Head and Neck Oncology Fellowship

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The Head and Neck Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center offers three different options for fellowship training:

  • 1 year clinical fellowship in head and neck oncologic surgery.
  • 1.5 or 2 year clinical fellowship in head and neck oncologic and microvascular reconstructive surgery
  • 3 year combined clinical and translational research fellowship

Training in head and neck oncologic surgery

VIDEO | 50:23
“The history of head and neck surgery & oncology” – Dr. Jatin Shah
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The fellowship program provides intensive hands-on surgical training in complex ablative head and neck oncologic surgery and minimally invasive techniques. This includes composite resection of tumors of the oral cavity and oropharynx, craniofacial resection of sinonasal tumors, excision of advanced skin cancers, salivary gland tumors, early and advanced laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers, parapharyngeal space tumors, advanced thyroid cancers, Trans Oral Robotic Surgery (TORS), Transoral Laser Microsurgery (TLM), and endoscopic skull base surgery including trans-nasal approach to pituitary and other skull base tumors.

In recent years, the major components of our fellows’ operative volume have been: 25% thyroid, 15% oral cavity, 15% neck dissection, 10% endoscopic/robotic, 10% complex cutaneous, 5-10% salivary, and 5-10% skull base. Local, regional and myocutaneous flaps and reconstruction are done by the head and neck service while microvascular free flap reconstruction is performed by the plastic surgery service.

The clinical rotation consists of a 12-month period wherein fellows are responsible for preoperative and postoperative patient care and are involved in surgical operations under the direction of the attending surgeons. Each fellow performs 500-600 procedures during the year of clinical rotation, working with 13 fellowship-trained head and neck surgeons. Fellows work with a multidisciplinary team of physicians and other professionals specializing in head and neck oncology to ensure the optimal treatment for each patient. Our integrated disease management team (DMT) consists of head and neck surgeons, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, neurosurgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, maxillofacial prosthodontists, pathologists, radiologists, basic scientists, speech and voice therapists and dedicated nursing staff. Fellows attend a weekly teaching conference, present at weekly tumor board conference, regular meetings with the program director, and are supported with a full complement of clinical research assistants to assist with clinical research projects.

Fellows have 3 weeks of vacation time annually and supported conference travel (at a minimum, 2 academic conferences and one TORS/TLM course per year). MSK fellow salaries are determined by PGY level and range from $90-120,000 annually with additional stipends provided. MSK offers heavily rent-subsidized housing near the hospital.

There is full-time NP/PA coverage for inpatients (5 NPs/PAs), 6 PA’s assist in the OR, clinic, and with floor work, and fellows assist in the instruction of a full team of rotating residents from 4 local residency programs.

Training in head and neck microvascular surgery (18- and 24-month options)

Our Faculty

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We offer a combined training program in head and neck oncologic surgery and microvascular reconstructive surgery. The combined fellowship is structured as a 2 year fellowship (9 months HNS + 12 months microvascular + 3 months HNS). Qualified applicants who have prior exposure with microvascular reconstructive surgery in residency training have the option to complete this combined fellowship in 18 months (9 months HNS + 9 months microvascular).

Microvascular training is an integrated experience with the MSK Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery service, comprised of 11 surgeons who perform 750 microvascular free tissue transfer operations for cancer reconstruction, and 300 free flaps for head and neck reconstruction annually.

The fellow will train with world renowned leaders in reconstructive microsurgery, complete 2 instructional microvascular courses, and participate in 180-200 microvascular cases in the course of one year. The curriculum of this fellowship has been designed by the Head and Neck and Plastic Surgery Services to include operative experience heavily weighted toward head and neck reconstruction (the vast majority of cases), but also takes advantage of the unique opportunity afforded by high microvascular surgical volume to participate in flap harvest and microsurgery for reconstructive cases outside of the head and neck as well. This is a unique fellowship that has been designed to provide head and neck surgical fellows with a large volume of microsurgical training from one of the busiest cancer reconstructive surgery services in the world. The fellow will also lead joint head and neck reconstructive case conferences and have the opportunity to lead joint clinical research projects in outcomes and patient-reported quality of life.

Training in translational research

MSK offers a 3 year combined clinical-research fellowship for fellows interested in translational research. This fellowship includes one clinical year on the Head and Neck Service and 2 years of full-time protected research under the mentorship of one of many cancer research PIs at MSK.

