Pediatrics

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Fellowship Training

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 pediatric specialty 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.

In Indiana, Riley Hospital for Children is the only comprehensive, freestanding children’s hospital.  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 IU Health in Indianapolis, which offers the only pediatric stem cell transplant program in Indiana. The program treats 30-40 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.

Rotations

In addition to three rotations on Stem Cell Transplant service, first-year fellows 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 fellows progress through the first year, they assume more responsibility for clinical decision-making and house staff education. The rate at which fellows assume increased responsibility is dependent upon their level of competence, confidence and the opinion of attending faculty. By the end of their first year, it is expected that fellows are able to function as an attending, using faculty mentors as resources.

The second and third years of training are designed to prepare the trainee for clinical or laboratory investigation. Opportunities for investigation within the Indiana University School of Medicine’s Section of Hematology/Oncology and the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research as well as Riley Hospital are excellent and broadly based.

Fellows are encouraged to participate in two unique opportunities for training in clinical research at Indiana University: the Institute for Informatics and the federally funded Clinical Investigator Training Enhancement (CITE) program.

Precision Medicine

The Section of Hematology/Oncology is 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, fellows in the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship training program can access 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 Indianapolis campus provides a depth of resources and strong clinical and research environment that enables translational researchers to stretch the limits of current scientific knowledge to promote improvements in child health on both national and international levels.

Curriculum

The first year of this fellowship training consists predominantly of clinical experience. Fellows spend four to five months in inpatient hematology/oncology service (includes night call); three months of hematology consultative 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 to investigate research opportunities; and participation in weekly outpatient continuity clinic.

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 focus on the design, conduct, analysis and presentation of meaningful research. Many, although not all, participate in graduate-level education to facilitate training in their research endeavors. Opportunities include the Clinical Investigator Training Enhancement Program 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.

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. Applicants interested in this track should notify the fellowship director.