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Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship

The Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship is a 12-month clinical oncology training program provided at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital (BWFH), and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The fellowship includes rotations at each of these sites and prepares trainees for an academic career devoted to the screening, diagnosis, multidisciplinary treatment and study of patients with breast cancer and benign breast disease.

The program employs an apprenticeship-style approach combined with an intensive multidisciplinary experience in the management of breast malignancies. Fellows work directly with two to three faculty members at a time during the course of a month within a specific disease discipline. The timing of research electives is flexible to accommodate specific academic goals and to allow time for abstract submissions and manuscript preparation.

Why Choose BWH/DFCI/MGH For Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship?

  • Train with leaders in the field of breast surgical oncology
  • Experience robust clinical practices in both benign and malignant breast disease at 3 institutions, with more than 2,500 new breast cancer patients and over 200 patients enrolled monthly into clinical trials
  • Partake in a tailored educational experience, including tangible curricula on professional development and adaptable research tools to aid with the transition to academic surgical practice
  • Enjoy diverse surgeon-initiated clinical and translational research opportunities with large mature prospective databases, multidisciplinary collaborations, and strong representation at national conferences
  • Participate in a unique fellows-led clinic and follow your own patients through their clinical care
Tari A. King, MD

Tari A. King, MD

Program Director, DFCI/BWH Site

See Entire Profile See Entire Profile
Olga Kantor, MD, MS

Olga Kantor, MD, MS

Associate Program Director, DFCI/BWH Site

See Entire Profile 

Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship Topics

Program Objectives

The Fellowship Program aims to:

  • Foster the fellows’ understanding of the social and economic aspects of cancer treatment in an environment that emphasizes the highest levels of compassion and ethics
  • Promote increased fellow autonomy in clinical and surgical decision making with a weekly breast fellow-run clinic
  • Facilitate the transition to surgical practice with curricula aimed at professional development and attaining tangible research skills
  • Provide resources and mentorship to facilitate execution of clinical research project(s) and opportunities for presentation and publication

As a fellow, you will:

  • Refine breast surgery skills by working with dedicated full-time academic and community/academic breast surgeons in the operating room at BWH, MGH and BWFH
  • Gain expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of all stages of breast cancer and benign breast disease
  • Develop expertise in the management of patients at increased risk for breast cancer, including genetic/hereditary risk, high-risk lesions and other risk factors
  • Understand the principles and practices of other collaborating disciplines including breast imaging, breast pathology, breast reconstruction, breast medical oncology, breast radiation oncology and other inter-professional disciplines
  • Participate in the organization and conduct of educational conferences and resident education activities
  • Develop expertise in presenting clinical and research data in formal and informal presentations
  • Participate in the design and conduct of clinical trials and clinical research
  • Participate in national cooperative clinical trials group activities

Quick Facts

  • Clinical rotations at BWH, DFCI, and MGH
  • Up to two fellows per year
  • Twelve months of clinical breast oncology training
  • Research opportunities across all campuses
  • Apprenticeship approach with strong focus on multidisciplinary training
  • Application deadline is generally in winter of the PGY-4 year
Fellowship Schedule
  • Breast surgical oncology (6 months)
  • Breast medical oncology (2 weeks)
  • Breast radiation oncology (2 weeks)
  • Breast pathology (2 weeks)
  • Breast radiology including breast ultrasound training (4 weeks)
  • Breast reconstructive surgery (4 weeks)
  • Electives/research tailored to fellow's long-term goals (2 weeks)
  • Dedicated time for genetics, social work, psycho-oncology, and outreach (2 weeks)
  • Dedicated half-day independent fellows clinic on Fridays throughout the year
Faculty

Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital are scientific, clinical and academic leaders in Boston with a shared commitment to provide excellence in multidisciplinary patient care, teaching and research. Our Fellowship program features rotations at each of these 3 institutions and our shared culture affords an exceptional environment for training and participation in clinical research.

Our team of experienced breast surgical oncologists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute provide surgical care to patients with benign and malignant breast disease and collaborate with other specialties to establish optimal treatments for our patients. As surgeon-scientists, we are involved in leading research studies across the continuum of care―from prevention and diagnosis to treatment and survivorship. We are committed to training the next generation of surgeons and leaders, and foster an environment that supports the fellow’s participation in all aspects of clinical care and research.