Faculty
Alumni

2018

Sundeep Alapati, Jacobi Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Serena Byrd, Summit Medical Group, New Jersey
Benzon Dy, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
Ashley Hay, NHS Lothian, Edinburgh, Scotland
Julie Kickbush, CancerCare Manitoba, Winnpeg, Canada
Rajarsi Mandal, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
Rachel Giese, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas

2019

James Wu, UCLA Health, Los Angeles, California
Shivangi Lohia, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Michigan
Laura Wang, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Martin Hanson, University of Queensland and Princess Alexandria Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
Hao Li, National University of Singapore Health System, Singapore

2020

Stephanie Flukes, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth, Australia
Natascha Putri, National Cancer Centre Singapore, Singapore
Sandra Rivera Beltran, Auxilio Mutuo Cancer Center, Puerto Rico
Panagiotis Asimakopoulos, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Abderdeen, Scotland
Kelly Moyer, University of Maryland

2021

Conall Fitzgerald, St James’s Hospital, Dublin
Mohammad Hararah, Sutter Health, Sacramento, California
Timothy McLean, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia
Omar Mirza, NHS Preston, United Kingdom
Tony Richa, University of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska

2022

Ehab Alameer, Jazan Cancer Center, Jazan, Saudi Arabia
Joseph Lopez, AdventHealth, Orlando, Florida
Cristina Valero, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain
Robbie Woods, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

Current Fellows

Prishanthi Divakar, (Otolaryngology-HNS residency at Dartmouth)
Max Kligerman, (Otolaryngology-HNS residency at Stanford)
Britney Scott, (Otolaryngology-HNS residency at Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio)
Samer Abou Rizk, (Otolaryngology-HNS residency at American University of Beirut, Lebanon)
Dean Page, (Otolaryngology-HNS residency, Melbourne, Australia)
Helena Levyn, (Otolaryngology-HNS residency, Meir Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel)

Deadline

Deadlines for receipt of matching applications and interview dates are determined annually — please see the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) website for guidance. Interviews for both AHNS match-eligible and international candidates will generally take place in April or May.

Eligibility

Applicants must have completed their residency training either in general surgery, otolaryngology, or plastic surgery, as well as have attained qualification to sit for the examination of the American Board of Surgery, Otolaryngology or Plastic Surgery. Foreign medical graduates with equivalent qualifications are also eligible to apply and have passed USMLE examinations (Step 1, Step 2 CS, and Step 2 CK), must hold a valid ECFMG certificate, and be visa-eligible. Selected candidates must qualify for and obtain a limited permit to practice medicine from the New York State Education Department, in accordance with its requirements.

For North American residency graduates, we participate in the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) match program. The MSK fellowship program is accredited by the AHNS. Please see the AHNS website for application requirements and important dates. We welcome applications from surgeons with backgrounds in otolaryngology, general surgery, or plastic surgery, and regularly train fellows from all three specialties.

We also welcome applicants who are international residency graduates and reserve training positions for international fellows each year. Please note that ECFMG certification and USMLE examinations are necessary for all fellowships in the United States; in most cases, these exams must be completed in order to apply. We are also a founding program of the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies (IFHNOS)-sponsored fellowship program and are accredited by IFHNOS. Participation in the IFHNOS international fellowship program is not required to apply for training at MSK as an international graduate.

Number of Positions

4-5 per year

How to Apply

Eligible candidates should apply for the fellowship match in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology through the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS). To download an application and match information, visit www.ahns.info.

Foreign candidates are encouraged to apply directly to the program by emailing the following items to [email protected]:

  • Memorial Hospital Graduate Staff Application form
  • ECFMG full certification: Applicants must have completed USMLE Steps 1, 2CK, and 2CS prior to submitting an application to our program
  • Current CV
  • Copy of MD diploma (with translation, if necessary)
  • Personal statement: This should include a description of the candidate’s personal qualifications and motivation for applying to the program, as well as a detailed professional plan to return to his or her home country upon completion of training
  • Three letters of recommendation addressed to Dr. Luc G. T. Morris: One of these letters must be from the department chairman

If any of these requirements are not met or are incomplete upon submission, the application will not be processed.

Contact

Luc G. T. Morris, MD, MSc, FACS
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
1275 York Avenue
New York, NY 10065
212-639-7537
[email protected]

Surgical Education Office
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
1275 York Avenue
Box 435
New York, NY 10065
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 212-639-7537