Program Overview

Program Overview

Since its inception in 1989 as the first US-based physician Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship, Cleveland Clinic’s Hospice and Palliative Medicine Program has trained clinically excellent physicians, physician educators and physician scientists.

At Cleveland Clinic, we believe that patient care requires both excellent medical management and human connection. In our fellowship, we foster an environment of collaboration and collegiality, creating a culture that promotes your education and facilitates engaged career development. Ultimately, we desire a diverse class of fellows with varied interests and career goals who work together to provide the best possible care to patients.

Our fellows graduate with:

  • Expert training in symptom management
  • Mastery of family meetings 
  • Exposure to a broad spectrum of clinical disease and an understanding of where palliative care fits for each disease
  • A unique experience tailored to their interests and desired career

Diversity Statement

At Cleveland Clinic, we are striving to build a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion. We believe representation matters and creating an inclusive organizational culture is a high priority. Diversity and inclusivity play key roles at Cleveland Clinic because they improve the care we provide for our patients. Cultural humility enables us to better serve and understand our increasingly diverse patients and colleagues. Our programs integrate DEI skill development to increase knowledge, improve employee-to-employee communication and impact patient care in meaningful ways.

Learn more about our diversity and inclusion efforts:

Diversity & Inclusion

Discover the role diversity and inclusion plays at Cleveland Clinic and at its Graduate Medical Education program, as well as our diversity and inclusion efforts.

Learn more
Clinical Training & Didactics

Clinical Training & Didactics

In our fellowship program, we take the balance between service and education very seriously. Since you are with us for only one year, your clinical experiences play a key role in becoming the competent HPM physician you want to be.

Clinical Curriculum

  • 1 week of palliative medicine bootcamp in July
  • 20 weeks of inpatient palliative care consult services
    • 4 weeks embedded with the Solid Tumor Oncology (STO) team
    • 6 weeks on the ICU palliative service (MICU, SICU, CICU, NICU)
    • 6 weeks on the general palliative consult service
    • 4 weeks on the regional hospital palliative consult service
  • 2 weeks of outpatient Palliative Care Clinic + 1 full day/week on other rotations (for a total of roughly 10 weeks in clinic)
  • 6 weeks of home hospice and home palliative care
  • 6 weeks of inpatient hospice
  • 2 weeks of long-term care at the VA
  • 2 weeks of long-term care at a Long-Term Acute Care Hospital (LTACH)
  • 2 weeks of inpatient pediatric palliative care
  • 2 weeks of psycho-oncology
  • 9 weeks of elective time
    • 4 weeks of electives
    • 5 weeks of selective time
      • Repeating any of the core rotations
      • Bone marrow transplant or Leukemia embedded services
      • Separate regional hospital experience
  • 15 days of vacation and 5 personal days (20 days of PTO)

Popular electives include:

  • Bioethics
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Addiction Medicine
  • Chronic pain
  • Acute pain
  • Research
  • Medical education 
  • Business/Operations
  • Additional time on any of the primary services above
  • Create your own
 Clinical Rotation  Total Time
 General Palliative Consults  Six Weeks
 ICU Palliative Consults  Six Weeks
 Solid Tumor Oncology Consults  Four Weeks
 Hillcrest (Regional) Hospital Consults  Four Weeks
 Home Hospice  Six Weeks
 Inpatient Hospice  Six Weeks
 Outpatient Clinic Block  Two Weeks
 Long Term Care - LTACH  Two Weeks
 Long Term Care - VA Hospital  Two Weeks
 Pediatrics  Two Weeks
 Psycho-Oncology  Two Weeks
 Electives/Selectives  Nine Weeks

Didactics and Beyond

Lectures serve to complement and enhance the learning that occurs on clinical services. This starts during orientation with our palliative care “bootcamp” and then continues with our monthly academic days. Academic days alternate between day-long communication skills retreats and lecture-based didactics on advanced palliative medicine topics.


The year begins with a week of didactics prior to any clinical work, giving you a chance to develop a foundation for your clinical rotations and meet many of the attendings you’ll be working with.  Bootcamp lectures cover the basics of communication, pain management, nausea, constipation, and other symptoms as well as practical matters such as overviews of the major rotations, documentation guidelines, EMR use, etc. We’ll have you feeling comfortable and prepared for patient care by the time you start seeing patients.

