Introduction and Overview
The Clinical Fellowship in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center/ Weill Cornell Medical College was established nearly 50 years ago. It is the largest and one of the oldest Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry fellowship training programs in the country, with ACGME accreditation since subspecialty certification in this field was first introduced in 2005. Fellows rotate primarily at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, with inpatient consultations as well as outpatient clinics, with further general Consultation-Liaison experience during rotations each half of the year at New York Presbyterian Hospital/ Weill Cornell Medical College, one of the oldest and most prestigious hospitals in New York and in the country. Fellows have exposure to strong faculty at two renowned institutions, with significant training and clinical exposure both to oncology and non-oncology issues. Although the program is nearly unique in its focus on cancer as a model of illness, treating cancer patients necessarily exposes clinicians to a wide range of medical issues that are commonly either comorbid with cancer, or which arise in the setting of chemotherapy and other treatments. This in addition to rotations at New York Presbyterian Hospital, which is a large urban general hospital, have prepared our fellows well for leadership in both general and oncology-focused settings. Graduates have performed well in the job market, with most taking general Consultation-Liaison positions in academic settings, nearly half taking academic jobs related to Psycho-Oncology, and a minority entering private practice or non-academic clinical settings.
The program was first established in the 1970s by Doctor Jimmie Holland, who became the founder not only of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, but was the major influence in the modern development of the field of Psycho-Oncology. Originally understood as the psychiatric care of patients with a cancer diagnosis who otherwise were not mentally ill, the field of Psycho-Oncology has grown and become more professionalized over the decades, along with Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry itself. The areas of concern for Psycho-Oncology continue to include psychiatric care of cancer patients without previous psychiatric histories, but also now include psychiatric management or consultation for cancer patients who do have histories of major mental illnesses, management of such acute inpatient issues as delirium that are common in the cancer as well as general medicine settings, witnessing and assisting as patients face the end of life, and managing issues that arise in caregivers and family members. The department has a strong interest both in the technical aspects of managing medical complications, and in developing psychotherapeutic skills and approaches for distress related to medical illness and existential fear, and losses faced by patients near the end of life. The department has been a leader in research in delirium and is developing a program to investigate interventional psychiatric techniques for medical settings, while also maintaining an active research and training program in psychotherapies. Fellows participate in the department’s nationally-known structured communication training program for managing common challenging clinical scenarios, and also have formal training in Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy, a structured therapy based on the work of Viktor Frankl for patients facing death or serious illness.
The program is open to any applicants who will have completed an ACGME- or ACGME-I-accredited residency program in psychiatry by the start of the fellowship. Fellows must be eligible to apply for a New York state license. The program has usually taken six fellows each year. The accredited portion of the fellowship is one year, with an optional second year for fellows who wish to develop further clinical, administrative, and research interests.
With support for trainee visas, available housing, and competitive trainee compensation, the program welcomes eligible applicants from all backgrounds and regions. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences are committed to equal opportunity, and women and members of minority groups are encouraged to apply.
MSK’s CL Psychiatry Fellowship ACGME Program Number is 4093531020. The application consists primarily of a personal statement, CV, and three letters of reference including one from your residency Program Director, along with other requested documents (diplomas, certificates, visas, etc.) Please complete all items rather than referring to the CV, and include an explanation for any gaps in education or experience. MSK accepts direct applications through its Embark system, as well as applications through the ACLP and the ERAS systems:
For further information and Application packets, please contact: Kristen Kazanjian, MSHA, Training Program Coordinator, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 633 Third Avenue Lexington Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10017 Tel. 646-888-0079 Fax: 212-888-2356 Email: [email protected] or by contacting: Matthew Doolittle, MD, Clinical Fellowship Training Program Director, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, 633 Third Avenue New York, NY 10017 646-888-4811 FAX: 212-888-2356 email: [email protected].
Housing is available to most clinical fellows in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry/Psycho-Oncology Medicine in several apartment buildings in the neighborhood that are owned by Memorial Hospital and may be used to house fellows. Fellows who do not live in hospital housing will have access to the staff parking lot.
Stipends are based on years of previous training and are set each year by Memorial’s Graduate Training Committee and the Department Chair. In 2023, stipends were $98,812 for a PGY 5 and $103,213 for a PGY 6. Stipends typically increase by six to eight percent each year.
Appointments are for a 12-month period. The academic year begins July 1 and continues through June 30. The optional second year of the program is available by mutual agreement of the Program Director, Chairman, and the fellow.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is located at 1275 York Avenue, between 67th and 68th Street, on Manhattan’s East Side. NewYork-Presbyterian, Cornell Medical Center, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and Rockefeller University are on York Avenue, directly across from Memorial Sloan Kettering. The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has academic offices at 633 Third Avenue and 40th Street. Clinical Fellows have office space in this facility consisting of carrels, telephones, and computers. In addition to these academic offices, the Psychiatry Service has an ambulatory care facility called the Memorial Sloan Kettering Counseling Center located 2nd Floor of the MSK Rockefeller Outpatient Pavillion at 53rd Street. This ambulatory care facility is a full service outpatient psychiatric clinic with 8 interview/consultation rooms and one large multi-purpose room for research assessments and groups.
Most inpatient psychiatric consultations are conducted in Memorial Hospital at 1275 York Avenue. An office at Memorial Hospital is reserved for use by the Clinical Psychiatry Fellows for their inpatient clinical activities. This space has computers, telephones, and space to store personal items, lab coats, etc. Memorial Sloan Kettering has additional clinical oncology outpatient facilities at 160 East 53rd Street, Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at 300 East 66th Street, and the Kimmel Center for GU Cancers at 68th Street. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center is located at 68th Street and York Avenue, directly across from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center at 1275 York Avenue, between 67th and 68th Streets.