About the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program
Welcome to the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship training program website. The Division of Hematology-Oncology and Palliative Care at the VCU School of Medicine offers a one-year fellowship trainingprogram in hospice and palliative medicine (HPM). Our fellowship program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
The HPM fellows will receive comprehensive training through direct patient care in a variety of settings in the VCU Health System (VCUHS) and Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center. These opportunities include an up-stream inpatient palliative care unit at VCU, a well-established inpatient hospice at the VA, robust inpatient consultation services at both hospitals, and ample ambulatory opportunities in the VCU supportive care clinics. The VCU Medical Center is a large 1,125-bed tertiary referral center with a full complement of outpatient clinics, and the McGuire VA Medical Center is a 399-bed tertiary VA hospital that provides comprehensive outpatient, acute inpatient, and long-term care for veterans. In addition to the opportunities provided at VCU and the VA, HPM fellows will engage in rich community hospice experiences with local hospices.
During their training, fellows are required to participate in scholarly activity and will be provided with mentorship, resources and protected time for these endeavors. Fellows are also directly involved in education of medical students and residents from internal medicine and anesthesia, as well as fellows from hematology/oncology and geriatrics.
Program Goals & Objectives
The Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellow will:
- Participate as an effective, active interdisciplinary member in the planning for care of a wide variety of children and adults of all ages with need for symptom management, coordination of care, assistance with clarification of goals of care, and decision making at the end of life.
- Become knowledgeable in the psychosocial issues related to care of patients with terminal illnesses, including advance directives, resuscitation status, and other decisions at the end of life.
- Learn and practice communication skills that demonstrate empathy and result in effective information exchange and collaboration with patients, their families, and other health care professionals.
- Demonstrate extensive knowledge of pain and symptom assessment and management, including the concept of total pain.
- Learn to recognize chemical coping and substance abuse and adjust treatment plan accordingly
- Acquire the advanced skills necessary to provide symptom relief, including palliative sedation, complex opioid management, and management of delirium and agitation.
- Promote scholarship through didactic and practical curricula as well as presentation of seminars, journal club and case discussions.
- Pursue and participate in scholarly activities through development and implementation of research projects, with goal of publication and presentation.
- Demonstrate socioeconomic awareness, sound ethical practice and professionalism in all patient care.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the palliative care continuum including outpatient resources, acute inpatient care, home and inpatient hospice, and long term care facilities in caring for patients with life-limiting illnesses, in order to ensure smooth transitions across settings.
- Demonstrate awareness of one’s own response to death and dying and care of patients who are acutely ill and dying. Demonstrate awareness of bereavement issues and understanding of normal and pathologic grief.
- Demonstrate awareness of importance of family and bereavement, and how to provide comfort and assistance through utilization of communication skills and pastoral care.
- Become an independent practitioner in the practice of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
- Demonstrate appreciation for and commitment to self-evaluation and lifelong learning through ongoing scholarship and study.
- Demonstrate a patient/family centered approach to care, taking special consideration to clinical situation, prognosis, and patient/family preferences and goals of care.
- Recognize signs and symptoms of impending death and provide appropriate symptom management for the patient and prepare family members and caregivers for the patient’s death.
- Analyze and apply evidence-based medicine to the practice of palliative care.
- Foster leadership in the field of palliative medicine and serve as teachers and role models for trainees.
|VCU Inpatient||VCUHS||13 Weeks|
|VCU Consults||VCUHS||13 Weeks|
|VA Inpatient/Consults||VAMC||13 Weeks|
|Home Hospice||Variable||2 Weeks|
|Pediatric Palliative||Variable||1 Week|
|* Rotations consist of alternating 2-week intervals
** Electives include scheduled rotations in areas of interests and potential time for research.
Fellows rotate across 4 settings: VCU inpatient palliative care unit, VCU consultation service, VA inpatient hospice and consultation service, and Elective.
- The VCU inpatient palliative care service cares for up to 12 patients at a time and is centered on the Thomas Palliative Care Unit with an active and dedicated interdisciplinary team, palliative-trained nurses, and a well-established volunteer program all focused on providing the best care possible to patients with life-limiting illness and their loved ones. In addition to caring for patients at the end-of-life or those transitioning to hospice care, the VCU inpatient palliative care service uniquely also cares for oncology patients earlier in their disease process while they may still be receiving disease-directed therapy and planning to return to the outpatient setting for further care.
- The inpatient hospice at the VA, known as Journey’s Way, is a 9-bed unit with a dedicated interdisciplinary team located in the long-term care portion of our VA medical center. This unit provides end-of-life care as well as respite care for veterans and their caregivers.
