Providence Cancer Institute Fellowships

The Providence Cancer Institute Fellowship Program provides the opportunity for our fellows to work with our renowned medical team to build upon their competency in the surgical specialty/subspecialty gained during their residency.

Our programs offer a high volume of cases, academic opportunities and mentorship by leading surgeons. Our curriculums are designed to give each fellow the opportunity to work with multiple physicians and perform a variety of procedures.

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We currently offer five surgical fellowship programs:

Advanced GI - Minimally Invasive Surgery (Foregut)

Dr. Lee Swanstrom of the GI/Minimally Invasive Surgery Division of The Oregon Clinic, established one of the first Surgical Endoscopy Fellowships in the country in 1993. Today, our faculty has grown to include not only renowned Dr. Lee Swanstrom, but also leading foregut surgery experts Dr. Christy M. Dunst (Program Director), Dr. Kevin Reavis, Dr. Steven DeMeester and Dr. Daniel Davila Bradley. Together, the faculty's complimentary skills provide an unparalleled experience in advanced foregut surgery, offering a wide variety and exposure to esophageal surgical techniques and pathology. The Fellowship is intended for physicians who have completed a general surgery residency and have a specialty interest in all aspects of foregut disease including pathophysiology, flexible endoscopy and laparoscopic surgery. Because of our expert teaching faculty, the breadth and volume of our clinical cases as well as our innovative research programs, these fellowships has consistently been rated as among the best training experiences in the US.

The Advanced GI: Foregut position concentrates on all aspects of foregut (esophageal and gastric surgery) including diagnostic testing, esophageal physiology, diagnostic and therapeutic flexible endoscopy, laparoscopic and open surgery and care of these patients. Our center has a high volume of both benign and malignant foregut cases. Fellows are exposed to a large experience in both laparoscopic and trans-oral approaches to anti-reflux surgery, repair of hiatal and paraesophageal hernia, and achalasia, as well as the treatment of esophageal and gastric malignancies. A key component of the fellowship is exposure to a wide range of interventional flexible endoscopy techniques and procedures, including endoscopic mucosal resection, endoscopic submucosal dissection, radio-frequency ablation, dilation, stent placement, endoscopic suturing, and per-oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM).

Rotations are specially designed to acheive mastery in foregut disease and treatment. In addition to extensive esophageal surgery, fellows will have some exposure to bariatric surgery, intended to train the fellow to master both Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, and hepatobiliary surgery, to gain exposure to duodenal and pancreatic procedures required with certain gastric cancer resections. Previous Fellows have accumulated a clinical experience of between 200 and 350 advanced laparoscopic surgeries and between 100 and 150 flexible endoscopies (primarily interventional endoscopy), depending on their degree of interest in each field.

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Colorectal Surgery

This opportunity is in conjunction with Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). The colorectal fellow rotates at four different hospitals, benefitting from exposure to a wide variety of practice opportunities and education models.

Head and Neck Surgery

The Providence Cancer Institute is accepting applications for fellowship training in head and neck oncologic and microvascular reconstructive surgery. Fellows are trained as academic head and neck surgeons who will provide leadership in the clinical practice and science of head and neck surgical oncology. Positions are funded and include two- and three-year fellowships.

Patients treated for head and neck malignancy are managed by the surgeons of The Head and Neck Institute, Portland, Oregon for the surgical/reconstructive aspects of their care. Major ablative head and neck surgery and microvascular reconstruction cases are performed by attending staff and the head and neck fellow at four area hospitals: Providence Portland Medical Center, Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center.

Research opportunities are available in association with the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute at the Robert W. Franz Cancer Center.

Positions Offered

The two-year fellowship in head and neck oncologic and microvascular reconstructive surgery involves clinical training that emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to the management of head and neck cancer. Surgical instruction in the first year involves all aspects of head and neck surgical oncology, including:

  • Full scope ablative head and neck oncology experience including, mucosal, paranasal/skull base, salivary, thyroid and cutaneous disease
  • Transoral robotic and laser surgery for head and neck malignancies including oropharyngeal, tongue, larynx
  • Endocrine experience including management of thyroid and parathyroid malignancies
  • Management of advanced benign lesions of the head and neck including salivary, schwannoma, paraganglioma, odontogenic tumors, etc.
  • Comprehensive surgical management of the head and neck oncology patient including ancillary procedures such as airway reconstruction, voice restoration, and facial nerve re-animation.
  • Rotations with medical oncology, radiation oncology and laryngology.

The two-year fellowship provides an additional year of head and neck surgical experience in addition to a concentrated year dedicated to reconstructive microvascular surgery.

  • Reconstructive experience including local, regional, and free tissue transfer for ablative defects of the head and neck
  • Protected research time

The three-year fellowship provides one year of immuno-oncology research at the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute at the Robert W. Franz Cancer Center, followed by 1-2 years clinical training. The purpose of the fellowship program in surgical immuno-oncology is to provide a structured educational and training experience necessary to facilitate expertise in immuno-oncology, and to provide a foundation in research methodology that will equip the fellow for a successful academic career in head and neck surgical oncology.

Selection Process

Candidates for the Advanced Fellowship in Head and Neck Oncologic and Reconstructive Microvascular Surgery must hold both a medical and dental degree and completed a residency program in oral and maxillofacial surgery, otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, or general surgery. In addition, all candidates should be board eligible in the United States and must be licensed in the state of Oregon or be eligible for an institutional permit to practice medicine or dentistry.

