Breast Surgery Fellowship

The multidisciplinary breast surgery fellowship at Columbia University Irving Medical Center is a one-year Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) approved fellowship that provides in-depth exposure to all aspects of breast care, with the aim of training future leaders in the field of breast surgery. While the emphasis is on surgical oncology training, other core components of the program include clinical research as well as longitudinal multidisciplinary care.

Training takes place at the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center Campus, which is one of the oldest and largest medical institutions in the United States. The medical center is the teaching hospital for the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons; consequently the fellow interacts with house officers of multiple specialties as well as medical students. The location in the Washington Heights area of Manhattan brings a diverse patient population with benign disease, as well as early and advanced breast cancer. In addition, the fellow will rotate at NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester in Bronxville, providing experience in a community hospital setting.

Fellowship Objectives

The breast fellowship will enable the trainee to acquire an advanced body of knowledge and level of skill in the evaluation and treatment of patients with breast disease and those at high-risk for breast cancer.

Fellows will gain

  • Understanding of the biology, evaluation and treatment of benign breast disease, including screening for breast cancer.
  • Experience in the evaluation of breast problems in an office-based setting.
  • Training in the classification and evaluation of mammographic abnormalities as well as the indications, techniques and complications of image-guided breast biopsy.
  • The ability to counsel patients on treatment options for the loco-regional therapy of breast cancer.
  • Mastery of surgical techniques involved in the care of patients with breast disease, including sentinel lymphadenectomy, ductal lavage, insertion of radiotherapy catheters and oncoplastic techniques.
  • Experience in basic cytology and pathology of the breast.
  • Training in the indications, complications, techniques, results and, biology of breast irradiation.
  • Understanding of the indications, results and basic biology of systemic therapy for breast cancer.
  • Ability to critically evaluate the relevant medical literature and make meaningful contributions to the field.
  • The fellow will attend structured didactic basic science and clinical lectures locally and nationally.

Fellows will be recommended for an appointment at the level of Clinical Instructor in Surgery for the duration of the fellowship.

Fellowship Organization

The fellowship is organized as follows:

  • Rotation: Breast Surgery and Plastic Surgery
    Training Period: 9 months
  • Rotation: Breast Imaging
    Training Period: 4 weeks
  • Rotation: Medical Oncology and Outpatient Clinics
    Training Period: 2 weeks
  • Rotation: Pathology
    Training Period: 2 weeks
  • Rotation: Radiation Oncology/Genetic Counseling
    Training Period: 2 weeks

Research, Presentations, and Publications

The Breast Surgery Division is actively involved in research and promotes our fellow’s involvement in research projects. The fellow is required to submit at least 2 abstracts a year and at least one publication during the year. Recent fellow projects include lymphovenous anastomosis, ductal-lobular anatomy mapping, radiofrequency ablation, extending nipple-sparing mastectomy indications, and pleomorphic lobular carcinoma. All of our fellows from the last 5 years have worked together on projects with the residents and obtained funding from Department of Surgery start-up grants. Prior fellows have presented research at meetings of the Society for Surgical Oncology, American Society of Breast Surgeons, ASCO Breast, and the Herbert Irving Cancer Center retreat. The fellow also learns to evaluate scientific publications and to attend basic science and clinical research seminars.


Fellows will be evaluated during each rotation by participating faculty. In addition, the program director will meet with the fellow at three months, six months and 11 months to provide performance feedback.

Fellows will be assessed on their success in meeting the goals for curriculum and skills acquisition. In addition, fellows will be expected to:

  • Complete at least one scholarly project suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Give at least one presentation in a national meeting
  • Participate in teaching medical students and residents


The applicant must have completed their residency training in general surgery at an accredited program in the United States, must be Board eligible or Board-certified, and must possess a valid New York medical license at all times during the training program.

To Apply

The Columbia University Breast Surgery Fellowship is a Society of Surgical Oncology-approved training program. All applications must be established through the SSO Match Program. Please visit the Society for Surgical Oncology website for additional application information.

Contact Information

Bret Taback, MD, FACS | Program Director
Phone: (212) 305-9676

Yosandriz Diaz | Division Administrator
Phone: (212) 342-3911