- Consultation services are hospital-wide in both locations and focus on symptom management and goals of care, as well as identifying patients appropriate for transfer to the inpatient palliative care or hospice unit at VCU and the VA, respectively.
- The Elective rotation is an opportunity for scholarly activity, community hospice experiences, and scheduled electives. HPM Fellows will schedule electives in a variety of settings that can be tailored to each fellow’s specific interests. These settings include medical oncology, radiation oncology, cardiology, hepatology, pulmonology, neuromuscular disorders, interventional pain, ethics, pastoral care, and advanced care planning.
Fellows work closely with 3 local hospices for their community hospice experience: Hospice of Virginia, New Century Hospice, and Noah’s Children. Fellows will attend the interdisciplinary conferences and round on home, nursing home, and inpatient hospice patients directly with the hospice nurses and physicians. Special attention is paid to continuity of care, and fellows will be able to provide direct care for those patients whom the fellow is listed as one of the hospice physicians.
Fellows are required to participate in both a scholarly and quality improvement project in the areas of their choice, with attentive mentoring by palliative care faculty. They are provided with administrative support and protected time for these projects. For fellows interested in a more in-depth research experience, we offer enrollment in the Department of Internal Medicine’s 10-week research intensive series to educate fellows on the research process and formally guide them in the development and implementation of their research projects.
Unique Learning Opportunities
- Communication Intensive
- AAHPM Annual Meeting
- M4 Debrief
|CORE FELLOWSHIP CONFERENCES|
|Orientation Intensives||3-5pm M-F during 1st week of fellowship||5 afternoons for 1 week in July|
|Practice-Based Learning and Improvement (PBLI)||Tuesdays 12-1pm||Weekly|
|Pre-Clinic Conference and Journal Club||Wednesdays 12-1pm||Weekly|
|Program Director and Fellow (PDF) Conference||Tuesdays 1-2pm||Quarterly|
|Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Care (HOP) Division Grand Rounds||Tuesdays 5-6pm||3 weeks / month starting in August|
|CORE DEPARTMENT CONFERENCE|
|Internal Medicine Grand Rounds||Thursdays 12-1pm||Weekly|
This educational conference is held in the afternoons during the first week of fellowship to prepare fellows for the upcoming year. The series is designed to introduce new fellows to the basic clinical concepts, as well as the urgent issues, that they will encounter in their fellowship.
Practice-Based Learning and Improvement (PBLI)
The interdisciplinary team gathers weekly for this didactic conference in which the fundamentals of palliative medicine are explored and relevant cases presented for in-depth evidence-based discussion.
Pre-Clinic Conference and Journal Club
This weekly conference focuses on outpatient palliative care issues in journal club format as well as interdisciplinary discussion of our Supportive Care Clinic patient panel.
Program Director and Fellow (PDF) Conference
This quarterly conference is designed specifically for the fellows and program director and provides an opportunity for feedback and discussion of topics relating to the HPM fellowship.
Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Care (HOP) Division Grand Rounds
The Division of Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Care host grand rounds 3 weeks out of each month as a didactic lecture series presented by visiting faculty, VCU faculty, and the fellows.
Internal Medicine Grand Rounds
Weekly department-wide didactics presented by department faculty and visiting professors.
New content coming soon!
Content coming soon!
- Erin Alesi, MD
- Egidio Del Fabbro, MD - Director of Palliative Care at VCU Massey Cancer Center
- Danielle Noreika, MD - Fellowship Program Director
- Meera Pahuja, MD
- Emily Rivet, MD
- Rachel Selby-Penczak, MD
- Ruchir Shah, MD - Medical Director, Hospice & Palliative Care at VAMC
- Stephanie Stephens, DO
- Jessica Tsukanov, DO
- Devon Wojcikewych, MD
- Hope Barner, BSN, RN - Supportive Care Clinical Nurse
- Donna Burns-Stewart, PhD - Volunteer Coordinator
- Barton Bobb, MSN - APN
- Jason Callahan - Chaplain
- Jessica Gray, RN, MSN - Nurse Manager
- Katie Guryansky - Social Worker, Inpatient Palliative Care
- Tamara Orr, PhD - Psychologist
- Laura Shanks, PhDc - Nurse Clinician
- Sue Stella, PT - Physical Therapist
Class of 2020
Medical School: University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Residency: Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, VA
Medical School: St. George’s University School of Medicine, West Indies, Grenada
Residency: Roger Williams Medical Center, Providence, RI
Medical School: Eastern Virginia Medical School of the Medical College of Hampton Roads, Norfolk, VA
Residency: Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Medical School: Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, VA
Residency: The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY
Class of 2019
Medical School: Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Residency: Stony Brook University Hospital, Stony Brook, NY
Gary DeRusso, MD
Medical School: Albany Medical College
Residency: Stony Brook Medicine, Stony Brook, NY
Medical School: West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
