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Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship

Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship

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The Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is a one-year, ACGME-accredited program that admits one fellow per year.

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Program Details

The mission of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship is to train leaders and academicians in the care of those with potentially life-limiting illness.

Palliative medicine is medical care focused on providing comfort for the seriously ill through the relief of symptoms and stress. This type of medical care is useful at any stage of illness, and can be provided along with curative treatments. Palliative care work is dedicated to a strong belief that individuals should live well and attain the highest quality of life, regardless of the nature or severity of their illness or the need for other therapies.

Palliative medicine integrates the emotional and spiritual well-being of the patient and family into the management of pain and other physical symptoms of illness.

The Palliative Medicine team guides patients and families who are making decisions while working toward their goals throughout their course of illness. The team collaborates with professional and informal caregivers in various settings to ensure coordination, communication and continuity of care across institutional and home care settings with the goal of providing seamless care.

Learn More about the Fellowship

Program Faculty Publication Highlights Expand answer

Several faculty members from the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship have published noteworthy articles.

To Apply Expand answer

Applications for the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship are only accepted through ERAS in accordance to the NRMP Specialties Matching Service policies and schedules. Refer to the official AAMC ERAS Fellowship website for details.

For informal inquiries, contact the program.

Faculty Expand answer
Current Fellows Expand answer
Past Fellows Expand answer
About Penn State Health Expand answer

A screenshot shows the 2020 virtual tour of Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine.

Virtual Tour

A new-for-2020 virtual tour showcases locations across Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa.

Explore the virtual tour

Penn State Health

Penn State Health is a multi-hospital health system serving patients and communities across 29 counties of Pennsylvania. Its mission is to improve health through patient care, research, education and community outreach.

In December 2017, the system partnered with Highmark Health to facilitate creation of a value-based, community care network in the region. The shared goal of Highmark and Penn State Health is to ensure patients in the community are within:

  • 10 minutes of a Penn State Health primary care provider
  • 20 minutes of Penn State Health specialty care
  • 30 minutes of a Penn State Health acute care facility

Learn more about Penn State Health

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine campus is seen in an aerial photo on a sunny day.

Penn State Children’s Hospital (left), Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (center) and Penn State Cancer Institute (right)

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

500 University Dr., Hershey, Pa., 17033 (Derry Township, Dauphin County)

  • The health system’s 548-bed flagship teaching and research hospital
  • The only medical facility in Pennsylvania accredited as both an adult and a pediatric Level I (highest-level) trauma center
  • Dedicated surgical, neuroscience, cardiovascular, trauma and medical intensive care units
  • Accredited Life Lion critical-care transport providing more than 1,100 helicopter and approximately 750 ground ambulance transports per year
  • More than 1,300 faculty members and more than 650 residents and fellows
  • Approximately 28,500 admissions, 75,000 emergency department visits, 1.1 million outpatient visits and 32,000 surgical procedures annually
  • Designated as a Magnet hospital three times

Learn more about Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Penn State Children’s Hospital

600 University Dr., Hershey, Pa. 17033 (Derry Township, Dauphin County)

  • A five-story, 263,000-square-foot-facility built in 2013
  • Three-floor expansion opened in November 2020
  • Level IV (highest-level) neonatal intensive care unit
  • Level I (highest-level) pediatric trauma center designation
  • Dedicated pediatric operating rooms
  • More than 150,000 pediatric outpatient visits and approximately 5,000 pediatric patient discharges annually

Learn more about Penn State Children’s Hospital

About Hershey: Benefits, Stipends and More Expand answer

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Welcome to Hershey

A new-for-2020 guide to the Hershey, Pa., area showcases the highlights of life in central Pennsylvania.

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More About Hershey

Interested in learning more about living and working in Hershey, Pa.? See details here:

Wellness Initiatives Expand answer

Wellness, including emotional, spiritual, social and physical health, is a crucial component to training and to becoming a professional, compassionate and resilient physician. Self-care is a skill which must be continually practiced and reinforced. Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health are committed to addressing wellness among residents and fellows, with multiple resources readily available.

Institutional resources

Graduate medical education resources

Diversity Expand answer

Institutional Resources

Penn State Health celebrates, embraces and supports the diversity of all patients, faculty, staff, students and trainees.

Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In keeping with this, the institution has an active Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with various programs, networks and resource groups, including:

  • Regular talks and lectures on diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Periodic town halls on topics such as eradicating racism and creating a culture of inclusiveness
  • An allyship support group
  • Many affinity resource network groups, including:
    • Disability Affinity Resource Network Group
    • Group on Women in Medicine and Science
    • Interfaith Affinity Resource Network Group
    • LGBTQ and Allies Affinity Resource Network Group
    • Military/Veterans Affinity Resource Network Group
    • Multicultural Affinity Resource Network Group
    • NextGen
  • A new organization specifically for trainees, the Network of Underrepresented Residents and Fellows

Learn more about the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Office for Culturally Responsive Health Care Education

The vision at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health is to equip learners with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they will need to provide culturally excellent health care and research for an increasingly diverse U.S. population. The Office for Culturally Responsive Health Care Education was formed to help meet that goal.

