Surgical Oncology Fellowship

The Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital/Dana-Faber Cancer Institute’s Surgical Oncology Fellowship seeks to prepare a trainee for a career devoted to the study of patients with benign and malignant tumors.

  • Phone: 617-726-8290

It is clear that the best cancer care is provided by a team of specialists—including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, nurses, psychologists and many other dedicated professionals. Advances in cancer care can only be made when clinicians are knowledgeable in all aspects of multidisciplinary care as well as in the fields of tumor biology and innovative treatment development. These three world-renowned institutions, Brighan and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Instituite, host more than 1700 licensed inpatient beds. These three institutions have long been among the nation’s top educational sources for academic medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and pathologists. With the initiation of the Fineberg Fellowship in Surgical Oncology in 2002, it is now possible for our institutions together to provide formal oncology training for surgeons. The need for this is great. Not only are surgeons the primary treatment providers for most cancers, their involvement in research is desperately needed to achieve the goal of more effective therapies.

The Surgical Oncology Fellowship is designed to meet this need. The aim of this fellowship is to train oncologic surgeons who are national leaders in cancer treatment and research. These surgeons must be familiar with all tools currently available to combat this disease, as well as all relevant investigational therapies. They must know how to design and conduct new treatment studies. They must understand the critically important role of patient and family support during all phases of the treatment process. In addition, they must know how cancer research is conducted, and how to facilitate the transfer of new discoveries in the laboratories into clinical practice. Finally, the academic cancer surgeon must develop an understanding of the social and economic aspects of cancer treatment in an environment that emphasizes the highest levels of compassion and ethics.

Eligibility requirements

1. Successful completion of a general surgery residency at an approved U.S. or Canadian program

2. U.S. or Canadian nationality or permanent residence

The Surgical Oncology Fellowship combines the educational and clinical environments of the three institutions. One fellow is selected per year. The fellowship program includes up to 18 months of clinical oncology training, during which time the fellow will work directly with academic oncologists from all treatment specialties who are also leaders in a number of cancer cooperative groups and specialty societies. The first year of the fellowship is generally devoted to the required clinical rotations, with six of these months spent at the Brigham's and Dana-Farber campus and six months spent at Mass General. Fellows develop an understanding of the multidisciplinary management of gastrointestinal, colorectal, hepatobiliary, pancreatic, breast, endocrine, soft tissue sarcoma, and cutaneous malignancies by spending four to eight weeks in each of these disciplines during their first year. During the second year, the fellow may take up to six months of elective rotations at either or both campuses. Dedicated time is given to the study of medical oncology, radiation oncology and surgical pathology, generally in the area of the fellow’s academic interest. Fellows may elect to rotate on the thoracic, head and neck, gynecologic, urologic or orthopedic oncology surgical services as well as on rehabilitation medicine and pain and palliative care services. Due to the flexibility of the program, each fellow’s experience may be tailored to his or her interests.

The research portion of the fellowship program occupies the remaining six months of training during the second year. During this time, fellows are paired with one or more mentors in their field of interest. Research possibilities span a broad range of topics, including basic cancer research under the direction of a research scientist at Harvard Medical School, health outcomes research in association with the Harvard School of Public Health, or clinical translational research within the clinical divisions of DF/PCC. Each fellow is expected to submit at least one abstract per year to a national meeting.

After completion of the Fellowship in Surgical Oncology, graduates will be well-equipped to pursue academic careers.

Applications must include:

1.      Society of Surgical Oncology application form.  This document can be downloaded from the Society of Surgical Oncology.

2.      Curriculum vitae

3.      Personal statement – a brief description of the applicant’s educational and professional goals

4.      Letters of reference from three individuals familiar with the applicant’s clinical and academic work

Applications for the following academic year (which begins in July) must be received by July 1.  Interviews are conducted during the summer preceding the deadline for the SSO matching program.

Kolleen Taylor

Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-726-8290
Email: kmtaylor1@partners.org

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