applicable participants. Lodging and transportation are not included.  

Cancellations: Cancellation notices must be received via email at least 30 days prior to the workshop start date in order to receive a full refund, minus a $50 administrative fee. Cancellation notices received via email 14-29 days prior to the workshop will receive a 50% refund, minus a $50 administrative fee. Please email your cancellation notice to Due to training capacity, we regret that we are unable to refund registration fees for cancellations after these dates. 

If you are unable to attend the training, we encourage you to send a substitute within the same registration category. Please inform us of the substitute via email at least one week prior to the training to include them on attendee communications, updated registration forms, and materials. Should the substitute fall within a different registration category your credit card will be credited/charged respectively. Please email substitute inquiries to





Want updates on new Comfort Care Training details or registration deadlines? Subscribe here.

Questions? Email the Comfort Care Training team here.

The Next-Level Comfort Care Training is hosted by Columbia University's Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the Mailman School of Public Health and the Columbia Neonatal Comfort Care Program. The 2019 Comfort Care Training is supported by an independent educational grant from Mead Johnson Nutrition.

Columbia Neonatal Comfort Care Program