Communication Skills Training

Communication training consists of day-long retreats where fellows and faculty will learn, discuss and practice communication skills. The 7 retreats are spaced evenly throughout the year and designed to build over time to cover more and more advanced skills. Faculty keep the learning both enjoyable and impactful by employing a variety of techniques and drills from medical improv and sociodrama, as well as from Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication courses. Dr. Neuendorf brings her experience leading the Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication, where she has taught communication skills to thousands of physicians across the country and the world.

Topics include:

  • Foundational Skills
    • Empathic statements
    • Reflective listening
    • Exploring the patient’s perspective 
    • Sharing information collaboratively
  • Framework for family meetings
  • Giving bad news
  • Discussing uncertainty
  • Sharing prognosis
  • Code status discussions
  • Communication Challenges – How to respond to:
    • Patients focused on a miracle
    • Patients using the “fight” metaphor
    • Patients coping through denial
    • Medical Mistrust
    • Patients who experience racism or other forms of discrimination

Lecture Based Didactics

Lectures are taught by faculty in palliative medicine as well as related fields including psychiatry, ethics, geriatrics and interventional pain management. Lectures given throughout the year will include the essentials to be a competent specialist and will include advanced topics such as buprenorphine, ketamine, donation after cardiac death, pain management in substance use disorder as well as topics on education and leadership.

For an example, you can watch Dr. Neale give a talk on Ketamine.

Other Educational Series

In addition to lectures during the academic half-days, fellows will be able to participate in the following conferences:

  • Journal club
  • Palliative Medicine Grand rounds 
  • Case conferences
  • Psychosocial rounds
  • Narrative Medicine
  • M&M conferences
  • Interdisciplinary team meetings
  • Psychosocial tumor board
  • Opioid Management Review Committee
  • Ask the Expert conference
Hospital & Rotation Locations

Hospital & Rotation Locations


Most training will take place at Cleveland Clinic’s Main Campus. Fellows also will train at Hillcrest Hospital, a community-based hospital, and the VA. Fellows can choose to rotate with our palliative team at Fairview Hospital as well.

Cleveland Clinic Main Campus

Cleveland Clinic Main Campus

  • Over 100 specialties are represented.
  • 44 buildings, over 85 operating rooms, more than 1,400 beds and more than 200 ICU beds.
  • To learn more about our facilities, visit our GME page for a virtual tour and overview of the resources and amenities available.

Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center

Taussig Cancer Center

Taussig Cancer Center is located on Main Campus and is our department’s home, including outpatient palliative medicine clinic space, and office space for our fellows and staff.

Take a virtual tour of the Cancer Center.

Hillcrest Hospital

Hillcrest Hospital

  • Hillcrest Hospital is a busy community hospital with 500 beds on Cleveland’s east side.
  • Hillcrest Hospital features a level II trauma center and 48 ICU beds.

Fairview Hospital

Fairview Hospital

  • Fairview Hospital is a busy 488 bed community teaching hospital on Cleveland’s west side overlooking the city's Metroparks.
  • Features a level I trauma center and 52 ICU beds.

Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center

Heroes Harbor is a 12 bed inpatient hospice unit located in the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.



Current Fellows

Class of 2022 - 2023

Alex Chu

Alex Chu, MD
Hometown: Portland, OR
Medical School: Oregon Health & Science University
Residency: New York Presbyterian-Queens – Emergency Medicine
Hobbies: Cooking, baking, crochet
Why did you choose Cleveland Clinic?
I chose Cleveland Clinic because it is a large academic institution where I can see interesting, complex cases.

Jenifer Jett

Jennifer Jett, MD
Hometown: Shawnee, OK
Medical School: University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Residency: Christiana Care – Family Medicine
Hobbies: Writing music, traveling, soccer
Why did you choose Cleveland Clinic?
During my interview day, Dr. Neuendorf arranged for me to have an additional meeting with a provider who practices a specific medical area of interest I have that is outside of HPM. I wanted to come to a program that both gave me the opportunity to see HPM at its highest acuity with patients from all over the world, as well as be with a program that values me as an individual and supports me in seeking out those opportunities for growth.

Lauren Messick

Lauren Messick, DO
Hometown: Moorestown, NJ
Medical School: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Residency: Allegheny General Hospital – Internal Medicine
Hobbies: Peloton, playing with my cats, cooking
Why did you choose Cleveland Clinic?
I chose CCF for the opportunity to work with world class palliative medicine physicians and patients with significant medical complexity.