Learn more about the Office for Culturally Responsive Health Care Education

Office for a Respectful Learning Environment

In addition, the institution does not tolerate discrimination, biases, microaggression, harassment or learner mistreatment of any kind, and any concerns are immediately addressed by the Office for a Respectful Learning Environment.

Learn more about the Office for a Respectful Learning Environment

Contact Us Expand answer

Curriculum Details

Curriculum Overview Expand answer

The Department of Medicine at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center was approved by the ACGME in 2015 for the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship. The one-year comprehensive clinical training program is based at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, with away rotations at Lebanon VA Medical Center, Hospice of Central Pennsylvania and Spring Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation.

In addition to a complete schedule of clinical conferences and journal clubs to supplement the patient care activities of the Palliative Care Service, the program has a special interprofessional peer-driven curriculum that includes nursing and chaplaincy. One trainee is accepted each year into the program.

The clinical expertise of the interprofessional faculty includes all components of comprehensive care of patients/families living with life-limiting illness to ensure a whole-patient perspective.

The academic mission of the Palliative Center of Excellence embraces scholarship in both clinical and educational domains. Each fellow has the opportunity to participate in system-wide quality improvement efforts as well as various teaching activities.

Program Outline and Goals Expand answer
  • Fellows will provide enhanced care coordination by explicit navigation assistance for palliative patients as they leave the hospital and engaging in best communication practices with the interprofessional team from Hospice of Central Pennsylvania.
  • Fellows will have interprofessional learning by making joint care visits with interdisciplinary team members, including visits to patient homes, nursing homes and residential homes.
  • Fellows will be participating members of the Inpatient Palliative Care Consult Team for six months.
  • Fellows will facilitate care coordination through explicit navigation assistance and follow-up for palliative care patients as they transition into the Outpatient Continuity Clinic in the Cancer Institute.
  • Fellows will participate in “Fellow as Teacher” with assigned curriculum development and implementation based on a needs assessment of an interprofessional team within our health system or community.
  • Fellows will have an interprofessional peer learning group complete with a semi-structured interprofessional education curriculum.
Core Requirements Expand answer

Hospice and Palliative Home Care


Fellows will gain extensive experience managing hospice and palliative patients through time spent with Hospice of Central Pennsylvania. Fellows will participate in a minimum of 25 home visits, and actively participate in the interdisciplinary team meetings. Fellows will also spend a minimum of two weeks at the Carolyn’s House residential hospice house.

Inpatient Palliative Care Consultation Service


Fellows will spend a minimum of four months with the interprofessional inpatient consultation teams.

Outpatient Clinic

Fellows will maintain their own half-day outpatient clinic practice under the supervision of the palliative care faculty. Fellows will follow new patients longitudinally in the ambulatory setting as well as across settings if the patients are admitted to the hospital, a long-term care facility and/or hospice.

Long-Term Care

Fellows will learn how to provide palliative care for frail older adults residing in long-term care during dedicated time at HMC-affiliated communities.

Pediatric Palliative Medicine Rotation

Fellows will spend two weeks with the Hummingbird Program at Penn State Children’s Hospital.


Electives include ALS, surgical oncology, pain control and physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Scholarship and Research Expand answer

Projects will leverage the agenda of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s Chief of Patient Safety/Quality, focused on transitions of care, interprofessional education and/or the patient/family experience.

Milestones will include:

  • Abstract submission to a national conference
  • Manuscripts submitted for publication
Mentorship Expand answer

Fellows will be paired with faculty mentors who will guide in the acquisition of competence in the clinical, teaching, research and advocacy skills pertinent to the discipline, serve as a clinical supervisor in an inpatient or outpatient setting, develop curricula, and/or participation in didactic activities.

Fellows will participate in semi-structured peer-mentoring with an interprofessional peer group.

Interprofessional Education Curriculum Expand answer

Below is an example of the interprofessional education curriculum from a previous program year. While sessions vary from year to year, this sample curriculum is intended to show the types of experiences in which Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellows might participate during a yearlong interprofessional education experience.

This program was “Navigating Palliative Transitions: Building Community Partnerships.”


Train interprofessionally versed potential future leaders in the care of those with potentially life-limiting illness.

Clinical Component: Hummingbird Palliative Care Program

  • Two-week intensive clinical experience under the leadership of Dr. Michelle Freeman in early June
  • Promote interprofessional learning by including trainees in joint care visits with interdisciplinary team members

In-Person Workshop Curriculum

These four-hour workshops are held monthly.

Online Reflection Curriculum

Monthly online reflection assignments are done under the leadership of Dr. Lisa Kitko.

Journal Club/Challenging Case Conference

These are held once a month as part of the regular Palliative Care Team meetings.

Latest News from Palliative Care

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