Dalhousie University



Fellowship in Head & Neck Oncology/Reconstructive Microsurgery


Fellowship in Head and Neck Oncology / Reconstructive Microsurgery

Department of Surgery

Division of Otolaryngology

Head and Neck Surgery

Dalhousie University


1.  Application process

Please forward applications and inquiries to:

Dr. S. Mark Taylor – Fellowship Director

Suite 3052

3rd Floor Dickson Building

5820 University Avenue

Halifax, NS  B3H 1V7



All applicants are required to submit a current Curriculum Vitae and three letters of reference to the Fellowship Director.  From these applications a total of three to five applicants will be selected for interview.  The interview process is a team effort involving the three academic Head and Neck surgeons and the current Head and Neck oncology fellow.   Successful candidates will have Royal College of Canada certification in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery or its equivalent.  To date, we have had fellows from North American, Australasia, and Europe.   A solid grounding in Head and Neck surgery is a prerequisite for successful application for the fellowship.


2.  Goals and objectives

The educational objectives of this one year fellowship are for the graduating fellow to have extensive experience in advanced Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery and Head and Neck Reconstruction including Reconstructive Microsurgery.  Our goal is to provide comprehensive multidisciplinary training to individuals who are committed to a career in Head and Neck Oncology.   Our Head and Neck Oncology Service is a tertiary level service with referrals from throughout the Maritime Provinces of Canada. 


The educational objectives of the fellowship are:

  • to provide expertise in the multidisciplinary management of Head and Neck cancer patients

  • to practice effectively in a multidisciplinary tertiary care environment

  • to develop competence in Microvascular Head and Neck Reconstructive Surgery

  • to develop skills in Transoral Laser Microsurgery for Head and Neck cancer

  • to develop an expertise in endocrine surgery of the Head and Neck, namely thyroid and parathyroid surgery

  • to obtain broad base knowledge and comprehensive principles in the management of Head and Neck cancer which will include exposure to radiation oncology, medical oncology, maxillofacial prosthetics, oncologic nutrition, speech rehabilitation and diagnostic radiology

  • the candidate should achieve competency in the management of Head and Neck skin cancer as well as the reconstructive options for various defects of the face, head and neck

  • to develop expertise in the management of patients with facial paralysis

  • to participate in the education of residents and medical students and to develop expertise in medical education


The fellow will spend one day a week in the Head and Neck oncology clinic under the guidance of the three preceptors.  They will also be expected to be present for the Tuesday ward rounds for various Head and Neck oncology inpatients where case management is discussed in detail.  The fellow will also be expected to attend Head and Neck Oncology Tumor Board which is a multidisciplinary team approach to new Head and Neck cancer patients seen at our institution.  


From a surgical standpoint the fellow will have at least three to four days a week in the operating room.  The fellow will be expected to supervise both residents and medical students with basic Head and Neck oncologic procedures as well as endocrine surgery of the Head and Neck.  He will be incorporated into the call schedule at the discretion of the Fellowship Director and of the attending staff in Head and Neck surgery. 


The research goals of the fellowship are extensive.  The fellow will be expected to present and publish two articles in a peer reviewed journal in our specialty.  The fellow will also have the opportunity to develop their research skills in basic science.  Currently we have a molecular biology lab that we operate in conjunction with the National Research Council of Canada.  There will be an opportunity to pursue detailed research in the area of transoral laser microsurgery.  The fellow will also have the opportunity to work with residents and medical students in our training program on various clinical research projects.  The research goals will be set on a yearly basis by the Fellowship Director. 


3.  Evaluation and promotion

The Fellowship Director will meet with the fellow on a regular basis to evaluate his progress during the fellowship.  On a quarterly basis an evaluation will be completed by the Fellowship Director.  The evaluation will be completed on the one45 system.   Currently we have a template for evaluation in Head and Neck Oncology and Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery and the plan will be to use this on an ongoing basis.  If there is a concern regarding the development of the fellow during the fellowship period then a remediation program will be outlined to the fellow by the Fellowship Director. 


4.  Completion of training

At the completion of training of the fellow a final in-training evaluation will be completed by the Fellowship Director.  The fellow will also receive a certificate from the Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery outlining the time period of the fellowship and the fellows’ area of expertise, namely Head and Neck Surgery-Reconstructive Microsurgery.


5.  Interface with residents

The role of the Head and Neck oncology fellow shall be clearly defined by the Head and Neck oncologic staff.  The goal is to run the fellowship parallel to the residency training program and not to interfere with resident related experience.  The fellow will be designated to all free flap reconstructions of the Head and Neck.  They will be expected to harvest, inset and to perform microvascular anastomosis on all reconstructive microsurgery cases.  The head and neck ablative surgery will be done in combination with one of the senior residents on the service and the attending Head and Neck oncologic staff.   The fellow will be involved in oncologic ablations if it is felt to be at a level that is above that of the designated senior resident.   The fellow will also be involved in various skull base resections of the Head and Neck given if this is felt to be, once again, outside the normal training realm for a senior resident in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.   On the ward the fellow should function independent from the resident staff.   The residents do not round in conjunction with the fellow.  The fellow, however, will be responsible for all advanced Head and Neck oncology reconstructive cases and will report directly to the staff regarding patient progress and plans for discharge.


The fellow will be invited to participate in various academic affiliated programs in the Division.  The fellow should attend weekly Grand Rounds and also any educational seminars on Head and Neck Surgery and Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.  Occasionally the fellow will be given the task of teaching the residents based on their previous experience and whether or not their knowledge base is deemed appropriate to do so.   The fellow will work closely with the three supervising Head and Neck surgeons in various research endeavors.  

This may involve some collaboration with the resident staff but certainly the research plan and goals for the fellows’ year will be outlined by the Fellowship Director and will be accounted for separately then the resident complement.


6.  Funding

The fellows will be paid at the PGY6 level.  They will also be offered financial support to present at a minimum of one scientific meeting during the course of the year.  Pending the interest of the fellow, financial support can also be arranged for one course during the one year term of the fellowship.  A course dedicated to reconstructive microsurgery of the head and neck currently is recommended.  The fellow will also receive administrative support from the Fellowship Director and from the other staff members involved in the Head and Neck Oncology Program.


7.  Supervision

Three members of the Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Division are involved with the fellowship training program.  Dr. Jonathan Trites, Dr. Rob Hart and Dr. Mark Taylor are involved in the day to day activity of the fellowship program.  These individuals will meet on a quarterly basis to discuss the progress of the fellow and any suggestions for improvement will be discussed with the fellow at the quarterly meeting to address the fellow’s overall progression through the one year fellowship.  The Fellowship Director, Dr. Mark Taylor, will be charged with the overall administrative responsibility for the fellowship and the coordination of quarterly meetings with the fellow.



Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine