Fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine

The Medical College of Wisconsin's Palliative Care Program is a nationally recognized leader in palliative medicine. Our one-year, adult clinical fellowship program is one of the first ACGME-accredited fellowships in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. We train physicians to become skilled clinician-educators in preparation for a career in academic palliative medicine or community practice in hospice or palliative care.

Fellows work as part of interdisciplinary teams in a variety of settings – inpatient consultation services, an inpatient palliative care unit, a continuity palliative care outpatient clinic, an inpatient hospice unit, home hospice visits, ample electives – to gain a solid foundation in providing comprehensive care for the seriously ill. Candidates with an interest in academic medicine will be provided additional training and mentoring in medical education. We have accepted and successfully trained fellows from a wide variety of specialties including internal medicine, family medicine, vascular and interventional radiology, neurology, surgery, pediatrics, and anesthesiology.

Program Director's Welcome

Sean Marks, MDThank you for your interest in our Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Please explore our website and learn more about our fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine.

Our Palliative Care Program was founded in 1993 by Dr. David E. Weissman and is a nationally respected program with a proud tradition of innovation. As a former graduate, I can assure you that our fellowship offers a comprehensive educational experience that will make you well prepared for a career in academic or non-academic Hospice or Palliative Medicine. We have a 100% pass rate among our board eligible graduates on the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Board exams. Graduates from our program have gone on to have varied and successful careers, becoming medical directors of academic Palliative Care Programs, clinician educators at major academic medical centers, and leaders of community-based palliative care and hospice programs.

Beyond teaching the needed clinical skills to become astute hospice and palliative care clinicians, our fellowship places extra emphasis on training fellows to become effective educators and leaders. We are fortunate to have the Kern Institute at MCW, which is dedicated to advancing a new foundation in medical education based on character, competence, and caring. MCW also hosts a regional Great Lakes CME conference in dilemmas in palliative care. I along with several other faculty in our program are editors of an internationally accessed peer-review website on Palliative Medicine related topics called Fast Facts and Concepts. Additionally, we have several faculty engaged in meaningful clinical research. Hence, our fellows have plenty of opportunities to collaborate with leaders in the field in meaningful scholarship and clinical education and complete fellowship with a very full CV.

Our fellows train under the supervision of clinical faculty from a multitude of specialties including Neurology, Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychology. This allows our fellows to benefit from a broad training perspective. We also offer a wide variety of clinical experiences. This includes a well-established palliative medicine consult service at Froedtert Hospital that is fully integrated into the hospital system; clinical rotations at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center which includes a dedicated palliative care unit; an outpatient continuity Palliative Medicine clinic; a rotation at a free standing hospice facility called the Aurora VNA Zilber Family Hospice; and a month long home hospice rotation.

Here is a link which goes over benefits, conditions, and terms of employment if you were to pursue a fellowship with us.

GME Benefits, Conditions & Terms of Employment

We look forward to hearing from you and hope that you seriously consider our program!

Thank you,

Sean Marks, MD
Associate Professor and Fellowship Director

Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship
Medical College of Wisconsin

Message From The Director


Why become a fellow at MCW

As a major academic medical center, and the largest research institution in the Milwaukee metro area, the Medical College of Wisconsin is a distinguished leader in the advanced training of physicians, researchers, pharmacists and health professionals. Together with its top-tier partner institutions, the Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals (MCWAH) puts you at the forefront of advancement that’s improving the vitality of society.

Reasons to live in Milwaukee

Milwaukee is a one-of-a-kind city with a vibrant and diverse culture, this charming, yet metropolitan must-see is just 90 minutes north of Chicago and nestled on the coast of Lake Michigan. Whether you’re catching a show at Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival, immersing yourself in the old world charm of the Historic Third Ward or taking in the sights and sounds of one of the many cafés, beer gardens or restaurants that line the city’s riverbank and shoreline, Milwaukee never disappoints. Find out why MCW residents and fellows take pride in calling Milwaukee home.

Program Details

Accomplishments/Activities of Recent Fellows

Medical College of Wisconsin has 100% board pass rate on the HPM board exam for board eligible fellow graduates!

