AMSA-VITAS End of Life Education Fellowship Program
June 17-July 26, 2013 * Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, FL
*This is a program of the AMSA Foundation and made possible through the generous support of VITAS Innovative Hospice Care.
The submission deadline has now passed and we are no longer accepting applications.
The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Foundation offers the AMSA—Vitas End-of-Life Education Fellowship program as a six-week intensive summer experience designed to introduce medical students to end of life (EOL) care issues in a way which cannot be found on the medical school campus. Vitas Innovative Hospice Care will coordinate a program packed with rigorous didactic sessions and a variety of field placements. Students will have the opportunity to learn from interdisciplinary hospice team members which may consist of doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, bereavement counselors, and volunteers. As with all clinical settings, the experiences will vary from day to day, and will include both in-patient and home visits, the routine and the unexpected.
Due to the nature of hospice, the EOL Education Fellowship program can be emotionally challenging for participants, especially those who have not yet worked with terminal patients. Thinking, in advance, about how you will process your emotions is important to the experience. Remaining aware of and improving upon those personal coping mechanisms throughout the program will be invaluable to your future. If you are particularly troubled by a clinical experience you may have had, the VITAS staff, at your request, can connect you with a member of their team for you to speak with.
Each week, participants will participate in a debrief session similar to what hospice teams might do. This is a venue for discussing cases you participated in and for learning about the cases other participants worked with. This is where the didactic and clinical experiences come together for more complex learning and integration of concepts. It is also a venue to share particularly troubling experiences with your new peers and to gain feedback and new perspectives from others.
The EOL Education Fellowship program is an excellent opportunity to learn about the hospice and palliative care perspective on working with individuals who are dying- skills you will need as a physician regardless of what type of medicine you choose to practice.
As part of the EOL Education Fellowship program, participants will develop an EOL education project and implement it throughout the following academic year at their medical school. This is a requirement of participating in the summer fellowship program and additional funding will be available to apply for at the end of the summer fellowship, in order to implement the project.
Participants should expect to spend approximately 40 hours each week in academic and clinical settings throughout the program, with additional time spent outside of program hours preparing for the upcoming sessions, reading assigned materials, and developing their educational project. Although in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, the commitment throughout the six weeks must be on the program. Some evenings and weekends will be free, but we suggest that you plan to add time either before or after the six weeks to relax and enjoy all that Florida has to offer.
Consider applying for the End of Life Education Fellowship Program
- Develop and practice basic interviewing and communication skills essential to EOL care
- Understand the psychological, sociological, cultural and spiritual aspects of death and dying
- Understand the pathophysiology and management of common symptoms at the end of life
- Recognize and respond to cultural, linguistic, and spiritual diversity
- Design and develop a plan for integrating EOL education into the curricula of the students' medical schools and residency programs.