Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program

Overview and mission

The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is a three-year training program that prepares physicians to become clinician educators or physician scientists.

The majority of trainees are pediatricians who wish to pursue academic careers in clinical, epidemiological, translational or laboratory-based research.

The Divisions of Hematology and Oncology both have NIH T32 and K12 training grants that may enable the fellow to continue at a junior faculty level for several years of additional training post-fellowship.

CHOP’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program is a large and renowned program. It has a substantial patient population, as well as a strong laboratory and clinical research program. It has an outstanding record for training subspecialists.

Fellowship leaders

Fellowship training program director

Leslie Kersun, MD, MSCE, MSEd

Fellowship training associate program director

Michael Hogarty, MD

Chief, Division of Hematology

Mortimer Poncz, MD

Chief, Division of Oncology

Stephen Hunger, MD

Program objectives

The Hematology/Oncology Fellowship enables the fellow to:

  • Acquire a fund of knowledge and skills necessary to diagnose and treat patients with hematological and oncologic diseases
  • Cultivate the personal and professional qualities essential to be a competent physician
  • Prepare for an academic career involving teaching and research

The program achieves these goals through a combination of clinical experience, structured educational activities and a mentored research project in the second and third years. Both clinical work and research projects are formally defined, reviewed and evaluated by longitudinal mentors and Clinical Competency and Scholarship Oversight Committees.

Research expectations and opportunities

The fellow participates in at least two years of training with 80% of their time protected for research and academic activities. There are a number of opportunities for laboratory, translational or clinical research in both the Division of Hematology and the Division of Oncology. The fellow is encouraged to meet with program and divisional leadership and a variety of potential mentors for additional advice, suggestions or guidance in choosing a research path.

Additional training or educational experience includes attending at least one national meeting during the first and second year of research training. Another option is to attend one of a variety of intensive, hands-on workshops (e.g., Cold Spring Harbor Courses, the AACR Molecular Biology of Clinical Oncology Workshop).

Clinical or translational investigation

Fellows interested in pursuing clinical research usually complete a Master's level curriculum in order to fulfill the requirements for the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship. This will include attending a number of core and elective courses over a two-year period, as well as the design and execution of a clinical project in conjunction with the Hematology/Oncology mentor, a statistician and a University of Pennsylvania mentor from the Master's program.

Those who wish to pursue a clinical research career are encouraged to obtain formal training in epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy, bioethics or clinical pharmacology and outcomes. Usually this training is accomplished through a Master of Science program at The University of Pennsylvania (Penn)'s Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB) or through programs in the different schools at Penn.

There are a variety of  Master’s Programs available to fellows in our training program. The most common degree programs completed by our fellows include:

  • Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (MSCE)
  • Health Policy (MSHP)
  • Translational Research (MTR)
  • Bioethics (MBE)
  • Other areas

Clinical activities within hematology and oncology

Hematology

The Division of Hematology includes inpatient, consultative and outpatient services, the Apheresis program, the Transfusion Medicine program and clinical research programs in hemophilia, sickle cell disease, thalassemia and bone marrow failure.

Fellows in our program provide outpatient diagnosis, management and consultation at the Hospital's Main Campus.

Oncology

The clinical program in Oncology is one of the largest in the United States. There are approximately 600 new patients evaluated each year. The average daily inpatient census is approximately 50 patients, cared for on four separate oncology services, and the outpatient clinic has 25-30,000 visits annually (average of 80-100 patients per day).

The Division of Oncology has specialized clinical research programs and allied translational laboratory programs in:

  • Hematologic malignancies
  • Solid tumors
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Bone marrow transplant and cellular therapy
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Developmental therapeutics
  • Cancer predisposition
  • Histiocytic disorders
  • Psychosocial oncology
  • Vascular malformations
  • Fertility preservation

We also have an active collaboration with palliative care. The program annually enrolls one of the largest numbers of patients to therapeutic and non-therapeutic studies of the Children's Oncology Group. It is also one of nine programs in the University of Pennsylvania’s Comprehensive Abramson Cancer Center.