Academic palliative care clinician at MCW

Academic palliative care clinician developing palliative care programs in community hospitals at Northwestern in Chicago, Illinois

Academic clinician in geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Program Director of Palliative Care Program at Aurora-Based Community Hospital in Southeastern Wisconsin

Academic clinician in Palliative Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin

Academic clinician in Palliative Medicine and Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin

Academic clinician in neurology and palliative medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center
Academic clinician in pediatric palliative care and pediatric critical care at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Palliative Medicine Physician for Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee, WI

Hospice and Palliative Medicine Physician - Midwest Hospice and Palliative Care Center; Glenview, IL

Staff Physician Internal Medicine and Palliative Medicine, Director of the Transitional Care Unit and Director of the Palliative Care Outpatient Clinic, Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI

Associate Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin
Director of Palliative Care for Froedtert Community Health

Educational Programs

Quality and Patient Safety Conference
This hour-long conference is held quarterly for members of our palliative care program. Attendees include physician faculty, midlevel faculty, psychologists, chaplains, nurses, and resident/medical student/fellow level rotators on the service. The fellow presents a case two times/year. The intent of the conference is to perform a thorough chart review of a sentinel palliative care case that analyzes the efficiencies and structure of the systems based practice in which palliative care is delivered throughout the health system.

A dedicated series of one-on-one learning sessions are performed in the first two weeks of the fellowship to springboard fellowship learning. Topics include introduction to hospice and palliative medicine, prognostication, quality improvement, spiritual care and chaplaincy, developing appropriate boundaries in the care of the dying, roles of APPs in hospice and palliative medicine, and advance care planning and are led by various members of the inter-disciplinary team.

Fellow Lecture Series
Physician and other non-physician faculty lead weekly hour-long didactic lectures on key topics essential to the medical knowledge and board preparation of a palliative medicine fellow. Hematology/Oncology fellows, social work fellows, house-staff rotators, and psychology fellows are also invited to attend.

Quality Improvement Project
Throughout the year-long fellowship, the fellow will receive protected time to obtain instruction on quality improvement and systems-based change theory. This will come via a didactic lecture provided by Dr. Lamb via the Department of Medicine Fellows Lecture series, as well as via mentorship by Dr. Katherine Recka and Dr. Paul Stellmacher, designated physician leaders of QI project for our palliative care program The QI project is designed to provide protected time, training, guidance, and supervision necessary in developing a project that leads to improving processes of care delivery.

Psych-Social Rounds
All practitioners in palliative medicine need protected time and space to safely explore the emotional issues of providing care and presence for patients and families facing end of life issues. Psych-Social Rounds is designed to give this protected time and occurs monthly throughout the fellowship. During psych-social rounds, physician and non-physician faculty meet with our team psychologist Associate Professor Jo Weis PhD who leads the rounds in exploring such issues as establishing appropriate boundaries in a palliative care practice, how to identify signs and symptoms of clinical burn-out, and difficult emotional and social issues that arise in caring for ill patients.

Journal Club
The Palliative Care Journal Club meets twice monthly to critically review recent research relevant to palliative care clinical practice. Palliative Care faculty, fellows, as well as medical student and resident rotators are invited to present interesting articles. This includes an educational curriculum on how to best critically appraise the palliative care literature.

Schwartz Rounds
The Schwartz Center Rounds are a multidisciplinary forum where clinical caregivers can discuss confidential difficult emotional and social issues that arise in caring for patients. Offering a safe, open and relaxed place where you can share your concerns, experiences, thoughts, and feelings.

Bereavement Rounds
All members of the interdisciplinary team meet twice a month to pay remembrance to patients cared for our team who recently died. It is also a time to foster self-reflective practices on the lived experience of caring for patients.

Research Meeting
All members of the palliative care program are invited to this quarterly meeting to discuss ongoing research projects and identify best practices to make these projects as successful as possible. Outside speakers also are solicited to address a variety of relevant topics including disparities in end-of-life research, tips on designing poster presentations, tips on writing case reports, and patient-report outcomes research.

