General Information for Fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

For complete information, please view our Brochure and Application for Fellowship (PDF)

Introduction
Overview
Performance Feedback and Evaluations
Book Allowance and Meeting Attendance
Grants
Elective Opportunities
Advanced Degrees
Camp Opportunities

Introduction

Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine collaborate to offer one of the finest pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship programs in the nation. The large clinical service, preeminent faculty and state-of-the-art research programs of these top institutions provide an excellent setting for this specialized training.

Designed to prepare M.D.s and M.D./Ph.D.s for academic careers, this ACGME-accredited comprehensive training program affords opportunities for fellows to work alongside renowned faculty physicians to gain valuable in-depth clinical and laboratory research experience. Six new fellows are recruited annually through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Trainees who complete this Program have acquired superb clinical experience and are firmly grounded in the basic biology of their specialty areas. In addition, fellows receive specialized training experience in laboratory or clinical research and will be well-positioned to become leaders in their field.

Texas Children’s Cancer Center draws more than 1,600 new pediatric patients with cancer and hematologic disorders each year. Consequently, fellows deal with a wide variety of clinical pediatric hematologic and oncologic problems. Although formal fellowship training in pediatric hematology-oncology ordinarily involves a three-year training period, we highly encourage our trainees to pursue a fourth year of training. See Fourth Year Opportunity

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Overview

Throughout the period of training, experienced faculty members guide each fellow to ensure that he or she develops and acquires excellent clinical, research and leadership skills.

The first 13 months are dedicated to obtaining comprehensive clinical skills in pediatric hematology and oncology. During this period, fellows are guided in selecting a clinical research or laboratory research experience to pursue in their second and third years. All fellows are encouraged to pursue an additional year of training in their area of research.

The large clinical service and state-of-the-art research programs at Texas Children's Cancer Center and Hematology Service and Baylor College of Medicine provide unique training for our fellows. Approximately 400 new pediatric cancer patients and more than 1,200 new patients with hematologic disorders are referred each year to the Texas Children’s Cancer Center and Hematology Service. Virtually every form of childhood cancer and blood disorder is represented in our patient population. As a result, the program offers trainees an extensive, in-depth exposure to a multitude of clinical pediatric hematologic and oncologic problems in a carefully supervised training environment overseen by highly experienced and qualified attending faculty. As the fellows’ knowledge and experience increase, so does their level of clinical responsibility.

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Performance Feedback and Evaluations

Trainees participate in both informal and formal performance evaluations and feedback conferences throughout every rotation in the training program. Written evaluations of conference presentations, ward rotations and overall performance reports are reviewed with the trainee by the involved faculty on a regular basis. In addition, each fellow meets individually with Drs. Poplack and Steuber twice a year to review their overall evaluations and progress.

Fellows also meet as a group with the Chief of Service, Dr. Poplack, and the Program Coordinator, Dr. Steuber, on a monthly basis to address programmatic issues. These meetings provide the fellows with the opportunity to discuss issues regarding the curriculum and its implementation. The meetings also serve as a forum for resolving issues that have been identified as impediments to the learning experience.

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Book Allowance and Meeting Attendance

Incoming fellows are provided with their own copies of textbooks relating to pediatric hematology-oncology; thereafter, the fellows have an annual book allowance. Support is also provided for attendance at one national scientific meeting annually. In addition, second- and third-year fellows are encouraged to participate in conferences and meetings that relate to their chosen fields of research. Fellows receive support to present their work in poster or platform format at these meetings.

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Grants

Funding for all fellows’ salaries is guaranteed for the three or four years of their fellowship training. Because writing and obtaining grants is a critically important aspect of academic research careers in pediatric hematology-oncology, all fellows are encouraged to write a grant proposal in support of their research. Comprehensive instruction and training in grant proposal preparation is an important component of this Fellowship Program. Each fellow receives in-depth supervision and support in the identification, preparation and submission of grants to both NIH and non-federal granting agencies. In addition to the individuals’ research mentors, the Cancer Center has three experienced Research Service Coordinators who work closely with the fellows to facilitate this process. Each second-year fellow has the opportunity to take advantage of the expertise and resources of the research services staff, which help locate grant opportunities that match each fellow’s level of training and expertise and area of interest. An individualized plan, focused on further career development in basic or clinical research, is developed for each fellow. Once a grant opportunity has been matched to a fellow, research services staff members assist the fellow by providing a written outline of the grant application, timeline, budget calculations, and assistance with writing and routing the proposal through the Department of Pediatrics and Baylor College of Medicine’s Office of Research. A Texas Children’s Cancer Center and Hematology Service grants and contracts web page also serves as a resource for fellows seeking grants. It provides key information, including a calendar of grant application deadlines, patient demographics, instructions on applying for use of humans and animals in research, and links to funding sources.

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Elective Opportunities

  • Training in a community on the Mexican border — The Texas Children’s Cancer Center and Hematology Service has an outreach clinic in the Rio Grande Valley in McAllen, Texas. The Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic has two full-time pediatric hematology-oncology faculty members who saw more than 2000 patients with cancer or hematologic disorders in the first four years of the clinic’s operation. The McAllen area was previously an underserved area with a large Spanish-speaking population. As an elective in the senior years of training, fellows may take the opportunity to work in this environment and observe the practice of pediatric hematology-oncology in a community setting.
  • International opportunities — The Texas Children’s Cancer Center and Hematology Service has established close collaborative interactions with several programs internationally. Depending on their research interests and progress, fellows who elect to stay for a fourth year may spend an elective in one of several collaborating institutions internationally, including sites in Italy, France, Oman, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.

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Advanced Degrees

A variety of programs leading to advanced degrees are available to fellows after the completion of the initial 13 months of clinical training. These pathways provide the requisite fellowship research experience and, in addition, may lead to a master’s or doctorate degree.

  • Basic Science Degrees — Interested fellows may apply to the Baylor College of Medicine Graduate School and work towards a Ph.D. degree in a basic science discipline. They can receive credit while working in the laboratory of one of the many pediatric hematology-oncology program faculty who have appointments in basic science departments.
  • Public Health and Epidemiology — Fellows may choose to pursue an M.P.H. degree through concurrent enrollment in the University of Texas School of Public Health, which is within walking distance from Texas Children’s Hospital. Fellows can pursue an M.P.H. or Ph.D. in epidemiology with mentorship from the pediatric hematology-oncology faculty who are members of the Childhood Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Center.
  • Clinical Research — Baylor College of Medicine has an organized curriculum in clinical research that offers the potential to receive either an M.A. or a Ph.D. degree. An NIH K30 award supports this Clinical Scientist Training Program. Fellows are eligible to participate in this program that is oriented towards training individuals for academic careers in clinical research.
  • Faculty Training in Pediatric Oncology Clinical Research — Fellows who stay for a fourth year are eligible to apply for a unique NIH K12 award that offers three years of directed mentorship and training in advanced clinical research. This program provides the participant the opportunity to receive career development training in any of five specific tracks including Leukemia, Solid Tumors, Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation, Cancer Genetics, and Neuro-oncology. Acceptance into this program includes salary support for a three-year period.

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Camp Opportunities

The staff of Texas Children's Cancer Center and Hematology Service is intimately involved in providing camping opportunities for different patient populations: Camp Periwinkle, a weeklong summer camping experience for children (ages 7-15 years) with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses; Camp YOLO, a weekend camp offered in the fall and spring to teenagers with chronic illnesses; and Camp Sky, a weeklong summer camp for children with sickle cell disease. Participation is optional, and second- and third-year fellows may choose to become involved with these experiences as senior counselors.

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Page modified on December 13, 2021