DFCI/BWH Site Program Director
Tari A. King, MD

DFCI/BWH Site Associate Program Director
Olga Kantor, MD, MS

MGH Site Program Directors
Barbara L. Smith, MD, PhD
Michelle Specht, MD

DFCI/BWH Program Coordinator
Linda Cutone

MGH Administrative Manager Surgical Oncology
Kolleen Taylor

Our Fellows

Current Fellows

Meghan Garstka, MDMeghan E. Garstka, MD, MS

Post Graduate Education:
2008-2009: Tulane University, Cell and Molecular Biology, MS
2009-2013: Tulane University School of Medicine, MD
2013-2020: Tulane University School of Medicine, General Surgery Residency
2017-2018: Tulane University School of Medicine, Research General Surgery

Dr. Garstka was born in the city of Chicago and moved with her parents to the suburb of Park Ridge. She then moved to Nashville, Tennessee to attend college at Vanderbilt University. At Vanderbilt, she double majored in Cell and Molecular Biology and Spanish, with a minor in General Music, continuing her studies of piano and oboe throughout her college years. She also defended a thesis to obtain Honors in Spanish during this time.

She moved to New Orleans for graduate school at the Tulane University School of Science and Engineering, where she completed a Master of Science degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. She remained in New Orleans for medical school at Tulane University School of Medicine (TUSOM), where she was a member of the inaugural class of the DeBakey Scholars Program, a four-year mentored research program. She was also passionate about community health during medical school at Tulane and was the first clinic coordinator for the student-run Fleur de Vie free clinic in New Orleans East, and a founding member of the TUSOM Interclinic Council. She remained at Tulane for her General Surgery Residency and also completed a research year.

Meghan has achieved numerous awards and accolades including; the Tulane Humanitarian Award, the Matas Clinical Research Award, and the American Thyroid Association Trainee Grant. In 2018 Meghan received a grant from the Society of Surgical Oncology to present her research poster at the Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology in Xiamen, China. Most recently, in January 2020, she was designated the first-place winner for the Cancer Paper Competition at the Louisiana Chapter of the American College of Surgeons Annual Meeting.

Halley Vora, MD Halley Vora, MD

Post Graduate Education:
2010-2014: Temple University School of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine
2014-2020: Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Internship and General Surgery Residency

Dr. Vora is originally from Southern California but has lived in many places all over the United States in pursuit of education and new experiences. She completed her undergraduate studies at Union College in upstate New York, earning her Bachelors’ degree in science with honors. She then attended medical school at the Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

It was there that she fell in love with surgery, leading her to move back to the west coast to complete a general surgery residency at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. During her residency, she was drawn to breast surgical oncology due to the multidisciplinary and patient centered nature of care. She dedicated a year to pursue research in breast cancer, focusing on practice patterns, outcomes, quality improvement, and surgical education.

Halley won several honors and awards during her educational time including the prize from the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons for her resident research presentation in 2017. She also received recognition for the best poster at the Pacific Coast Surgical Association and the Herman Brown Excellence in Surgery Award while she was a medical student.

Past Fellows

2019-2020

Olga Kantor, MD MS
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA

Alison Laws, MD
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA 

2018-2019

Caroline Jones McGugin, MD
Infirmary Surgical Specialists, Mobile, AL

Stephanie Wong, MD
McGill University, Montreal, Canada 

2017-2018

Tara Spivey, MD
Ascension Medical Group, Indianapolis, IN

2016-2017

Anvy Nguyen, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

2015-2016

Jennifer Plichta, MD, MS
Duke University, Durham, NC

2014-2015

Maureen McEvoy, MD
Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY

2013-2014

Barbara Wexelman, MD
TriHealth Cancer Institute, Cincinnati, OH

2012-2013

Kari Kansal, MD
University of California-Irvine, Orange County, CA

2011-2012

Melissa Camp, MD, MPH
John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Rachel Greenup, MD, MPH
Duke University, Durham, NC

2010-2011

Suzanne Coopey, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

2009-2010

Elizabeth Kim, MD
Sutter Roseville Medical Center, Roseville, CA

2008-2009

Amanda Wheeler, MD
Stanford University, Stanford, CA

2007-2008

Colleen Murphy, MD
University of Colorado, Denver, CO

Sara Javid, MD
University of Washington, Seattle, WA

2006-2007

Laurie Kirstein, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Monmouth, Middletown, NJ

2004-2005

Katherina Zabicki Calvillo, MD
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA

Teaching Facilities

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is located in the Longwood medical and academic area in Boston, Massachusetts. It is one of Harvard Medical School's primary teaching affiliates. With Massachusetts General Hospital, it is one of the two founding members of Mass General Brigham, the largest healthcare provider in Massachusetts.