American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) Annual Assembly
Attendance at the AAHPM Annual Assembly is an important educational asset to palliative care fellows and expenses to attend are covered in full by personal development and palliative care funds.

Fellows are provided funding and protected time to attend a 3-day long regional communication skills building conference at Madison WI. The curriculum is designed especially for Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellows.

Kern Institute
The Kern Institute was established in 2017 thanks to generosity of the Kern Family Foundation. It is a collaboration led by MCW with seven other medical schools committed to joining forces and building on each other’s strengths to drive innovation in medical education. In particular, the Kern Institute aims to evolve medical education from one that is strictly focused on competency to a medical educational model based on character, competence, and caring. Interested MCW HPM fellows will have access to the tremendous resources of the Kern Institute including training programs for medical educators.

Psychological Supervision

Medical trainees need professional development training as they care for patients and their families during serious illness and end of life. Supervision is a professional activity in which trainees develop understanding and awareness of influences such as beliefs and culturally embedded values that contribute to clinical practice. It involves observation, evaluation, feedback and facilitation of self-assessment. It provides opportunities to discuss difficult or emotionally charged encounters with patient and families, which promotes the development of a self-reflective and self-respectful approach to clinical practice. This study examines the effects of bi-weekly supervision with a licensed psychologist, Maria Olex, PhD, on the professional development of medical doctors working with the seriously ill through quantitative and qualitative methods.

Sample Schedule

Interdisciplinary continuity clinic; home visits

Froedtert Palliative Care Inpatient Service *

Zablocki VA Palliative Care Inpatient Service *

Home Hospice with Horizon Home Care

Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center

Zilber Family Hospice (free standing hospice facility)

Froedtert Palliative Care Inpatient Service


Zablocki VA Palliative Care Consult Service

Pediatric Palliative Care at Children's Wisconsin – 2 weeks
Oncology/radiation oncology clinics – 2 weeks

Froedtert Palliative Care Inpatient Service

Zablocki VA Palliative Care Unit and Community Living Center Patient Care Visits

* Includes palliative care consultation service and inpatient unit

Application Process Forms and Information

We currently have funding for one fellowship position per year.

Application Process

The MCW Hospice and Palliative Care Fellowship Program is part of the NRMP Match program. Please contact Julie Alexander,, if interested.

Application Information for ERAS

US Medical Graduates (Please provide the following in your ERAS Application)

  • Common application form

USMLE Transcript (Steps 1, 2, and 3)

  • Complex scores (DO)
  • MSPE
  • At least three letters of recommendation (one has to be from your current program director)
  • Medical School Transcript
  • Personal Statement
  • CV

International Medical Graduates (Please provide the following in your ERAS Application)

  • Common application form
  • USMLE Transcript (Steps 1, 2, and 3)
  • MSPE
  • At least three letters of recommendation (one has to be from your current program director)
  • Medical School Transcript
  • ECFMG Status Report
  • Personal Statement
  • CV
  • J-1 visa candidates (visa has to be sponsored by the ECFMG)
  • Unfortunately, we do not accept H1b visas

Usual HPM Match Participation Timeline

ERAS Registration 

NRMP Online Program Information Update

ERAS Opens

Interviews at MCW
Usually held from August-early October

NRMP Match Opens

NRMP Rank List Opens

Rank List Deadline

Match Day

Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals, Inc. Links
Great Lakes Regional CME Conference
The MCW Palliative Care program has developed and hosted the Great Lakes Regional CME Palliative Care Conference. It is now a two-day conference with over 200 attendees. It utilizes half-day workshops, networking opportunities, and didactic presentations from regional and national leaders in the field to help generalist and palliative care clinicians explore challenging topics in palliative care head on. It is also a wonderful event that brings together educators and leaders in the field. MCW Palliative Care fellows speak at this conference, most commonly as a co-presenter with another MCW faculty member. It gives our fellows great experience in giving formal presentations on a regional level.

Learn more

Contact Us

Julie Alexander

Education Program Coordinator II

(414) 955-0516

(414) 955-0093 (fax)