Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program

Overview and mission

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

The majority of trainees are pediatricians who wish to pursue academic careers in clinical, epidemiological, translational or laboratory-based research. There are also post-doctoral research programs for PhDs who do not actively participate in the clinical service.

Both the hematology and oncology programs at CHOP have NIH T32 and K12 training grants that may enable the fellow to continue at a junior faculty level for one or two additional years. Participation in these grants allows the fellow to apply for NIH loan forgiveness.

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, third and often fourth years. Similarly, research projects are formally defined and reviewed.

Research expectations and opportunities

The fellow participates in at least two years of research training. There are a number of opportunities for laboratory and/or clinical research in both the Division of Hematology and the Division of Oncology. The fellow is encouraged to meet with the directors of research hematology and oncology for additional advice, suggestions or guidance in choosing a laboratory.

Once the fellow identifies a laboratory mentor, it will be important to formulate a project or proposal that is written, reviewed and approved. There should be a testable hypothesis that addresses some mechanism of disease or cellular or protein function and a plan which outlines specific approaches or experiments to pursue or address this question.

The project should have an achievable goal that could be accomplished in the allotted time, allowing time to learn various techniques. The proposal can be a two- to three-page narrative summary or a summary in the form of a very brief NIH grant proposal. The proposal should also include relevant references from the field as well as the mentor but should not be extensive. After the completion of the project, the fellow will prepare a manuscript suitable for publication.

Additional training or educational experience includes attending at least one national meeting during the first and second year of laboratory 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) during the third year.

Clinical 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 and a mentor from the Master's program.

The Master's degree programs include:

  • Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Genetic Epidemiology
  • Health Sciences/Outcomes Research
  • Cancer Pharmacology
  • Experimental Therapeutics
  • Other areas

Pursuit of these programs will require review by a selection committee and acceptance into the program.

Clinical activities within hematology and oncology


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

Outpatient diagnosis, management and consultation are provided at the Hospital's Main Campus, the Specialty Care and Surgical Center in Voorhees, NJ and the Hematology/Oncology Lehigh Valley Practice in Western Pennsylvania.


The clinical program in Oncology is one of the largest in the United States. There are approximately 350 to 400 new patients each year. The average daily inpatient census is 30 and the outpatient clinic sees 60 to 80 patients daily.

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

  • Leukemia
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Sarcoma
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Late effects of cancer

There is a combined program with Critical Care Medicine in palliative care. The program contributes the largest numbers of patients to therapeutic and non-therapeutic studies of the Children's Oncology Group and is the recipient of the greatest support from that group. It is also a program in the University of Pennsylvania’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and has been rated as outstanding in the most recent NIH competitive renewal. 

Program curriculum

Year one

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

  • Clinical rotations in hematology, oncology, bone marrow transplantation, neuro-oncology and clinical laboratories.
  • Participation in outpatient clinics in hematology and oncology one full day or two half days a week.
  • Acquiring a cohort of patients for whom he or she is the primary physician throughout the training program.

Toward the end of the first year, the fellow chooses research training in either clinical research or laboratory-based research.

Those who wish to pursue a clinical research career are encouraged to obtain formal training in epidemiology, biostatistics, 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.

Fellows who wish to pursue laboratory research will select a mentor and together they will submit a research proposal to the Fellowship Committee.

Year two and three

In the second year, the fellow spends one day a week in outpatient continuity clinic. Laboratory researchers have the option to reduce this to every other week in year three.

Curriculum resources

Universal resources

Fellows are expected to know the contents of and use of the following resources:

  1. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Oncology, DG Poplack and PA Pizzo, eds.
  2. Hematology of Infancy and Childhood, DG Nathan and FA Oski, eds.
  3. Content outline of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Sub-board
  4. Major general and specialized journals: NEJM, Lancet, Nature Medicine, Science, Nature, Blood, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cancer Research
  5. Internet resources: Pubmed database, PDQ, etc.
  6. Computer resources including a word processing program, spreadsheet, database program, statistics program and Endnote.

Institutional resources

  1. Core curriculum lectures
  2. Clinical care guidelines
  3. Grand Rounds/Management conferences
  4. Tumor Boards
  5. Clinic conferences (drug of the week, disease of the week, slide of the week, etc.)
  6. Regional and national meetings (ASPH/O, ASH, AACR, ASCO, COG): at least one per year
  7. Journal club
  8. Children's Hospital Medical Library and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Library

Conference schedules


  • 11:15-11:45 a.m. – Core lecture


  • 8:30-9:30 a.m. – Journal club
  • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Psychosocial rounds (second Tuesday of the month)
  • 1-2 p.m. – Bone marrow transplant
  • 4-5 p.m. – Hematology/Oncology research seminar


  • Noon-1 p.m. – Neuro-oncology
  • 12:30-1:30 p.m. Radiology rounds (every fourth Wednesday of the month)
  • 1-2 p.m. – Leukemia and stem cell biology (first and third Wednesdays of the month)


  • Noon-1:30 p.m. – Hematology rounds
  • 4-5 p.m. – Tumor Board

Outcomes of past fellows

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

  • The Babies Hospital (Columbia University)
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (University of Washington)
  • University of California at San Diego and Los Angeles
  • Texas Children's Hospital at Baylor
  • Northwestern University
  • Duke University
  • The Hughes Institute
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Indiana University
  • The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

All graduates have taken and passed the Hematology/Oncology Board examinations. Fellows have been the recipients of the greatest number of ASPH/O young investigator awards, ASCO training awards and in recently a number of fellows have won the David Nathan Pediatric Academic Society Award for research in pediatric hematology/oncology.

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.


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

Tobacco-free hiring policy

To help preserve and improve the health of our patients, their families and our employees, The 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