Participants are selected through a process that involves review of a written application, including letters of reference from past mentors and program directors and a personal interview. Final selections are made at least six months before the scheduled starting date.

To be considered for the two-year fellowship in head and neck oncologic and reconstructive microvascular surgery, applicants must be registered with MORSmatch.

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Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery

The Providence HPB Fellowship position was created in 2008, although it has been integrated with a minimally invasive surgical (MIS) Fellowship in existence for more than 25 years. The Fellowship is intended for physicians who have completed a general surgery residency and have a particular interest in hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery and research.

The program attendings are fellowship trained in hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery, surgical oncology, advanced laparoscopic surgery, and surgical ultrasound.

The program's strengths include extensive experience in advanced open and minimally invasive surgical procedures. The practice includes both benign and malignant disease processes. Additional areas of focus include intraoperative ultrasound and surgical tumor ablation.

The fellowship is two years in length. 

  • The first year is primarily clinical on the HPB service. 
  • The second year is a mixture of clinical, research, and administrative time. 

Clinical experiences may be arranged in colorectal, foregut, organ transplant, surgical endoscopy and/or interventional radiology, depending on the fellow’s interests. Fellows are expected to accumulate a clinical experience of 200-250 advanced HPB and GI surgeries. The fellow will interact with surgical residents, but has the first right of refusal on all HPB cases.

Our program is very hands-on for the fellows, with a goal of producing graduates who are capable and comfortable performing major HPB cases independently. Research is a required component of the fellowship. Fellows are expected to initiate clinical research projects with the goal of producing at least 3 presentable/publishable projects. 

Fellows have access to a basic science immunology lab, a large clinical database, animate and inanimate labs, and NOTES labs. Fellows are involved in teaching residents, participating in surgical training courses, and participating in HPB Program administration. 

The Fellowship offers high volume of cases, academic opportunities and mentorship by leading surgeons in the fields of HPB surgery, MIS, and GI surgical oncology. The setting is Providence Portland Medical Center, a community based, academic health care center located in Portland, Oregon. The fellow will gain the necessary skills and experience required to function as an independent HPB surgeon and develop sufficient clinical, research and administrative skills to develop or build their own HPB program. 

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Immuno-Oncology

The Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, a division of Providence Cancer Institute, offers a one-year immuno-oncology research fellowship as part of the three-year head and neck surgery fellowship. 

Located within the Robert W. Franz Cancer Center in Portland, Ore., the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute is a leader in immuno-oncology, and home to a team of world-renowned scientists and physicians. With expertise in cancer immunotherapy, clinical and translational research, and training programs spanning the continuum of higher education, it provides a rich environment for immuno-oncology fellowship. 

Program hallmarks

The purpose of the immuno-oncology research fellowship is to provide structured education and training to facilitate expertise in clinical immunotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer, and to provide a foundation in research methodology that will equip the fellow for a successful academic career in immuno-oncology. Hallmarks of the program include:

  • Expert program faculty for instruction and mentorship.
  • A structured immuno-oncology curriculum consisting of curated reading syllabi accompanied by one-on-one discussion/didactic sessions with leaders in the field.
  • Rotations in the medical oncology clinic, inpatient biotherapy service (includes TIL, CAR-T and high-dose IL-2), immune monitoring laboratory and clinical trials office.
  • 70 percent protected time to conduct mentored, independent research in immuno-oncology, with the expectation of publication.

Candidates for fellowship

The immuno-oncology research fellowship will provide advanced, supplemental training in the field of immuno-oncology, and is not intended to replace accredited fellowship training in oncology. The fellowship is ideal for recent medical/surgical oncology fellowship graduates, or internal medicine/surgery residency graduates who wish to pursue formal subspecialty training in medical/surgical oncology fellowship after a one-year period of intensive immuno-oncology training and research. To be eligible, a fellow must have completed at least one year of residency training in a related field (e.g., medicine, surgery or pathology). Candidates should be proficient in general immunology, but are neither required nor expected to have previous formal training in tumor immunology. 

Program curriculum

The curriculum consists of the following components:

  • Structured didactic training and weekly lecture series (15 percent).
    • Fellows will receive intensive didactic training in the principles of immuno-oncology, taught by leaders in the field across a variety of domains, including clinical immuno-oncology, translational/basic immunology and clinical trials management/nursing. 
  • Practicums in clinical/laboratory rotations and observer-ships (15 percent).
    • Concurrent to didactic training, practicums will provide on-the-job immersion experiences. While the nature and quantity of practicums will depend on the interest of the fellow, at least one practicum for each didactic unit will be required. 
  • Mentored research projects (70 percent).
    • Under faculty guidance, the fellow will formulate several research projects in immuno-oncology to gain hands-on experience in clinical trials development, biomarkers development and literature review. Projects should be cohesive and thematic, allowing the fellow to develop in-depth knowledge and research which he/she may continue to pursue following fellowship completion.

Expected outcomes

At conclusion of the fellowship, the fellow will demonstrate depth of knowledge and exposure to a variety of domains in clinical immunotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer, as well as expertise in clinical and translational research methodologies. In collaboration with one or more faculty members, the fellow will lead formative research projects that will culminate in publication in a peer-reviewed journal and/or presentation at an international immuno-oncology meeting.

Submit application