The Palliative Medicine Fellowship Training Program at the University of South Florida is designed for candidates who wish to pursue a clinical or an academic career in hospice or palliative medicine. The program offers a one-year ACGME-accredited fellowship training experience that leads to board eligibility in subspecialty of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Teaching sites:

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, designated as a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Comprehensive Cancer Center, is a not-for-profit institution. The fellow will participate in the services of the Psychosocial & Palliative Care Program at Moffitt. The Psychosocial & Palliative Care Program is engaged in clinical care, training, and research designed to address the emotional, social, spiritual, and physical needs of people affected by cancer. Clinical services are provided by an interdisciplinary team composed of professionals with expertise in clinical social work, hospital chaplaincy, clinical psychology, consultation-liaison psychiatry, pharmacy and neurology.

LifePath Hospice is one of the largest non-profit independent hospices in the country. With its large census of hospice patients and active palliative care consultation services, the fellow will have an opportunity for contact with diverse patients having varied clinical conditions in a wide array of settings. LifePath Hospice has had a long-standing affiliation with the University of South Florida, serving as a teaching site for medical students, residents and fellows.

The James A. Haley VA Medical Center is a 327 bed tertiary care teaching hospital, with 180 authorized nursing home care beds in Tampa. The James A. Haley VA Medical Center has an active inpatient palliative care consult service, an active home care program, as well as a large skilled nursing facility. The fellow with participate in all of these services.

Bay Pines VA Hospital. The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System makes health services are available to more than 94,000 veterans living in a ten county area in west central Florida. The Bay Pines VA has an inpatient palliative care consult service as well as an inpatient hospice unit. The fellow will participate in both of these services.

Program Detail:

Our program’s curriculum is competency-based and consists of clinical rotations, continuity experiences and conferences. In addition, the fellows are given an opportunity to engage in scholarly activity and to teach other learners during the course of the year. As training progresses, each fellow is evaluated across ACGME competency domains.

Rotations: The rotations consist of 3 months of hospital-based inpatient palliative medicine at Moffitt, 2 months of hospital-based outpatient palliative medicine clinics at Moffitt, 1 month of home hospice care at LifePath, 1 month of free-standing hospice unit experience at LifePath, 1 month of inpatient palliative medicine at the James A. Haley VA Hospital, 1 month of long term care at the James A. Haley VA Hospital, 1 month of inpatient palliative medicine and hospice unit experience at the Bay Pines VA Hospital, 1 month of elective experience at Moffitt, and 1 month of hospice experience in which the fellow can choose more home hospice care experience, more hospice house experience, or an experience on a palliative consult service in a community hospital.

Continuity Experiences: The continuity experiences consist of a 6 month-equivalent in the outpatient palliative clinics at Moffitt and a home hospice continuity experience at LifePath. These experiences take place one half day of each week, alternating between Moffitt and LifePath.

Required Conferences: These include a weekly didactic conference, a monthly journal club conference, and a board review conference.

Scholarly Activity: Fellows are expected to identify a specific scholarly activity/research project during their first year and participate in this activity throughout the year. LifePath Hospice is one of the only hospices in the country with an active research department. At USF, fellows are expected to interact with multidisciplinary colleagues at the Center for Hospice, Palliative Care & End-of-Life Studies at USF, which focuses on education and research in end of life and palliative care. Fellows will be encouraged to submit one or more papers for publication in the medical literature.

Educating Others: During the training year, fellows will participate in educational activities that involve teaching medical students, residents and learners from other disciplines.

Evaluation: Fellows will be evaluated monthly by interdisciplinary faculty in the six competency domains required by the ACGME: Patient Care, Medical Knowledge, Practice-based Learning and Skills, Interpersonal and Communication Skills, Professionalism and Team-based Practice.

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Eligibility

Candidates who have completed post-graduate training in Internal Medicine or Family Medicine are preferred for this fellowship training program, however, we will consider applications from other disciplines such as anesthesiology, emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychiatry and neurology, radiology and surgery. We will also consider applicants with J-1 visas.

Who Should Apply?

Eligible candidates who wish to learn how to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from life-threatening or life-limiting illness. These include physicians who wish to become a full-time palliative medicine subspecialists, or a full-time hospice physicians. Also included are physicians who are planning to add palliative medicine as an additional skill set to draw upon they continue to practice their primary specialties. Some of our former fellows have started or joined hospital-based palliative care services. Some have chosen a career in hospice medicine. Others have gone on to pursue further training, for example, in oncology. We have had fellows have come to us right out of training in a core specialty, while others have come to us wanting to shift the direction of their career after many years of practice. One of the strengths of our program is that we can provide training that will help fellows pursue diverse career goals.

Applicants must have completed an ACGME or AOA-accredited residency program in Anesthesiology, emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Psychiatry, Radiation Oncology, or Surgery.

How to Apply

For fellowship training starting July 1, 2015:

1 Preferred method of applying is through ERAS.  If  you're unable to access ERAS, please contact the program at LRODRIG1@HEALTH.USF.EDU for a paper application. 

2 Completed paper applications with the required documentation should be forwarded via US mail to:

Robert Walker, M.D., F.A.C.P.
Program Director
c/o Lourdes Rodriguez
USF College of Medicine / Hospice & Palliative Medicine
12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC19
Tampa, FL 33612

Email: Lrodrig1@health.usf.edu

For fellowship training starting July 1, 2016:

Preferred application process:

Apply to our fellowship program through the ERAS website. (2016 applications will be accepted starting December 1, 2014 through May, 2015)  please visit:

http://www.aamc.org/services/eras/eras_for_fellowships/

Selection

Candidates will be judged on the strength of prior training, demonstrated clinical competence, and potential for excellence in a career in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Interdisciplinary faculty members will interview selected candidates before final decisions are made. All enrolled fellows will receive a stipend based on the salary guidelines of the University of South Florida.

Policy

It is the policy of the University of South Florida and affiliated institutions not to discriminate against any individual on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, political affiliation, handicap or veteran status in matters of admissions, employment, or services in the educational programs or activities that it operates, in accordance with civil rights legislation and agency commitment.

From the Program Director

The field of hospice and palliative medicine is exciting, rewarding, and growing. Opportunities for practice in both academic and clinical areas remain widely available for well-trained graduates. With our country’s changing demographics, the need for trained hospice and palliative medicine physicians is expected to continue to grow. This is especially true in Florida, as it is a popular state for retirees. We are extremely fortunate to have among our partners, an NCI-designate Cancer Center, one of the largest hospices in the country, and two very different VA hospitals. They help make our program robust, giving trainees a large exposure to diverse patient populations. We are always eager to train qualified applicants who want to learn the discipline of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. This applies to those who wish to become full-time palliative subspecialists or hospice physicians, as well as to those who wish to become competent in palliative medicine so they can incorporate these competencies as a dimension of their ongoing work in their primary specialty. Helping people have a better quality of life while facing life-threatening or life-limiting illness is one of the best things a physician can do, and USF is a great place to learn how to do it.