 Sarah Persaud

Sarah Persaud, MD
Hometown: Westlake, OH
Medical School: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Residency: Indiana University – Emergency Medicine
Hobbies: Hiking, boxing, swimming, trying new restaurants
Why did you choose Cleveland Clinic?
I wanted the best clinical training I could receive. The acuity and diversity at the Cleveland Clinic provide me with that opportunity. Additionally, the staff are all incredibly supportive and have been wonderful educators.

Post Fellowship

Fellows from the past 10 years have left our program and are influencing the world of medicine in many different ways.

Job settings for fellows following their completion of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship.
Our Staff

Our Staff

Katie Neuendorf, MD, FAAHPM
Program Director 2023-2024

2024 Winner of AAHPM’s Award for Excellence in Education and Training
Clinical Practice: Inpatient Palliative consults
Areas of Interest: Communication, Education, Leadership
Something to know about Katie: I consider myself a dynamic human being and incredibly boring, all at the same time. I have a dry, sarcastic sense of humor and I am in constant pursuit of deep thoughts - which can include all things Brene Brown and podcasts like We Can Do Hard Things

David Harris, MD
Program Director 2024

Clinical Practice: Inpatient Palliative consults
Areas of Interest: Communication training, DEI
Something to know about Dave: I love to try new restaurants and keep a list of good places to eat for every city that I’ve been to. I like reading about psychology, decision-making or poetry

Haley Vest, DO
APD for Growth

Clinical Practice: Inpatient Palliative Medicine Consults
Areas of Interest: Medical education, communications training
Something to know about Haley: I love my work! I am passionate about finding ways to navigate medicine and parenting in a sustainable way. I find joy in spending time with family, savoring a good cup of coffee, and reading fiction.

Brandon Walters, MD
APD Evidence Based Learning and Resources

Clinical Practice: Outpatient Palliative Care, Hospice
Areas of Interest: Operations, Value based care
Something to know about Brandon: My first name is John but I go by my middle name Brandon

Liz Weinstein, MD, MEd
APD Faculty Development

Clinical Practice: Outpatient Palliative Care
Areas of Interest: Communication skills teaching, Value based care, Clinical program development
Something to know about Liz: I grew up in Cleveland and came back after 18 years away to raise my kids here.

Cory Chevalier, MD
Director of Hospice and Palliative Care at VA of Northeast Ohio

Clinical Practice: I run the inpatient VA Hospice unit
Areas of Interest: I am deeply passionate about education, particularly in the field of Hospice and Palliative Care. My goal is to foster growth in this area by imparting knowledge to learners at all stages - from medical students and residents to fellows. I also aim to extend this educational reach even further, encompassing the entire interdisciplinary team and beyond.
Something to know about Cory: I always want to continue growing in every aspect of my life.

Sarah Persaud, MD
VA Faculty

Clinical Practice: I work in the inpatient hospice unit at the VA (Heroes Harbor) and see inpatient palliative care consults.
Areas of Interest: I have always had an interest in medical education. My favorite aspect of this is teaching learners at the bedside, but I do enjoy other aspects of education, including curriculum development, as well.
Something to know about Sarah: I think wellness for both learners and physicians is very important. I will always try to create a safe learning environment for rotators, and value life outside of the hospital.

Laura Shoemaker, DO, MS, FAAHPM
Chair, Department of Palliative and Supportive Care, The Lois U. and Harry R. Horvitz Endowed Chair in Palliative Medicine

Clinical Practice: Outpatient Palliative Medicine
Areas of Interest: Leadership, Program Development, Coaching, Narrative Medicine
Something to know about Laura: In my free time I love to play tennis and cuddle my 2 beagles, Bosco and Lucy

Rotation Leads

Hospice Inpatient
Dr. Laura Hoeksema

Home/Field Hospice 1
Dr. Brandon Walters

General Consults
Dr. Katie Neuendorf

STO Consults
Dr. David Harris

Hillcrest Consults
Dr. Kathryn Richards

Outpatient Clinic
Dr. Renato Samala

Long Term Care (VA Hospital)
Dr. Cory Chevalier

Long Term Care (LTACH)
Dr. Jafar Abunasser

Dr. Kristin Carter

Fairview Consults
Dr. Katherine Eilenfeld

BMT Consults
Dr. Susan McInnes



Comprehensive Health Plan: Graduate Medical Education at Cleveland Clinic offers a comprehensive and competitive benefits program that recognizes the needs of a diverse workforce, as well as providing individuals and families with meaningful benefit choices.