Residency: St. Vincent’s East, Birmingham, AL
Medical School: Tulane University School of Medicine
Residency: Virginia Commonwealth University Health Systems, Richmond, VA
Class of 2018
Elizabeth Brawner, MD
Medical School: University of Queensland School of Medicine
Residency: Family Medicine, Chippenham and Johnston –Willis Hospitals Program
Lindsey Hunt, MD
Medical School : Medical University of South Carolina
Residency: Family Medicine, McLeod Regional Medical Center Program
Mary Lucchesi Ogedegbe, MD
Medical School: St. George’s University School of Medicine
Srivani Ravi, MBBS
Medical School: Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences
Residency: Internal Medicine, St. Barnabas Hospital Program
Class of 2017
Katy Brennan, MD
Medical School: Emory University
Residency: Internal Medicine, University of North Carolina
Yeow Hooi Lim, MD
Medical School: American University of Antigua College of Medicine
Residency: Internal Medicine, Nassau University Medical Center Program
Vinay Rao, DO
Medical School: A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona
Residency: Internal Medicine, University of Connecticut
Stephanie Stephens, DO
Medical School: Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Residency: Internal Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University
Lakeshia Entzminer, MD
Medical School: Meharry Medical College School of Medicine
Residency: University of South Alabama, Internal Medicine
Fellowship: Geriatric Medicine at Palmetto Health/University of South Carolina
Kelly Lastrapes, MD
Medical School: Virginia Commonwealth University
Residency: Pediatrics, Louisiana State Unviersity
Fellowship: Pediatric Hematology/Oncolgoy, Virginia Commonwealth University
James O'Conner, MD
Medical School: Virginia Commonwealth University
Residency: Internal Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University
Emily Rivet, MD
Medical School: Washington University
Residency: General Surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital
Fellowship: Colon and Rectal Surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital
Jason Zeidan, MD
Medical School: St. Matthew's University School of Medicine
Residency: Family Medicine at Wayne State University
Alicia Bond, MD
Medical School: University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, AZ
Residency: Emergency Medicine at Maine Medical Center, Portland, ME
Teny Henry Gomez, MBBS
Medical School: Medical College Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Residency: Internal Medicine at John H Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, IL
Anson Pham, MD
Medical School - St. Christopher Iba M ar Diop College of Medicine, Luton, England
Residency: Internal Medicine at Carilion Clinic, Hopewell, VA
Fellowship: Geriatric Medicine at Carilion Clinic, Hopewell, VA
Cheryl Denick, MD, JD
Medical School: Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
Residency: Emergency Medicine at Christiana Care Health Services Program, Wilmington, DE
James Fletcher, MD
Medical School: Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA
Residency: Internal Medicine at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Portsmouth, VA
Aziza Kamani, MD
Medical School: St. Geroge’s University, St. George, Grenada
Residency: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Sherri Rauenzahn, MD
Medical School: Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Residency: West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, WV
Applicants for the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Training Program must be graduates of an ACGME-accredited residency program in one of the following specialties: Internal Medicine, Radiation Oncology, Psychiatry, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Emergency Medicine, Anesthesiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, General Surgery, Family Medicine and Neurology. Physicians from other specialties such as Radiology and Pathology may be considered on an individual basis.
How to Apply
The Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship training program at VCU is a participant in the NRMP Match. All applications will be accepted through Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and follow ERAS deadlines.
- Curriculum Vitae
- USMLE score reports
- Medical School transcripts
- A personal statement
- An evaluation from your program director
- 4 letters of recommendation
- A photograph
If applicable, please provide the following:
- A notarized copy of your ECFMG certificate
- A notarized copy of your Medical School Diploma (with translation if necessary)
- Front and back of permanent residency card or IAP-66
We will review applications from July 15 through August 31. Invitations to interview will likely be issued during and immediately after this time frame.
Interview dates for 2019 are:
- August 13, 20, 27
- September 10, 17, 24
- October 1, if needed
Interview days generally begin at 8 a.m. and end around 3 p.m. Throughout the day applicants can expect to observe inpatient rounds and pre-clinic conference, interview with faculty members from various disciplines, have lunch with the current fellows and take a scenic tour of Richmond to the VA McGuire Medical Center.
Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship
Department of Internal Medicine
Richmond, Virginia 23298-0230
Danielle Noreika, MD
Phone: (804) 828-9723
Amanda V. Johnson
VCU Department of Internal Medicine
Richmond, VA 23298-0509
Phone: (804) 828-9726