Palliative Care Social Work Fellowship | MedStar Washington Hospital Center | MedStar Health

Palliative Social Work Fellowship at MedStar Washington

Our interprofessional palliative training program offers a one-year program (July-June) in which a social work fellow has the unique opportunity to engage in interprofessional education alongside four physician fellows and one nurse practitioner fellow, sharing didactic and workshop experiences and partnering for clinical visits.

By the end of the year, the social work fellow will demonstrate competency in a number of domains, including but not limited to:

  • Grief, loss, and bereavement support
  • Advance care planning
  • Spiritual, religious, existential, and cultural aspects of care
  • Assessing and completing comprehensive psychosocial assessments

Why train here

Interprofessional faculty and education

Our Georgetown University School of Medicine faculty includes Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Chaplains, Social Workers, and Pharmacists. We are national leaders in palliative care research and education. Your teachers will come from this wide range of clinical disciplines. We are passionate about service to our patients and educating the next generation of clinicians.

You will receive an interprofessional education by training alongside physician and nurse practitioner fellows in our unique interprofessional palliative care training program. This is the ideal way to learn new, important skills in order to be a well-rounded palliative care clinician.

Educational and research opportunities

Washington Hospital Center is the largest hospital in the MedStar Health system that includes Georgetown University Hospital and the MedStar Health Research Institute. These relationships put a health system’s worth of expertise and resources at your fingertips.

Over the course of the year, fellows will develop increasing independence in their practice in a large, vibrant, urban hospital. The experience will have a breadth and depth that will fully prepare fellows for a career in palliative care social work.

Program benefits

  • Comprehensive training and practice in a wide range of palliative settings
  • Unique interprofessional curriculum taught by expert palliative care faculty
  • Clinical rotations across hospice and palliative care settings
  • Accelerated development of evidence-based clinical competences with a high degree of supervised independence
  • Clinical Supervision for licensing
  • Structured training and mentorship from experienced palliative care clinicians
  • Fellows will develop and conduct research in a supervised setting, acquiring academic in addition to clinical experience.
  • Preparation to sit for the Advanced Palliative Hospice Social Worker – Certified (APHSW-C) exam


Fellows participate in a variety of educational experiences throughout the year, including:

  • Case conferences allow fellows to debrief and learn from ongoing difficult cases
  • Lectures from faculty and disease state experts
  • Journal club to explore the most up to date and landmark literature in the field
  • Communication Workshops to practice crucial communication skills
  • Quality & Safety Conferences, to review the quality and safety aspects of our patient care
  • Capstone Presentations
  • Elective opportunities

Our people

Application requirements

  • Now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 academic year!
  • Master’s degree from an accredited social work school
  • Active Washington, D.C., social work license or eligibility to obtain D.C. license at time of offer
  • Unofficial graduate school transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV
  • Personal statement (1-2 pages) delineating how a palliative care fellowship aligns with overall career goals
  • Please email Nina Laing LICSW ( with application documents and program-related questions. Applications will be accepted beginning in January 2024 until March 10, 2024 for fellowship beginning the following July.
Clara VanGerven

"The faculty here is amazing. Having so many different people to work with has been one of the really great learning experiences for me. It has really given me a breadth of what palliative care looks like."

-Clara VanGerven, LCSW, Program Graduate 2020