  • Dental Insurance.
  • Vision Plan.
  • Prescription Drug Benefit.

Retirement Programs: 403(b) Savings and Investment Plan (SIP)

  • Funded with Pre-Tax, Roth, and/or After-Tax contributions.
  • Fidelity Investments financial support by representatives at no cost.

Voluntary Benefits:

  • MetLife Auto/Home/Pet Insurance.
  • MetLaw Group Legal Plan.
  • Global CARE Program.

Flexible Spending Accounts:

  • Healthcare FSA.
  • Dependent Care FSA.

Additional Insurance Coverage:

  • Group Long Term Disability.
  • Supplemental Individual Disability.
  • Life Insurance.
  • Professional Liability Insurance.

Paid Time Off (PTO):

  • 20 vacation days.
  • 3 separate days for post-fellowship job interviews.
  • Sick days.

Travel Benefit: Cleveland Clinic strongly encourages trainees to participate in scholarly/research activities. Eligibility will be determined by the Program Director. Please refer to the Graduate Physician's Manual for further details.

  • One Education Institute sponsored trip per academic year if presenting as a first-author with an accepted abstract (Maximum reimbursement of $2,500 per academic year).
  • Funds are available for fellows in the accredited program to attend academic meetings for the purpose of presenting or engaging in leadership roles within national societies.

Maternity and Parental Leave:

  • 100% pay for up to 8 weeks of maternity leave for mothers following childbirth.
  • 100% pay for up to 4 weeks of parental leave for both parents following the birth or adoption of a child.

Board Exam Preparation: American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine’s HPM Pass 4th Edition subscription.

  • Mock exam scheduled during the second half of the year to simulate the board certification exam.
  • Includes 80 peer-reviewed questions, covering 11 content modules identified in the current ABIM Hospice & Palliative Medicine Certification exam blueprint.

GME Annual Education Allowance:

  • Cleveland Clinic aims to be the best place to train and the best place to work in healthcare. An important step toward that shared goal is the new annual educational allowance for clinical trainees, effective Jan. 1, 2024.
  • The GME Office will provide each clinical trainee an educational fund of $1,000 for material to enhance their learning. The fund will be available annually starting on the day the trainee was first appointed and through the end of the trainee’s academic year.

iPhone: Clinical trainees will receive Cleveland Clinic issued iPhones during orientation.

Benefit Highlights: Find out what benefits you receive as a Cleveland Clinic trainee.

Finance Highlights: Get key information such as salary to help you manage your finances.

Support Programs

Support Programs

Available Services & Support Programs

House Staff Association: Peer-elected representative body of Cleveland Clinic physician trainees (house staff), which includes residents and fellows.

  • Advocate for and promote the well-being, interests, and education of Cleveland Clinic house staff.
  • Provide input on policy to improve patient care and the work environment.
  • Sponsors activities for house staff such as educational seminars, volunteer events, an annual art contest, painting with the DIO, QPS opportunities, outing to sporting events, fine arts exhibits and concerts.

Well-Being Resources

  • TT4 Gym: Access to exercise facilities that are reserved exclusively for residents and fellows.
    • Gain access to facilities available to all CCF employees, as well as free fitness resources and mobile apps.
  • Walker Fitness Center
  • Office of Caregiver Experience: Offers resources for emotional, physical, spiritual and social well-being.
    • Childcare resources

Well-Being Programs

  • Emerge Stronger: Emerge Stronger is a confidential, one-on-one peer support program for any Cleveland Clinic caregiver distressed by an unanticipated clinical event, adverse event or medical/healthcare error. Support is provided by a peer in your field. This hospital-wide program was started by Dr. Hoeksema, one of our hospice physicians.
  • Relaxation Program: Podcasts from Cleveland Clinic doctors on proper behaviors and techniques for relaxation.
  • Stress Free Now: Six-week online program designed to decrease stress, build resilience and increase energy.
  • Burnout Prevention Module: Helps to create a holistic, supportive culture of wellness and prevent trainee burnout.
  • Wellness Connection: A 30-minute presentation delivered by a wellness industry professional on the third Wednesday of each month.
  • Employee Wellness Monthly Newsletter: Events, raffles, and incentive programs.
  • Healthy Choice Program: A voluntary discount program that offers employees an opportunity to receive discounted rates on their health plan through achieving well-being and health goals.
  • Caring for Caregivers: A group of therapists that provide therapy exclusively to Cleveland Clinic caregivers either in person on main campus, or virtually.


