engage ~ Transform ~ Lead


The Contemplative Medicine Fellowship is a twelve-month training for physicians, advanced practice registered nurses (NP & CNM), and physician assistants who want to lead change in the culture of care. The fellowship is designed to immerse participants in the true experience of the alleviation of suffering in their personal and professional lives.


The core training of contemplative medicine is based on the practices of wisdom, ethics, and contentment as prescribed by the historical Buddha 2,600 years ago.


Together fellows explore how to integrate and apply these foundational understandings to all relationships. This innovative program cultivates and supports leaders among fellows committed to addressing the real and significant challenges in caring for the suffering world.


Take part in this unique opportunity to restore resilience, well-being, and joy to healthcare.






“The compassion crisis could turn the profession of health care providers from a calling into a job… Health care needs to be a calling. Walking with people through the worst, most intimate moments of their lives is a sacred thing.”

–Stephen Trzeciak and Anthony Mazzarelli
Compassionomics:  The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence That Caring Makes a Difference


Fellowship Guiding Teachers: Chodo Robert Campbell Sensei, GC-C, Tieraona Low Dog, MD, and Koshin Paley Ellison Sensei, MFA, LMSW, DMIN

Fellows are led through the year-long curriculum by Fellowship guiding teachers Koshin Paley Ellison Sensei, MFA, LMSW, DMIN and Chodo Robert Campbell Sensei, GC-C—co-founders of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care—and Tieraona Low Dog, MD, an internationally recognized physician, author, educator and thought leader in integrative medicine.


An interdisciplinary faculty of visionary teachers, changemakers, and leading clinicians join Fellows for bimonthly conversations exploring contemporary approaches to the challenges of practicing medicine:

Contemplative Educator: Barbara Doshin Ende, MA


Faculty: Judson Brewer, MD, PhD • Rev. Cynthia Carter Perrilliat, MPA • Shakil Choudhury • Jerry Colonna  James Crews • James Doty, MD • Daniel Goleman, PhD • Trudy Goodman, PhD • Bianca Harris, MD • Dan Harris • Jasmine D. Hill, PhD • Ruth King, MA • Diane E. Meier, MD • Naomi Shihab Nye • Sharon Salzberg Pamela Ayo Yetunde, JD, ThD


Advisory Council: Craig D. Blinderman, MD • Sezelle Gereau, MD • Bianca Harris, MD • Robert (Red) Schiller, MD, ABFP


Faculty in Previous Years: Ross Gay • Marie Howe 


Shaped by the vision of Co-Founders, Chodo Robert Campbell Sensei and Koshin Paley Ellison Sensei, the Zen Center has proven itself a leader in developing and teaching Contemplative Care as a means of addressing the crisis in healthcare. We understand Contemplative Care as an approach to care that nurtures the flow of wholehearted intimacy, connection, and awareness naturally available between individuals.


Since 2007, the Zen Center’s contemplative care training has found expression through many forms, including:


  • Pioneering evidence-based research with the LTSS Center at UMass Boston measuring the impact of our contemplative approach to care

  • Providing graduate and post-graduate curriculum and instructions around contemplative care practices for leading integrative physicians and nurse practitioners through appointments as faculty in two international integrative medicine fellowships

  • Launching the groundbreaking Foundations in Contemplative Care nine-month training program for professional and volunteer caregivers

  • Developing Contemplative Orientation to Resilience (COR), an evidence-based healthcare intervention that introduces contemplative practice as the foundation for resilience in the workplace

  • Establishing the first nationally accredited Clinical Buddhist Chaplaincy program in the country

  • Creating a dynamic and clinically oriented Buddhist track of studies within the New York Theological Seminary (NYTS) Master of Pastoral Care and Counseling degree program


Read more about Contemplative Care > 

Fellows from the 2021–2022 cohort share their experience of the Contemplative Medicine Fellowship.


Over fifteen years of engagement in healthcare environments, we have heard again and again from clinicians that those providing care must receive the training and support needed to enhance resilience, nurture compassion, and sustain well-being on both sides of the healthcare equation, and a contemplative approach to care is critical in addressing these gaps.


Building on our experience and expertise in Contemplative Care education and training, the Zen Center launched the Contemplative Medicine Fellowship* —a program specifically developed for practicing physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Unlike most traditional fellowships, the fellowship clinical site is the clinician’s own place of practice, and the fellowship is designed to support existing clinical responsibilities.