Brigham Health is the parent corporation for Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital and the Brigham and Women’s Physician Organization. We serve patients from New England, throughout the United States, and from 120 countries around the world. BWH is an internationally-known referral center for the most complex cases in nearly all areas of medicine and surgery. Our Breast Surgery Service cares for patients with benign breast disease and all types and stages of breast cancer, offering specialty programs and a program for those at risk. The Division of Breast Surgery performs over 2500 operative procedures annually across the two Brigham Health campuses. 

Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital (BWFH) is a community teaching hospital located in Jamaica Plain, just 3.4 miles from the Longwood medical area. With a long history of meeting the health care needs of the residents of southwest Boston and surrounding suburbs, BWFH offers comprehensive medical, surgical and psychiatric care as well as complete emergency, ambulatory and diagnostic services.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) is located in the Longwood medical and academic area. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute cares for adults with cancer in specialized treatment centers, focused on specific cancer types. As an affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a Comprehensive Cancer Center designated by the National Cancer Institute, DFCI also provides training for new generations of physicians and scientists, designs programs that promote public health particularly among high-risk and underserved populations, and disseminates innovative patient therapies and scientific discoveries to target communities across the United States and throughout the world. The Breast Surgical Oncology Program at DFCI sees over 1500 new patients annually.

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) is located in the West End of Boston. MGH has five multidisciplinary care centers to offer patients comprehensive, state-of-the-art medical care. The Mass General Cancer Center offers a coordinated team approach tailored to the individual needs of each patient. In addition, MassGeneral Hospital for Children provides a full range of pediatric health care services.

Requirements and Deadline
  • Applicants must be board-eligible and have completed a residency in an ACGME-accredited general surgery and/or gynecology program in the United States or Canada
  • Foreign students must have graduated from a medical school accredited by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

We require the following documents to be available for download through ERAS for an application to be reviewed:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Medical school transcript
  • Personal statement
  • Three to five letters of recommendation
  • USMLE transcript
  • ABS in-training exam scores (on application)

The application process for the fellowship is handled through the Society of Surgical Oncology website. Visit this site for more information about applications and supporting documentation.

Interview Process

Selection of Interview Candidates

Each application is reviewed in its entirety with an eye toward a combination of overall academic excellence, leadership ability, career development potential and personal character.

Although we receive applications from many well-qualified candidates, it is not possible to interview all who apply. Those who are invited will be notified approximately one month prior to the date of the scheduled interview.

Interview Dates

The dates for the interview season are spring of the PGY-4 year. All interviews are conducted on a single day.

Interview Format

Interviews are conducted at BWH/DFCI during odd-numbered years and at MGH during even-numbered years.

The interview day begins with a breakfast and introductory remarks by the program directors. Following the introduction, each candidate will meet with faculty from BWH and MGH. As we represent a large and diverse program, our goal is to allow you to meet with as many faculty members as possible, thus interviews are typically conducted with our faculty working in pairs; e.g., two faculty members working as a team to interview candidates. Current fellows, surgery residents interested in breast disease, and our dedicated team of breast surgical physicians assistants and nurse practitioners will also be on hand throughout the day to visit informally with candidates between interviews and to conduct hospital tours.

The interview sessions conclude in the afternoon with an opportunity for a social group gathering before individual departures. For applicants who are able to arrive the night before the interview day, an informal evening reception is held to allow applicants to interact with current fellows, residents interested in breast disease and other members of our clinical teams.

Travel and Hotel Accommodations

For the purposes of making travel arrangements, applicants may anticipate being finished with all interview and tour activities by 4pm. Please visit hotel accommodations for more information.

Contact Information

Tari A. King, MD
DFCI/BWH Site Fellowship Program Director
tking7@bwh.harvard.edu

Olga Kantor, MD, MS
DFCI/BWH Site Fellowship Associate Program Director
okantor@bwh.harvard.edu

Linda Cutone
DFCI/BWH Site Program Coordinator
lcutone@partners.org

Department of Surgery
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship
75 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02115

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