Cleveland Clinic Hospice and Palliative Medicine Program

We appreciate your interest in applying to our Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program. As the first established Hospice and Palliative Medicine program in the United States, we pride ourselves on fostering an inclusive environment that encourages continuous improvement initiatives and emphasizes patient-centered care.  After completion of the fellowship program, our graduates feel confident that they can provide the best quality of life and clinical care for patients who are often feeling at their worst.

Application Process

All required clinical education for entry into ACGME-accredited fellowship programs must be completed in an ACGME-accredited residency program, or in an RCPSC-accredited or CFPC-accredited residency program located in Canada. Prior to appointment in the program, fellows must have completed an ACGME- or RCPSC-accredited program in child neurology, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, or neurology; or at least three clinical years in an ACGME- or RCPSC-accredited graduate educational program in one of the following specialties: anesthesiology, emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, radiation oncology, radiology, or surgery. 

The application process for fellowship is conducted through ERAS®. Please visit the ERAS® website for more information about the application process and up-to-date deadlines for the current application cycle. The following is a list of required ERAS® application materials:

  • Personal Statement(s).
  • Letters of Recommendation (Upload to ERAS® Letter of Recommendation Portal).
  • Medical Student Performance Evaluation (Deans Letter).
  • Medical School Transcript.
  • ECFMG Status Report (International Medical Graduates Only).
  • Photograph.
  • USMLE and COMLEX Transcripts.

Advice on your application

We want to get to know you! The newer ERAS application doesn’t have a clear place for you to share hobbies, passions, quirks, etc. We encourage you to add this to your application in any place that seems appropriate. In the past, applicants entered this as an "experience".

What we look for

We believe that if we set clear expectations for our learners, they will rise to the occasion. In that spirit, we are sharing what we look for on your CV and personal statement below.


  • Experience working in any sort of job before residency
  • Involvement in non-clinical activities, particularly involvement as a leader, or longitudinal involvement
  • Nominated awards, especially peer nominated awards
  • Involvement in research

Personal Statement:

  • Experiences that show adaptability, grit or resilience
  • Personal, compelling writing
  • Experiences that show depth of character, wisdom or that make us want to meet you

Interview Process

We are a strong advocate of maintaining equitable access for all fellowship candidates regardless of geographical location and resources. Therefore, we offer a robust virtual interview process that maximizes program exposure through an emphasis on interactive discussion, while also minimizing associated costs and travel time for applicants.

The interview process for our program can be expected to include the following:

  • Virtual Interface: Thalamus
  • Interview Length: Interview day runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST for morning interviews, and from 12 - 5 p.m. EST for afternoon interviews.
  • Interview Agenda: Each candidate will receive a personalized agenda from the Program Coordinator prior to the interview day. This will include a detailed schedule for your interview as well as provide you with informational resources about our Fellowship Program and the Cleveland Clinic as an organization.
  • Program Overview: The interview day will begin with a designated time for you and other applicants to receive a brief overview of the Fellowship provided by the Program Director. (Approximately 35 minutes)
  • Current Fellow Q&A: Following the overview, candidates will have the chance to interact with fellows from the current program separately to hear about their perspective and ask them questions. (Approximately 15 minutes)
  • Teaching/Conference: Next, candidates will be provided with a short teaching conference by the Program Director so you are able to experience what a lecture might look like during a didactics session. (Approximately 30 minutes)
  • Break: Prior to the interview sessions, candidates will have a short break. (Approximately 10 minutes)
  • Interviews: The candidate will meet with the program director and 3-4 other members of our team. Each interview will last approximately 30 minutes, with a 10-minute break between each session. (Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes total)

Candidate Selection

We are a participant of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Main Match and therefore, do not fill any positions outside of the Match. Applications will be accepted during the month of July each year for positions to begin July 1 of the next academic year. Please refer to the NRMP Website for more information regarding deadlines for the current application cycle.

Contact Us

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact our Fellowship Program Coordinator regarding inquiries into our program. We are dedicated toward making the fellowship application process as seamless as possible and look forward to interacting with you in the future.

Jon Courtade
Fellowship Program Coordinator
Phone: 216.445.5447
Location: Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute
9500 Euclid Ave., CA6