In response to the growing need for well-trained clinician-educators in palliative care and for establishing standards of clinical excellence in this field, the Division of Palliative Care & Geriatric Medicine created a one-year fellowship program in 1998.  The program was supported by the National Cancer Institute in 2000, and evolved into a joint program with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute / Brigham and Women's Hospital fellowship program. 

In 2007, this joint program became the Harvard Palliative Medicine Fellowship, devoted to training leaders in academic Palliative Medicine. The one-year program for 9 Fellows offers a diverse clinical experience through rotations at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), and Hospice of the North Shore and Greater Boston. The program is fully accredited by the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the Accreditation Council For Graduate Medical Education. The fellowship curriculum and related material can be found by visiting our website.

In addition to the fellowship rotations, the division began offering internships for nursing and social service students, and a Nurse Practitioner Fellowship in July 2012. 

The one-year, full-time advanced practice nursing fellowship provides interdisciplinary training in palliative care at one of the oldest and most established academic palliative care services.  The NP Fellow trains with Harvard faculty and Harvard Palliative Medicine Fellows and works alongside a dedicated staff experienced in mentoring and training future leaders in the field of palliative care.

Weekly Grand Rounds presentations run from September through June and are open to the healthcare community and are video conferenced to the DFCI.


Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have completed an ACGME-accredited residency program or an RCPSC-accredited or CFPC-accredited residency program located in Canada.
  • Applicants for the adult fellowship must be board certified in Internal Medicine or Family Medicine or board eligible with demonstration of active pursuit of certification.
  • Applicants for the pediatric fellowship must be board certified in Pediatrics or board eligible with demonstration of active pursuit of certification.
  • Applicants from residency programs other than Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, or Pediatrics need to have completed an intern year in Internal Medicine and admission will be at the discretion of the fellowship director.


The fellowship offers a well-developed curriculum taught by faculty from many disciplines. The year begins with intensive summer lectures that focus on the fundamentals of palliative care and includes weekly half-day sessions on the following topics: approach to palliative care consultation, care of the imminently dying patient, talking about resuscitation status, working with an interdisciplinary team, and symptom management. Beginning in September, fellows meet monthly for a half-day session. These half-days include a faculty case conference, a fellow teaching session, participation in a Balint group where applicable, and a communication session.

Fellows are offered mentorship for their teaching session, which is an opportunity for fellows to develop curricular material and receive feedback on their teaching. The communication curriculum has been developed and refined over the past eight years and emphasizes a cognitive approach to communication taught with demonstrations and interactive role play. In addition to the fellowship curriculum, the program also offers year-long educational opportunities such as weekly palliative care grand rounds, as well as site specific sessions such as pain rounds and psycho-oncology grand rounds.

For additional curricular information please visit our website

How to Apply

Applications are accepted through the Electronic Residency Application Services (ERAS)

The Harvard Palliative Care Fellowship Program participates in the National Resident Match Program (NRMP) Specialties Matching Service (SMS).

Application Requirements

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • A personal statement describing the applicant's interest in and commitment to an academic career in palliative care.
  • Three letters of recommendation, one of which should be from the applicant's department head, program director, or division chief.
  • USMLE Transcript


Applications are accepted via ERAS beginning July 15th

ERAS Opens July 15
Match Opens August
Rank List Opens Late September/Early October
Rank List Deadline Mid November
Match Day Early December


Contact Us

Palliative Care Fellowship Program

MGH - Founders 600

55 Fruit Street Boston, MA 02114
  • Near Public Transit
  • Accessible
  • Phone: 617-724-9509
  • Fax: 617-724-0390
  • Email Us

Address inquiries about the Fellowship Program to:
Kathleen Doyle, MD, Director of the Palliative Care Fellowship
c/o Jim Fitzgerald, Program Manager
Division of Palliative Care & Geriatric Medicine
55 Fruit St., Founders 600
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-724-9509
Fax: 617-724-0390
E-mail: jffitzgerald@partners.org

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