Part-Time Fellowship Training in Palliative Medicine

Topic: Education

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North Shore University Hospital, member of the Northwell Health System, has a growing Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship training program.   Established in 2007 and accredited in 2009 the program spans three major hospitals and is currently approved for eight fellows.

As the number of people with serious medical illness increases, the need for hospice and palliative medicine trained physicians increases in parallel.  Additionally, providers can no longer sit for the certification exam using verification of clinical experience.  There are providers who wish to complete fellowship training but face hardships, financial or otherwise, presenting a barrier to pursuing a full-time program.  

Changes in the ACGME program requirements for July 2015 follow;  Int.C. A fellowship program in hospice and palliative medicine must consist of 12 months of education in the subspecialty. (Core)*1   Review of the accompanying FAQs shows that the RRC allows HPM fellowship programs the flexibility to accept fellows with the expectation of completing the program on a part-time basis over the course of 24-36 months.2
The division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine at North Shore University Hospital piloted a part-time fellowship training program in hospice and palliative medicine on July 1st, 2015.  The program is in its second year.  Selected candidates were from physical medicine and rehabilitation, pediatric critical care and emergency medicine.  Their primary boards were contacted and agreed in writing to allow entrance to the certifying exam upon successful completion of all program requirements over a 24 month period.   Each candidate alternates working in their primary field with a fixed interval of fellowship training. We anticipate that all are going to successfully complete the program.  

We believe this to be a viable alternative to full time training, allowing more providers the acquisition of subspecialty competencies and board certification.

  1. https://www.acgme.org/acgmeweb/Portals/0/PFAssets/ProgramRequirements/540_hospice_and_palliative_medicine_2016_1-YR.pdf  (accessed 3/1-5/4/2015)
  2. https://www.acgme.org/acgmeweb/Portals/0/PDFs/FAQ/540_hospice_and_palliative_medicine_FAQs_07012015.pdf  (accessed 3/1-5/4/2015)

Author

  • Sindee Weiss-Domis, MD
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • North Shore University Hospital, Northwell Health System
  • 300 Community Drive
  • Manhasset, NY 11030
  • (516) 562-8825

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