Program curriculum

Year one

The first year of the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program consists of:

  • Clinical rotations in inpatient and consultative hematology, hematologic malignancies, solid tumors, bone marrow transplantation/cellular therapy, neuro-oncology and clinical laboratories.
  • Participation in outpatient clinics in hematology and oncology two half-days each week.
  • Acquiring a cohort of patients for whom he or she is the primary physician throughout the training program.

During the first year, the fellow chooses research training and a mentor in either clinical, translational or laboratory-based research.  This process actually starts after the match where they have the opportunity to come to begin discussions with potential research mentors.  Once they arrive, the program leadership oversees a year-long process to assist trainees in identifying a best-fit for their research career.

In the second and third years, the fellow spends 1/2 day every other week in outpatient continuity clinic in order to maintain their clinical skills, promote continuity with their patient panels and allow them significant protected time to dedicate to their research.

Educational opportunities

  1. Core curriculum lectures in both Hematology and Oncology (weekly)
  2. Clinical care guidelines
  3. Weekly Hematology Grand Rounds (weekly)
  4. Tumor Boards (weekly)
  5. Clinical conferences:  Hematologic Malignancy, Solid Tumor, Neuro-Oncology, BMT/Cellular Therapy, Hemostasis and Thrombosis, Bone Marrow Failure (weekly)
  6. Precision Medicine conference (monthly)
  7. Hematopathology unknown case (monthly)
  8. BMT educational lecture series (monthly)
  9. Opportunities for Board Review
  10. Communication of serious news (yearly seminar for each fellowship class)
  11. Regional and national meetings (ASPHO, ASH, AACR, ASCO, COG)
  12. Children's Hospital Medical Library and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Library

Outcomes of past fellows

More than 90 percent of our fellows go into academic medicine. In recent years fellows have taken faculty positions at:

  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • AFLAC Children’s Hospital (Emory)
  • Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Children’s Hospital Orlando
  • Duke University
  • Indiana University
  • New York University
  • Northwestern University
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital (University of Washington)
  • Texas Children's Hospital at Baylor
  • University of California at San Diego
  • University of California San Francisco
  • University of Chicago Children’s Hospital
  • University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • University of Michigan Children’s Hospital
  • University of Texas SouthwesternVanderbilt University
  • Washington University

All of our graduates have taken and passed the Hematology/Oncology Board examinations. Fellows regularly receive ASPHO young investigator awards, ASCO training awards, ALSF Young Investigator and SBF Fellow and Scholar awards. Many of our trainees go on to receive NIH K08/K23 training grants.

How to apply

The Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program participates in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), thorough the Association of American Medical Colleges. The application is available on the ERAS website for fellowship positions beginning each July.

Requirements

The three-year fellowship seeks physicians who:

  • Have completed two or three years of training in an accredited residency program
  • Are board-eligible in pediatrics

Instructions for application

To apply for the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program, the following should be completed and uploaded to the ERAS program:

  1. ERAS online application.
  2. At least three letters of reference.
  3. A letter from the Dean of your medical school and a medical school transcript.
  4. Curriculum Vitae.
  5. A personal statement describing your career goals and reasons for continuing training in pediatric hematology/oncology.
  6. Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the USMLE taken within the seven-year time frame as required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or equivalent scores.
  7. If a graduate of a medical school outside the United States, Canada or Puerto Rico, a valid ECFMG certificate or one that does not expire prior to the start of the fellowship.
  8. If not a citizen of the United States or permanent resident, provide a copy of current, appropriate visa.

The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship program participates in the National Resident Matching Program.

More information

To learn more, contact the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship coordinator:

Guyana Vinson
Phone: 267-425-3019
Fax: 267-426-0685
vinsong@email.chop.edu

Tobacco-free hiring policy

To help preserve and improve the health of our patients, their families and our employees, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has a tobacco-free hiring policy. This policy applies to all candidates for employment (other than those with regularly scheduled hours in New Jersey) for all positions, including those covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Job applicants who apply after July 1, 2014 will be expected to sign an attestation stating they’ve been free of nicotine or tobacco products in any form for the prior thirty (30) days. They will also undergo a cotinine test as a part of the Occupational Health pre-placement drug screen administered after the offer of employment has been accepted but before the first day of hire.

Exemptions: Attending physicians (excluding CHOP physicians in the Care Network), psychologists, principal investigators and/or Penn-based faculty are exempt from this process to better align with our colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine