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Palliative Care Program

Fellowship in 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 an ACGME-accredited fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine and trains physicians to become skilled clinician-educators in preparation for a career in academic palliative medicine or community practice. MCW is a well-established leader in Hospice/Palliative Medicine fellowship training and is one of the first programs accredited by the ACGME.

Fellows work as part of interdisciplinary teams in a variety of settings – hospital consultation service, inpatient palliative care unit, palliative care outpatient clinic, inpatient hospice unit, home hospice, ample electives – to gain a solid foundation in hospice and palliative medicine. Candidates with an interest in academic medicine will be provided additional training and mentoring in medical education. Applicants who have successfully completed training in Internal Medicine and Family Medicine are preferred, but candidates from other specialties will be considered.

GME Benefits, Conditions & Terms of Employment

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 successful careers, becoming Medical Directors of academic Palliative Care Programs, clinician educators at major academic medical centers, Medical Directors of palliative care programs at private hospitals, and hospice physicians.

Beyond teaching the needed clinical skills to become astute palliative care clinicians, our fellowship places extra emphasis on training fellows to become effective educators and leaders in the field. 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 clinical research that is presented at national conferences. Hence, our fellows have plenty of opportunities to engage in meaningful scholarship and collaborate with leaders in the field.

Our fellows train under the supervision of clinical faculty from a multitude of specialties including Neurology, Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, 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 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 that includes home visits with a board certified in geriatrics and hospice and palliative medicine.

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

Program Details

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Accomplishments/Activities of Former Fellows

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

2017-2018
Program Director of Palliative Care Program at Aurora-Based Community Hospital in Southeastern Wisconsin

2016-2017
Academic clinician in Palliative Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin

2015-2016
Academic clinician in Palliative Medicine and Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin

2014-2015
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

2013-2014
Palliative Medicine Physician for Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee, WI

2012-2013
Hospice and Palliative Medicine Physician - Midwest Hospice and Palliative Care Center; Glenview, IL

2011-2012
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

2010-2011
Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin
Director of Palliative Care for Froedtert Community Health

2009-2010
Assistant Professor in Palliative Care, Cleveland Clinic
Director of Palliative Care Program at Wheaton Franciscan Medical Program

2008-2009
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin

2007-2008
Associate Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin
Palliative Care Fellowship Director, Medical College of Wisconsin
Editor-in-Chief of Fast Facts and Related Concepts

2006-2007
Director of Palliative Care for Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee, WI
Hospice Physician in Aurora, CO

2005-2006
Director of the Palliative Medicine Program University of Minnesota Fairmount

  • Started blog: Pallimed.org
  • Editor of Fast Facts and Concepts
  • Nominated by AAHPM for "30 Visionaries in Hospice and Palliative Medicine"
Educational Programs

Quality and Patient Safety Conference
This hour-long Palliative Care Conference is held quarterly. All members of the interdisciplinary team at Froedtert are invited including invited including physician faculty, midlevel faculty, resident/medical student/fellow level rotators on the service. The fellow will be expected to present a PC Case Conference two times/year. The intent of the Palliative Care Case 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.

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. The lecture series is also attended by Hematology/Oncology fellows, social work fellows, and psychology fellows.

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, the designated physician leader of the QI project for the palliative care fellows. 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.

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.

PalliTALK
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.

Combined Oncology and Palliative Care Fellowship

The Medical College of Wisconsin now offers a 3-year combined fellowship allowing graduating fellows to become board eligible in Oncology and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. This fellowship track is structured so that the first year of the fellowship is a clinically focused year in Oncology. The second year is a clinically focused year in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. In the third year, fellows will spend a large amount of time on meaningful research and scholarship projects regarding quality of life issues in cancer patients along with clinical rotations in Oncology. Throughout the three years of the fellowship, fellows on this track will have weekly continuity clinics in Oncology and Palliative Medicine. Interested applicants should contact either program coordinator Julie Alexander at jualexander@mcw.edu or the fellowship program director Dr. Patrick Foy at pfoy@mcw.edu.

Psychological Supervision

jo_weisMedical 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, Jo Weis, PhD, on the professional development of medical doctors working with the seriously ill through quantitative and qualitative methods.

Sample Schedule

Weekly
Interdisciplinary continuity clinic; home visits

July
Palliative Care Inpatient Service *

August
Palliative Care Inpatient Service *

September
Home Hospice

October
Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center

November
Residential Hospice

January
Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center

February
Elective (2 weeks) / Radiation Oncology (2 weeks)

March
Pediatric Palliative Care/Elective

April
Palliative Care Inpatient Service *

May
Pain Clinic (2 weeks) / VA Inpatient Hospice (2 weeks)

June
Palliative Care Inpatient Service *

* 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, jualexander@mcw.edu, 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)

HPM Match Participation Timeline

ERAS Registration 
Spring 2018

NRMP Online Program Information Update
May 2018

ERAS Opens
July 2018

Match Opens
July 2018

Rank List Opens
September 2018

Quota Change Deadline
October 2018

Rank List Deadline
November 2018

Match Day
December 2018

Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals, Inc. Links

Contact Us

Please call or email us to discuss our fellowship program.

Julie Alexander

Program Coordinator

(414) 955-0516

Medicine Educational Programs
Hub for Collaborative Medicine
7th Floor, A7760-5

 

Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Rd.
Milwaukee, WI 53226