Hematology / Oncology Fellowship

Hematology/Oncology

The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship at Indiana University School of Medicine prepares trainees for clinical practice, academic research and teaching. Fellows gain experience in all aspects of this subspecialty through direct patient contact and extensive interaction with faculty. Clinical areas of training include leukemias, solid tumors, brain tumors, hematopoietic/stem cell transplantation, general pediatric hematology, sickle cell disease, bone marrow failure syndromes, hemophilia and other coagulation disorders.

Riley Hospital for Children is the only comprehensive, freestanding children’s hospital in the state of Indiana.  The hospital services the entire state of Indiana as well as bordering regions of Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Kentucky.  Fellows train at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, which offers the only pediatric stem cell transplant program in the state of Indiana. The program transplants approximately 40 patients per year, and emphasis is placed on learning the range of indications for stem cell transplant, donor selection, methods of stem cell transplant, complications, and outcomes. Fellows are exposed to clinical apheresis, human leukocyte antigen typing and the stem-cell processing laboratory.

In addition to three rotations on Stem Cell Transplant service, the first year fellow will spend three rotations on the in-patient Pediatric Hematology-Oncology service, five rotations on the in-patient and out-patient Consult service, two rotations in out-patient Elective Clinics and one rotation in Research.  As the fellow progresses through the first year, they will assume more responsibility for clinical decision-making and house staff education.  The rate at which the fellow assumes this increased responsibility is dependent upon their own level of competence, confidence, and the opinion of the attending faculty.  By the end of their first year, it is expected that the fellow be able to function as an attending using their faculty mentors as resources.   

The second and third years of training are designed to equip the trainee with the skills needed to conduct clinical, translational, or bench research. There are extensive opportunities for clinical and translational investigation and mentorship within the Section of Hematology/Oncology, as well as exposure to bench research and mentorship in the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research.  Riley Hospital and Indiana University School of Medicine are excellent and broadly based allowing options to focus on discovery basic research and "translational" studies which seek to rapidly move basic or bench research findings into the clinical setting. The research programs range from studies of fundamental biologic principles utilizing the most sophisticated molecular biologic techniques, to evaluations of new therapeutic strategies, as well as community engagement.

In addition, we are deeply committed to Precision Medicine which both allows doctors and researchers to understand the prevention, onset, treatment, progression and health outcomes of pediatric cancer and blood disorders through a more precise definition of the genetic, developmental, behavioral and environmental factors that contribute to an individual’s health. This precision health foundation also provides a rich training environment for future pediatric hematology oncology physicians.  Through research, we provide the latest advances in treating a multitude of pediatric diseases and their complications aimed at optimizing care of children.  The location of Riley Hospital on the IU School of Medicine campus provides a rich environment to enable translational researchers to stretch the limits of current scientific knowledge to promote improvements in child health on both national and international levels.

Curriculum

Year One

The first year of fellowship training in this program consists predominantly of clinical experience. Fellows spend three months in inpatient oncology service (includes night call); three months of combined benign hematology and consult service (with experience in blood diseases, coagulopathy and thrombosis); three months of pediatric stem cell transplant service (which includes inpatient, acute outpatient and long-term follow-up); two months of elective time/vacation; and one month of research to investigate research opportunities.  Fellows also participation in weekly full day outpatient continuity clinic.

Years Two and Three

The second and third years of the fellowship program include less clinical time to allow fellows to focus on research. Second and third year fellows will focus on the design, conduct, analysis, and presentation of meaningful research.  Many, although not all, will participate in graduate level education to facilitate training in their research endeavors. Opportunities include the Clinical Investigator Training Enhancement Program (which culminates in an additional Master’s Degree in Clinical Research) or the Translational Research Certificate.

Research

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellows select an area of research during their first year with the help of a designated faculty advisor and the fellowship program director. Research seminars scheduled throughout the year expose fellows to potential opportunities in basic science or clinical research.

As stated, the Section of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at IU School of Medicine is associated with the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research. Approximately one-half of Wells Center research is devoted to hematology/oncology investigation in areas such as hematopoiesis, gene transfer, fetal hematopoiesis, molecular biology of gene expression, control of cell proliferation, molecular biology of white blood cell disorders and DNA repair. However, fellows may also pursue research opportunities with faculty from other departments who are also engaged in hematology-oncology related research.

Fellows interested in clinical research have opportunities to do so and simultaneously earn a master’s degree in clinical science research. More information about this opportunity is available at: https://www.indianactsi.org/education/clinical-research-graduate-program/.