THE COMPASSION CRISIS
“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
JOIN US IN CHANGING THE CULTURE OF CARE
The Contemplative Medicine Fellowship is a twelve-month training for physicians, nurse practitioners, 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 in the practices of wisdom, ethics, and contentment as prescribed by the historical Buddha 2,600 years ago and equally relevant today. Together fellows will 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 a suffering world.
Take part in this unique opportunity to restore resilience, well-being, and joy to healthcare.
THE CONTEMPLATIVE APPROACH
Shaped by the vision of Co-Founders, Sensei Chodo Robert Campbell and Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison, 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.
Now in its fourteenth year, 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 medical 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
ABOUT THE FELLOWSHIP
Over more than a decade 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 is launching 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 physicians and nurse 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
- Two, four-day residential retreats that emphasize contemplative practice, guided group learning and discussion, lectures, and individual meetings with core faculty
- Monthly live Zoom-based Training Sessions
- Online learning that consists 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 in the form of monthly Zoom-based individual meetings with your Contemplative Care Mentor and peer group meetings facilitated by your mentor
- Daily contemplative practice supported by online teachings from Sensei Koshin and Sensei Chodo
- Clinical assignments for developing core competencies and applying contemplative practices in their care setting to enhance the delivery of care
- 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
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 will 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.
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 2022-2023 cohort begins July 2022 and concludes June 2023.
- July 30 – Aug 20, 2022
- Aug 21 – Sept 24
- Sept 25 – Oct 30 (retreat Oct 26-30)
- Oct 31 – Nov 19
- Nov 20 – Dec 17
- Dec 18 – Jan 28, 2023
- Jan 29 – Feb 18
- Feb 19 – Mar 18
- Mar 19 – Apr 15
- Apr 16 – May 27
- May 28 – July 2 (retreat Jun 28 – July 2)
Applications are now being accepted on a rolling basis
Confirmed members of our growing Fellowship faculty include:
Craig D. Blinderman, MD
Sezelle Gereau, MD
Bianca Harris, MD
Robert (Red) Schiller, MD, ABFP
Fellows attend two four-day residential retreats during the Fellowship.
The first retreat is typically in October, emphasizing community building, contemplative practice, guided group learning and discussion, lectures, and individual meetings with mentors and core faculty.
The fellowship culminates with a closing retreat 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.
Retreat locations are TBD, and onsite participation is required. If in-person retreats are unable to be held due to COVID or other reasons, we will virtually convene for retreat within the scheduled dates.
Please note that these retreats and travel costs are not included in the Fellowship tuition.
tuition & Scholarships
Tuition for the twelve-month program is $9,500 (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 $4,750 is due 2 weeks after fellows are accepted to the program.
The non-refundable balance payment of $4,750 is due one month before the program begins.
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 it’s 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 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, nurse practitioners, 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 will 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), nurse practitioners or physician assistants. Clinicians of other professions who are interested in this program may wish to apply for our nine-month Foundations in Contemplative Care training.
ADMISSIONS / HOW TO APPLY
Applications for the 2022-23 academic year are now accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.
Space is limited. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Once the Fellowship is fully enrolled, applications will be held for the following academic year.
- Verify eligibility requirements
- Complete the online application, which includes submission of your current CV and the non-refundable application fee of $125.
- Request someone (teacher, friend, colleague) who knows your contemplative/spiritual practice to complete a reference form and submit it as instructed on the form.
- Request a clinician who supports your growth as a leader to complete a reference form and submit it as instructed on the form.
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 Skype or 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 2022-23 academic year are now being accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.
Click here to learn more about the application process.
Need more information?
Submit your contact details and we will get back to you to answer any of your questions about the Contemplative Medicine Fellowship.
*A project supported by the Dr. Robert Ira Lewy Contemplative Care Initiative