Fellows learn to put into practice the contemplative approach to care which:


  • Benefits patients by improving clinical encounters and relationships with HCPs providing a more intimate and nourishing experience
  • Benefits practitioners by helping to reduce individual and team burnout and stress while promoting resilience and new meaning for HCPs
  • Benefits health care systems by promoting behaviors that support improved care delivery, productive and easeful relationships among staff, reduced turnover, and cost reduction


  • Monthly live Zoom-based Training Sessions

  • Online learning consisting of monthly lectures presented by core faculty, visionary teachers, changemakers, and leading physicians supported by accompanying literature and research studies, reflective writing, and case studies

  • Mentorship by core faculty through monthly opportunities for Zoom-based one-on-one meetings scheduled during office hours

  • Daily contemplative practice supported by online teachings from Koshin Sensei, Chodo Sensei, and Tieraona Low Dog, MD

  • Clinical assignments for developing core competencies and applying contemplative practices in your care setting 

  • Two, four-day residential retreats that emphasize contemplative practice, and guided group learning and discussion

  • Completion of a professional development capstone project that allows participants to take their training into their clinical environment or community and examine how that impacts their practice and their life

  • Optional Silent Retreat

The curriculum centers the integration of contemplative practice into daily clinical life as an ongoing foundation for compassionate care, an integrated personal and professional life, resilience, and continual transformation. It is rooted in the Zen Center’s tradition of socially engaged Buddhism with a 1500-year experience-based pedagogical model that is accessible to anyone of any or no tradition.

The core curriculum consists of:

  • Training in meditation and contemplative practices

  • Examining the basis and alleviation of suffering through the basic tenets of Buddhist thought—The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path

  • Training in Contemplative Orientation to Resilience (COR), our evidence-based healthcare intervention emphasizing community, agency, and meaning as sources of strength for clinicians, patients, and co-workers

  • Addressing the roots of social isolation, burnout, loss of meaning, and secondary traumatic stress through the lens of medical and Zen ethics

  • Developing and applying contemplative communication and interpersonal skills for partnership-centered care and leading change

  • Examining core competencies of the clinician’s profession through the lens of contemplative medicine

  • Integrating contemplative care and values into personal and professional roles

  • Completing a quality improvement capstone project guided by the principles of contemplative medicine that enhances the fellow’s clinical practice

    Download an overview of the monthly curriculum here.

The 2023-2024 cohort begins July 29, 2023 and concludes June 30, 2024. Applications are now being accepted on a rolling basis.

The First Residential Retreat is scheduled for October 25 – 29, 2023 at Garrison Institute in Garrison, NY.

The Closing Residential Retreat is scheduled for June 26 – June 30, 2024 at Garrison Institute in Garrison, NY.


Monthly zoom-based learning occurs on the following Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET:


  • 2023: July 29, August 19, September 23, October (First Residential Retreat), November 18, December 16
  • 2024: January 27, February 24, March 16, April 13, May 18, June (Closing Retreat)


Visiting Faculty Sessions occur on the first and third Wednesdays of the month, 7:30–8:45 p.m. ET via Zoom with exceptions for holidays.

Fellows are strongly encouraged to attend an optional silent retreat (Sesshin). A cornerstone of Zen practice, the Japanese word sesshin refers to an intensive period of meditation and literally translates to “touching the heart-mind.” This retreat is scheduled for January 10-14, 2024.

Fellows attend two four-day residential retreats during the Fellowship.

The first retreat is typically in October, emphasizing community building, contemplative practice, and guided group learning and discussion.

The fellowship culminates with a closing retreat, generally held in June, that focuses on integration of the twelve-month training, celebrating capstone projects, and exploring how the cohort will continue to collaborate and support one another post-fellowship.

Retreats are held at Garrison Institute, and onsite participation is required.

Fellows are also encouraged to attend an optional silent retreat (Sesshin). A cornerstone of Zen practice, the Japanese word sesshin refers to an intensive period of meditation and literally translates to “touching the heart-mind.” This retreat is held each January.

Please note that required and optional retreats and travel costs are not included in the Fellowship tuition.

Dates can be found in the Program Schedule section.

Tuition for the twelve-month program is $10,500 (payable by check or credit card). This does not include the cost of the two required in-person retreats.

The first non-refundable payment of $5,250 is due 2 weeks after fellows are accepted to the program.

The non-refundable balance payment of $5,250 is due one month before the program begins.
Alternate payment plans are available for those in need of them.


We are pleased to offer a limited number of partial tuition scholarships based on financial need with a focus on supporting candidates who are:

  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)

  • Primarily working within underserved communities

Scholarship funds are limited and are first come, first awarded. International candidates are encouraged to apply.


