The Breast Health Center Program in Women’s Oncology/Women and Infants Hospital

Providence, Rhode Island

Training Program Director: Jennifer S. Gass, MD

Women & Infants Hospital is the major teaching hospital of Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University that is dedicated to the advancement of health care for women. It has been recognized by the NIH as a National Center of Excellence in Women's Health.  

Through the Program in Women's Oncology, Women & Infants' Hospital offers formal sub-specialty training in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers unique to women.  The Program has been accredited with the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer since 1997, and is also the recipient of the CoC Outstanding Achievement Award as of 2013. Through the Breast Health Center, a formal one-year Fellowship in Breast Disease is offered. As its mission, the Program offers intensive inter-disciplinary training to board-eligible physicians seeking to become leaders in the field of breast disease. The fellowship is accredited by the SSO, and The Breast Health Center of Women & Infants Hospital is accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC). Our prospective multidisciplinary tumor board, reaching across the three hospital campuses, meets weekly to review every breast cancer case prospectively pre and postoperatively. The fellowship calendar follows SSO guidelines strictly with formal dedicated rotations in radiation oncology, plastic surgery, medical oncology, pathology and radiology. The fellowship year begins with a 2-week research boot camp, to launch the fellow into their research project, and crescendos to a fellow-managed clinic in the spring. The breast fellows routinely present at not only ASBS, but also RI ACS, NEAGO, and fellow research day.  The fellow joins an oncology team that hosts residents and medical students from Women & Infants’ OB/gyn residency, and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. 

Clinical Rotations

The Breast Disease Fellowship incorporates the SSO designated core aspects of training as well as a balanced exposure to integrative care. It begins with an introductory rotation at the Breast Health Center, a two-week course in clinical research, and formal education into the principles of tumor biology and radiation therapy. This is followed by clinical rotations in the medical specialties related to breast cancer: radiation oncology, medical oncology, radiology, pathology, and reconstructive breast surgery. The fellow ultimately rejoins the Breast Health Center beginning in a supervised clinic with our surgical attendings and culminating in an independent surgical clinic where the Fellow is expected to manage their own panel of patients. A breadth of exposure to cancer genetics, lymphedema and integrative care is woven into the year longitudinally.

Meetings and Conferences

The Fellowship in Breast Disease at the Breast Health Center also offers core educational activities. The foremost of this is the weekly multi-center Multidisciplinary Tumor Board which the fellow is charged with preparing and running. Additional education is offered through weekly pathology case conference, genetics case conference and monthly journal club and psycho-social rounds.  A formal didactic curriculum occurs weekly on Friday afternoons which incorporates monthly morbidity/mortality conferences.

Training of Residents

Integral to the breast service are the Obstetrics and Gynecology residents and Brown Medical Students, as well as visiting residents and medical students.  The breast fellow serves as the primary on-service leader and educator for this team.

Research and Clinical Trials

Research is an integral part of the Breast Disease Fellowship and the program remains dedicated to the investigative and scholarly pursuit of research in breast disease. Each fellow is required to complete a minimum of one project resulting in a completed manuscript. The Breast Health Center actively participates in clinical research in the effort to advance the knowledge and treatment of breast cancer. As part of the Program in Women's Oncology, fellows gain exposure to national cooperative research groups including the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), and The Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology.. We also actively participate in the Brown University Oncology Group (BrUOG). Through these relationships, the fellow will have the opportunity to participate and design clinical research trials. For those more interested in basic science research, the Program in Women's Oncology also offers research assistance through dedicated laboratory space in the Kilguss Research Institute, a 25,000 sq. ft. facility, which provides an excellent opportunity for collaborative research.

The umbrella of comprehensive breast health services provides a continuum of care with many dimensions, all of which the fellow will be truly integrated in. These include:

  • A multidisciplinary team of physicians which functions as a health care model convening weekly in the open forum of a prospective Tumor Board.
  • The representative disciplines of surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, palliative medicine psychiatry and clinical genetics.
  • An on-site Tumor Registry
  • An active on-site cancer genetics database
  • An active on-site clinical research office
  • An active out-patient chemotherapy and IV treatment unit with a dedicated pharmacist on site.
  • Support staff including social workers and nutritionists
  • Continuing medical education opportunities for our community
  • Humanistic decision making program-based home care and hospice services
  • A nationally recognized Integrative Care program which includes therapeutic massage, a lymphedema clinic, acupuncture, meditation, art therapy, animal companionship during treatment and follow-up, and numerous support groups for both patients and families.
  • The Women & Infants' Hospital Telemedicine Network ("Virtual Presence"): an interactive videoconference linkage between the oncology program, the hospital conference rooms, the OR, and a growing network of hospitals in New England and internationally who look to us for leadership in cancer care.

To apply for this Breast Disease Fellowship, please submit the following items:

  • One copy of completed application form
  • A current curriculum vitae
  • A letter of personal statement
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation from persons best qualified to vouch for the character and pro- fessional qualifications of the applicant
  • In-Service Scores
  • A 2 x 3 photograph
  • Creative Piece (This may be a favorite poem, song lyrics, work of art, etc. It does not need to be an original.)  

Contact Information

Training Program Director: Jennifer Gass, MD
 Associate Training Program Director:  Ashley R. Stuckey, MD
Address:

Director, Breast Disease Fellowship
c/o Jessica Perry
Breast Health Center
Program in Women's Oncology
Women & Infants Hospital
101 Dudley Street
Providence, RI 02905

Phone: 401-274-1122, ext. 47263
Email: jperry@wihri.org