Breast Fellowship Program

Program description

The USC Breast Fellowship Program embraces the Society of Surgical Oncology’s goals of providing fellows with broad and multidisciplinary training experience in breast surgery, breast imaging, medical oncology, plastics and reconstructive surgery, radiation oncology, genetics, pathology, community service and outreach, psycho-oncology and clinical research in accordance with the Interdisciplinary Breast Fellowship Core Educational Objectives. These objectives are achieved through a unique, longitudinal, multidisciplinary training program called the One Month Equivalent (OME) system, which has several advantages over the traditional fixed-month rotation model.

First, the OME system ensures that fellows will have a concentrated (i.e. breast-only) experience in each of the designated disciplines. To achieve this goal, the OME design encourages faculty to concentrate on the treatment of breast cancer patients in clinics staffed by the breast fellows. By reducing the time spent caring for patients with non-breast-related problems, the learning value of each clinic is maximized.

Second, the extension of rotations over the course of the academic year gives fellows the opportunity to coordinate patient referrals so that they can follow the same patients through multiple aspects of their cancer care. For example, a patient on whom a fellow has performed surgery can have their medical oncology or radiation oncology appointment at a clinic attended by that fellow. We believe that the OME system facilitates a more comprehensive understanding of the multidisciplinary management of each patient and a better understanding of how surgical decisions impact medical and radiation oncology treatment decisions and vice versa. In the OME approach, fulfillment of SSO training requirements is documented at each patient encounter using a Patient Encounter Form similar to a billing or charge ticket, which is stored in a password-protected online database.

Research program

The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and LAC+USC Medical Center provide an excellent opportunity for fellows to be exposed to and participate in clinical research. Clinical trials are expected to be considered in all patient interactions. While there is limited opportunity for a fellow to be involved in basic research, each fellow will be responsible for developing an original prospective research project. This assignment aims to provide each fellow with experience in designing a clinical trial, which they may initiate either during or upon completion of their fellowship. Fellows are required to receive human subject research training (via an online course) and patient privacy rights training. In addition, fellows are required to participate in the four-day Clinical Trials Design and Management course provided by the USC School of Pharmacy (four-unit credit).

Reading requirements

A required reading list, developed in collaboration with the respective disciplines, has been established for each subspecialty. Each fellow is required to read and be able to discuss selected articles. In addition, selected articles are assigned for Journal Club, tumor board and multidisciplinary breast conferences. Fellows have on-site and online access to the USC Norris Medical Library, where they can access full-text articles from medical journals.

Didactic education

Breast fellows will be expected to attend lectures provided by the breast program and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center faculty members, including joint lectures with medical oncology and radiation oncology.

Community service

Each fellow is required to participate in two community service events targeting the lay community. Options include breast cancer talks and health fairs. These events may be organized in collaboration with the Los Angeles chapters of the American Cancer Society or the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Support group participation

Fellows are required to attend at least two breast cancer support group meetings held at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center or the Pasadena Wellness Community.

Hospital rotation sites

  • Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian
  • Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center
  • USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital

USC Norris and LAC+USC hospitals are located on the USC Health Sciences Campus near downtown Los Angeles. Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian is located in Newport Beach, CA, approximately 45 miles south of Los Angeles. Accommodations are provided for fellows rotating at Hoag Hospital. Fellows rotate among the three training facilities alternately in two-month blocks, spending a total of four months at each facility.


The Breast Fellowship Program at the University of Southern California is an SSO-approved fellowship, and we participate in the SSO online match system. The match system is currently closed but should open again in May 2018. This link will direct you to the SSO online match system page:

Unless otherwise specified, all attachments must be uploaded as PDF documents to the SSO match system.

Application requirements:

a) $300 application fee payable via credit card only (Visa/MC/AmEx)
b) Curriculum vitae
c) Personal statement
d) Photo (JPG or TIF format)
e) Education information (pre-medical education, medical school education, residencies/fellowships)
f) Letters of recommendation (minimum of three; maximum of five)

  1. Applicants must provide the email address of the letter writer on the application; the letter writer will be notified that they are able to upload their letter directly to the application
  2. Letters will only be accepted via the SSO online match system — no letters will be accepted via mail or email

g) Test scores (as applicable)

  3. USMLE
  4. ECFMG certificate

h) Certification and licensure information
i) Professional liability claims and discipline — be prepared to upload a list of any claim
j) Health status

Contact information

Zoe Bowens
Program Coordinator
1520 San Pablo Street, Suite 4300
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Phone: (323) 442-8168

Stephen F. Sener, MD
Program Director