We encourage applicants to seek tuition assistance from their place of practice before applying for our limited scholarship funds.


Scholarship applications are reviewed on a rolling basis in conjunction with the full application for the Contemplative Medicine Fellowship.

Please note that we often have more scholarship requests than resources available in a given year, and we make every effort to accommodate requests accordingly.

For further information, please contact us at info@zencare.org

At the center of the Fellowship methodology is a relationship-centered, cohort-based model that builds genuine, enduring fellowship based upon the values of intimacy, curiosity, and courage. Each fellow’s commitment to their own and their peer’s journey simultaneously challenges and supports deep transformation.


Unlike traditional fellowships, the fellowship clinical site is the clinician’s own place of practice—in the midst of their full lives—and the fellowship is designed to provide ongoing training and support to incorporate contemplative practice into the whole of one’s daily life.


The fellowship has adopted a low-residency model that immerses participants in contemplative practice and engaged, experiential learning while supporting existing clinical responsibilities.


Designed for clinicians of multiple professions and care models, the fellowship also promotes interprofessional collaborative practice leading to improved cooperation, communication, and integration among care in teams.


Fellows learn how to transform the way they care for others, their loved ones, and themselves by drawing on the tradition of Zen—the experience of disciplined practice in a shared community.

While medical education and practice has most recently been focused on the understanding of pathophysiology and treatment of disease, it is also a tradition that has long valued caregiving as a priority of clinical intervention (Kleinman 2020). Medicine has also traditionally been considered a healing profession, “but it has neither an operational definition of healing nor explanation of its mechanisms beyond the physiological processes related to curing.” (Egnew 2005)

Reclaiming both compassionate care and the alleviation of suffering as priorities in medicine is the Zen Center’s mission and is the goal of the Fellowship. The twelve-month training seeks to bring together the two streams of the participant’s clinical training and their contemplative practice, finding their shared roots and creating a contemplative medicine. This rigorous training engenders radical compassion in both the clinician and the patient, acting as the healing agent of suffering and empowering clinicians to lead change in the culture of care.

To read more about the defining principles guiding the fellowship, click here.


Physicians (MD and DO), advanced practice registered nurses (nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives), and physician assistants who are collaborators and changemakers aspiring to serve as leaders in transforming the culture of care for themselves, their patients, and the health systems within which they practice get the most out of the Fellowship.

Although the fellowship is designed to be supportive of a practicing clinician’s life, it is an intensive training program requiring each fellow’s wholehearted engagement.


The program welcomes applicants from any background who have had an ongoing personal contemplative practice (e.g., meditation, yoga, centering prayer, etc.) for at least six months, have participated in a contemplative retreat, and share a commitment to exploring the intersection of contemplative practice, healthcare, and social action.


The program is currently accepting applications from licensed clinicians who are practicing and plan to continue practicing during and after the Fellowship as: physicians (MD and DO), advanced practice registered nurses (nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives), or physician assistants. Clinicians of other professions who are interested in a contemplative approach to care may wish to apply for our nine-month Foundations in Contemplative Care training. 


Applications for the 2023-24 academic year are now being accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.


Space is limited. The application deadline is June 23, 2023, but we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Once the Fellowship is fully enrolled, applications will be held for the following academic year.


To apply:


When all materials are received, we will review your application, conduct a background check, and if appropriate, contact you to set up an interview via Zoom.


After the interview, you will be notified regarding your acceptance.


No, we welcome individuals from any or no formal tradition.

No, applicants need not be part of a formal spiritual community.

The program welcomes applicants from any background who have had an ongoing personal contemplative practice (e.g., meditation, yoga, centering prayer, etc.) for at least six months, have participated in a contemplative retreat, and share our commitment to exploring the intersection of contemplative practice, healthcare, and social action.

At NYZC, we practice the contemplative practice of zazen, or Zen meditation, as a foundational practice in our Contemplative Care training. However, contemplative practices are broad-ranging and unique to individuals and communities—inclusive of meditation, prayer, and deep listening. Please see The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society’s The Tree of Contemplative Practices, for a more comprehensive exploration of diverse contemplative practices.

Monthly Saturday training days are held virtually via Zoom.

Please see Residential Retreats for information about the opening and closing retreats.

Applications for the 2023-24 academic year are now being accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. The deadline for submitting your application is June 23th, 2023.

Click here to learn more about the application process.

Click to learn more about the application process.

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*A project supported by the Dr. Robert Ira Lewy Contemplative Care Initiative

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