About the Fellowship Program in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
The largest accredited fellowship program in the country and among the finest in the nation is located at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. Our experts are training board-eligible and board-certified pediatricians to become sub-specialists in pediatric hematology-oncology.
As one of the finest pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship programs in the nation, our centers are training fellows to obtain outstanding clinical and laboratory research knowledge, paving the future of pediatric cancer and blood disorder care.
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 array of clinical service opportunities, 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. 8 new fellows are recruited annually through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Trainees who complete this program acquire outstanding clinical experience and are firmly grounded in the intricacies of their specialty areas. In addition, fellows receive specialized laboratory or clinical research training experience and are propelled to become leaders in their field.
Over 2,000 new pediatric patients with cancer and hematologic disorders are referred to Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers (TXCH) each year. Consequently, fellows participate in the evaluation and development of a wide variety of clinical pediatric hematologic and oncologic problems. Although formal fellowship training in pediatric hematology-oncology ordinarily involves a 3 year training period, we highly encourage our trainees to pursue a fourth year of training. (See Fourth year Opportunities.)
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 initial 13 months of training are dedicated to obtaining comprehensive clinical skills in pediatric hematology and oncology. During this period, fellows select a clinical research or laboratory research experience to pursue in their second and third years. Fellows are encouraged to pursue an additional fourth year of training in their area of research.
The large clinical service and state-of-the-art research programs at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers (TXCH) and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) provide a unique training experience for our fellows. Approximately 800 new pediatric cancer patients, and more than 1,200 new patients with hematologic disorders, are referred each year to TXCH. Virtually every form of childhood cancer and blood disorder is represented in our patient population. As a result, the program offers in depth exposure to a multitude of pediatric hematologic and oncologic problems. The carefully supervised training environment is overseen by highly experienced and qualified attending faculty. As the fellows’ knowledge and experience increase, so does their level of clinical responsibility.
Performance Feedback and Evaluations
Trainees participate in formal and informal performance evaluations, as well as feedback conferences, throughout all rotations in the training program. These mutual evaluations are accomplished electronically using the E*Value program implemented by Baylor College of Medicine. Formal evaluations of conference presentations, clinical rotations, and overall performance reports are reviewed with the trainee on a regular basis.
In addition, each fellow meets twice yearly with the Chief of Service, Dr. David Poplack, and the program coordinators, Dr. Phil Steuber and Dr. Youngna Lee-Kim. They review the fellows’ evaluations and overall progress as well as their Individualized Learning Programs (ILPs). Drs. Poplack, Lee-Kim, and Steuber meet with the fellows as a group on a monthly basis to address programmatic issues. These meetings provide fellows with an opportunity to discuss issues regarding the curriculum and its implementation. The meetings also serve as a forum to resolve issues that are identified as impediments to the learning experience.
Incoming fellows are provided with personal copies of textbooks relating to pediatric hematology and oncology; thereafter, the fellows are provided with an annual book allowance.
Financial Support for National Scientific Meetings
Financial 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.
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 an academic research career 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, TXCH has 3 experienced Research Service Coordinators who work closely with the fellows to facilitate this process.
Each second-year fellow has an 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, expertise, and area of interest. An individualized plan is developed for each fellow that focuses on career development in basic or clinical research. Once a grant opportunity has been matched to a fellow, research services staff members provide a written outline of the grant application, timeline, and budget calculations. They also assist with writing and routing the proposal through the Department of Pediatrics and Baylor College of Medicine’s Office of Research. TXCH sponsors a web page that serves as a resource for fellow seeking grants. The web page provides key information, including a calendar of grant application deadlines, patient demographics, links to funding sources, and instructions on applying for use of humans and animals in research.