Pediatric Hematology/Oncology – FAQs

How many Hematology/Oncology fellows will be at Connecticut Children’s?
We have 3 pediatric hematology/oncology fellows (1 fellow/year).

What is the structure of the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship?
Our fellowship program includes 39 blocks which are each 4 weeks duration (13 blocks/year for 3 years).

During their first year, trainees are immersed in a curriculum with intense clinical training in the areas of pediatric hematology and oncology (inpatient and outpatient) for 9 blocks as well as a block of laboratory medicine/transfusion/hematopathology (Hartford Hospital) and an elective opportunity. In the second year of fellowship, trainees will spend 2 blocks (8 weeks) learning stem cell transplantation at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s as well as 1 block of radiation oncology at Hartford Hospital and 2 blocks of outpatient pediatric hematology and oncology at Connecticut Children’s. Third year fellows complete a pre-attending block of inpatient and outpatient clinical experience.

There are 2 blocks (8 weeks) of research time during the first year of fellowship to begin to develop a research project. During their second and third years, fellows are engaged in less clinical training and more involved in research under the guidance of a faculty member who is their research mentor.

What is the patient population in Hartford?
The hospital is located in a culturally diverse neighborhood. Our patient population is drawn primarily from throughout the state of Connecticut as well as western Massachusetts. The patient population is diverse and includes African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Caribbean nationalities, Central and South Americans, Eastern Europeans, Southeast Asians, and Caucasian Americans of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

How many new oncology diagnoses are seen at Connecticut Children’s annually?
There are approximately 80-120 new oncologic diagnoses per year at Connecticut Children’s. In addition, there are 180 sickle cell and thalassemia patients, over 50 hemophilia patients, and several hundred other patients with other disorders of hemostasis.

What specialty clinics and programs does Connecticut Children’s provider?
We offer monthly clinics for sickle cell comprehensive visits, sickle cell transition, hemostasis, neuro-oncology, survivorship, and cardio-oncology. Specialized programs include Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program, Advanced Therapeutic Program, Neuro-Oncology Program, Palliative Care Program (Sunflower Kids), REACH for the STARS Survivorship Program, Cardio-Oncology Program, Sarcoma Program, Hematologic Malignancy Program, Supportive Care Program and Onco-Fertility Program.

What research opportunities will I have?
During the 2nd and 3rd year there will be opportunities to pursue basic science, clinical or translational projects in partnership with the UConn Health and The Jackson Laboratory. We tailor each fellow’s scholarly project to their individual interests and career goals.

Will I have a continuity clinic?
Yes, fellows will acquire a panel of primary patients to afford you an exposure to longitudinal care of children with blood disorders and cancer. Fellows have 1 full day of continuity clinic weekly.

Where will I learn about Bone Marrow Transplantation?
You will spend 2 blocks (8 weeks) rotating on the stem cell transplant service at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital. This occur during your 2nd year. Although you will be responsible for finding housing during this time, Connecticut Children’s will cover the cost up to the standard per diem rate.

What conferences will I attend as a fellow at Connecticut Children’s?
Our fellowship didactics occur each Wednesday for 2 hours (12 to 2 p.m.) and include an interactive presentation by a faculty member followed by case discussions. Additional conferences include: solid tumor board (at least 2x/month), neuro-oncology tumor board (monthly), journal club (monthly), M&M (monthly), and Quality and Safety (monthly), Hematopathology (monthly), and palliative care (monthly). Hematology/oncology fellows attend Connecticut Children’s ACGME required Core Curriculum weekly with all fellows at our institution.

What are the on-call expectations?
Fellows take call for one weekday/week and one weekend (Saturday 8 a.m.-Monday 8 a.m.) each block. Although call may be taken at home, fellows are expected to be in the hospital as needed to address acute medical concerns (such as new oncology diagnosis, PICU transfers and patient deaths).

Where do fellows live?
In general, fellows live in Hartford or its suburbs, including West Hartford, Farmington, Avon, Simsbury, and Manchester as well as Middletown.

What happens after fellowship?
Our goal is to provide future academic pediatricians with a foundation to become competent clinicians, researchers, and educators within pediatric hematology and oncology. Our first fellow will graduate our program in June 2021. We anticipate graduates of our program will become board-certified pediatric hematologist/oncologists and leaders in the field. We are investigating mechanisms to support fellows for at least 1-2 years post-fellowship through research grants but no funding is yet secured. We help trainees navigate their initial careers after fellowship by meeting with them multiple times throughout their fellowship to discuss their aspirations, assist with the development of their curriculum vitae, identification of potential positions, and preparation for interviews. We strive to provide each fellow with the skill set they need to pursue their individual career goals.