Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship

Program Overview

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.

Program Details

The mission of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program 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. Our work is dedicated to our strong belief that individuals should live well and attain the highest quality of life, regardless of the nature or severity of their illness.

Our mission is to prevent and relieve suffering, while supporting the best possible quality of life for patients and their families, regardless of the nature or extent of the disease or the need for other therapies.

We integrate the emotional and spiritual well being of the patient and family into the management of pain and other physical symptoms of illness.

We are here to guide patients and families who are making decisions while working towards their goals throughout their course of illness.

Our team collaborates with professional and informal caregivers in various settings, to ensure coordination, communication and continuity of care across institutional and home care settings.

Our goal is to provide seamless care.

Program Director’s Welcome

The Department of Medicine at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center was approved by the ACGME in
May 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, 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, our 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 our 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.

Our Team

Curriculum Overview

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

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 HCP 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. Electives include ALS, surgical oncology, pain control and PMR.


Projects will leverage the agenda of the HMC 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


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.

Core Clinical Sites

IPE Curriculum

Below is an example of the IPE 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.

Navigating Palliative Transitions: Building Community Partnerships

Interprofessional Hospice and Palliative Medicine Training Program


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.

Making News

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

To Apply

Thank you very much for your interest in our fellowship program.

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

Our application is currently closed, and will reopen in July 2017 for fellowship year 2018.

We welcome informal enquiries; contact us with questions.


Meet the teaching team for the Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine Fellowship in Hershey, PA.

About the Program Director

Amy Westcott, MD, CMD, FAAHPM, Associate Professor, is a core faculty member in the Center of Excellence in Palliative Medicine and program director for the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship. Her clinical expertise is in post-acute geriatric palliative care. Dr. Westcott is also the Director of Educator Development in Teaching and Learning for the Office for Support in Learning and Teaching Excellence (SLATE). She is responsible for the Hippocrates Cross-Specialty Resident Medical Education Track, the dissemination of the Core Resident as Educator Curriculum and various faculty development initiatives. Dr. Westcott is certified in the Stanford Clinical Teaching Framework, has completed the Harvard Palliative Care Education and Practice (PCEP) Program, and is a two-time recipient of the Geriatric Academic Career Award (GACA) from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). She is currently working toward a Master in Health Professions Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and her medical education research involves investigating the role of other healthcare professionals in training physicians.

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