Pediatric Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship
The pediatrics track of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago accepts one fellow a year for a one-year clinically focused fellowship. Successful completion of the fellowship leads to eligibility to sit for the certification examination in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Potential fellows should understand that the program is run in conjunction with and under the auspices of the McGaw Medical Center and the Northwestern Memorial Hospital–based Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship program.
The fellowship has been in existence since 2013 and seeks to:
- Develop pediatricians to provide outstanding palliative care for any child with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition. Patients may also include those with high symptom burdens and complex medical conditions who may benefit from consultation around symptom management, goals of care or assistance with decisions about treatment options or limitations.
- Expand the pool of pediatricians planning a career in hospice and palliative care as well as better equip other subspecialists to use the skills of palliative medicine in their practice.
- The faculty include full-time palliative care pediatricians as well as a pediatric oncologist/palliative care physician, a pediatric critical care/palliative care physician, two neonatology/palliative care physicians and a psychologist.
- The clinical program includes the faculty noted above as well as advanced practice nurses and a nurse coordinator. We also work with an extended group of other professionals, including chaplains, music and art therapists, social workers, child life specialists, coordinators for our parent-to-parent volunteer program and a bereavement coordinator/therapist.
Overall, the fellowship curriculum includes approximately three months of adult hospice and palliative medicine (important for the certification examination) and seven months of pediatric palliative and hospice care.
- The adult medicine rotations include one month of general palliative care consultation in a very busy adult medical-surgical hospital and two months of adult hospice care, divided between in-patient hospice units and in-home hospice and palliative care service provision.
- The pediatric rotations include at least four months of in-patient focused palliative care consultation and one month of community-based pediatric home hospice and palliative care, with opportunities for electives, including fetal and neonatal palliative care consultation.
- Pediatric-track fellows participate with adult medicine fellow colleagues in longitudinal seminars in oncology-focused symptom assessment and management, a journal club, exploration of related literary works (fiction, poetry, essays), as well as other didactics. The pediatric palliative care team also conducts weekly self-education sessions rotating among didactic presentations, case discussions, journal club and reflection on care of patients who have died.
Participation in research is not a formal requirement in hospice and palliative medicine fellowships, particularly considering the short duration of the programs. Nevertheless, fellows must complete some scholarly project, often focusing on the development of a quality improvement program. In addition, division members have ongoing scholarly work related to many issues relevant to pediatric palliative and hospice care, especially regarding end-of-life decision-making and are developing division-specific clinical research projects. Fellows are encouraged to become involved in this work.
The clinical experience at Lurie Children’s Hospital and its affiliates encompasses the care of children on virtually all subspecialty services. About 40 percent of our patients have primary clinicians from oncology, hematology and stem cell transplantation. The care of these patients involves intensive symptom management as well as complex psychosocial and spiritual care needs. Additional patients include those with severe heart disease, including chronic heart failure, patients awaiting heart transplantation and newborns with complex congenital heart disease; children with neuromuscular disease, such as spinal muscular atrophy and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, children with leukodystrophies, other neurodegenerative processes and intractable seizure disorders; children with progressive lung disease, with intestinal failure and/or end-stage liver disease and children with incompletely controlled immunological/rheumatological conditions. We actively collaborate with colleagues in our pediatric intensive and neonatal intensive care units.
We aim to equip fellowship graduates with excellent medical/pharmacologic and psychosocial skills to manage complex symptoms and provide sensitive and appropriate counseling and support for difficult decisions.
Requirements & Eligibility
Applicants must have or plan to have completed an accredited pediatric residency program prior to the start of the fellowship. Applicants may also have completed other subspecialty training in pediatrics. Applicants must be board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics (APB) or eligible to sit for the ABP’s certifying examination in general pediatrics or a pediatric subspecialty. We encourage interested individuals with additional pediatric subspecialty training to consider applying. International medical graduates are welcome to apply but must meet specific criteria, including a valid ECFMG certificate and documentation of U.S. citizenship or a valid green card or visa as per the requirements set forth by Northwestern McGaw Medical Center.
Applicants may begin submitting applications through the online Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) in the summer of the year prior to the anticipated fellowship start date. Please note that applicants must direct their materials to the Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship at Northwestern’s McGaw Medical Center select the separate pediatrics track that pertains to our program. Please contact us directly with any questions about the pediatrics track.
The application requirements are spelled out in ERAS and include:
- Online application
- Current curriculum vitae
- Personal statement
- Recent photograph
- Copies of USMLE or COMLEX scores
- Medical school transcript
- Three letters of recommendation, including one from the residency program director and preferably one from a member of the Division of Cardiology at the applicant’s residency training program
Due to need to review all applications and select individuals for interviews, individuals should submit their completed applications as early as possible. Interviews start in September and continue until October or early November.
Elisha Waldman, MD
Division Head; Fellowship Program Co-Director, Pediatrics Track Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship
Joel Frader, MD, MA
Fellowship Program Co-Director, Pediatrics Track Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship
Further program details, including the housestaff manual and a sample training contract, are available on the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University site.
Diversity & Inclusion
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine seeks to attract inquisitive, motivated fellows and is committed to providing them with every opportunity for success. We encourage a diverse and inclusive work environment that allows each trainee to achieve their personal goals.
For more information on Northwestern’s commitment to diversity, please see the Northwestern McGaw Underrepresented Residents & Fellows Forum and Feinberg School of Medicine Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Graduate Research Resources
We offer a wide range of resources, mentorship opportunities and training to help our fellows excel as physician-scientists. Explore all of the resources and hear from housestaff who are making research a major part of their career development plans.VISIT THE HOUSESTAFF RESEARCH PORTAL