Hematology and Oncology | Fellowship


Laura Schuettpelz, MD, PhD Fellowship Director & Melanie Fields, MD Fellowship Associate Director

The division has a nationally recognized fellowship program designed to train specialist pediatricians seeking a career in academic pediatric hematology/oncology.  Since our faculty has considerable strength in clinical and basic investigation, the program is well suited to candidates interested in both tracks.  The program strives to not only make the trainee highly skilled in clinical care, but also capable of designing and performing sophisticated biomedical experiments and protocols that focuses on understanding and treating the childhood diseases as broadly defined by our specialty.

In order to train physicians appropriately for careers in this field, the fellowship lasts "three-plus" years.  The first-year fellow has only clinical responsibilities that include a broad, comprehensive curriculum that spans the whole scope of our specialty. Prominent features of the first year training include:

  • Assuming a leadership position in the inpatient clinical services (hematology and oncology/bmt) acquiring the skills to direct a broad multidisciplinary team that cares for a complex patient population.
  • Acquiring full command of the essential skills of our discipline including competencies in bone marrow aspirations and biopsies, intrathecal chemotherapy administration, chemotherapy order writing, clinical trial enrollment and management, peripheral smear and bone marrow interpretation.
  • Acquiring a primary patient population spanning the full scope of our practice with the fellow serving as the primary physician for the patient and families, with continuity in follow-up throughout the duration of the fellowship program.
  • An in depth lecture series that spans the entire discipline raising the level of knowledge of the fellow to a highly sophisticated state. 

On call responsibilities average to every third week on call from home.  In addition to eight months as supervisor of the inpatient clinical service, the fellow rotates on electives in laboratories such as coagulation/blood bank, HLA lab, cytogenetics, molecular diagnostics and clinical services including radiation therapy, pathology, pheresis, adult hematology and bone marrow transplant.  This broad curriculum provides a strong foundation for the fellow ensuring that he or she is well equipped with an extensive and sophisticated fund of knowledge.

After the first year, the fellow begins an individualized program of clinical or basic science investigation mentored by a faculty investigator at the School of Medicine.  During this period, the trainee is expected to develop the knowledge,

thought processes, and laboratory skills necessary to develop into an independent, competitive investigator in today's scientific community.  In order to focus on his or her investigation, the fellow's clinical responsibilities are limited to attending one clinic day each week and two clinical conferences.  It is expected that during this time the fellow will be submitting grants to support subsequent work and generating first authored manuscripts as a product of their work.

The program has a long history of developing successful physician investigators.  Our fellows have published numerous articles in highly competitive areas of biomedical research, and they continue to maintain a history of success in acquiring extramural funding support.  Thus, fellows who graduate from our program can be confident that they will meet the challenges they will face as they advance through their academic careers.

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