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Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship

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The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital is a three-year, ACGME-accredited program that admits two fellows per year.

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Program Details

The principal goal of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital is to train fellows to become outstanding, independent physicians or physician-scientists and prepare them for an academic career incorporating clinical care, research and education.

The first year of the program consists of 13 four-week clinically-focused blocks. The second and third years focus on research training and scholarly activities. Fellows pursue a basic laboratory, translational laboratory or clinical research track to accomplish their scholarly activities. All fellows complete a core scholarly curriculum regardless of their research track.

In addition, fellows maintain a weekly, half-day continuity clinic, which is supervised by a longitudinal clinical mentor. Fellows are also expected to participate in quality improvement projects throughout their entire training.

Fellows who anticipate having a research-focused career are highly encouraged to participate in the institution-wide Physician-Scientist Training Program. Fellows also have multiple opportunities to learn, teach and present clinical and research topics throughout their entire fellowship in order to round out their training.

The Division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Pediatrics at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital provides family-centered, comprehensive care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults with all types of cancer and blood disorders. It has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the leading pediatric oncology programs in the country since 2012. This division is one of the largest in the department with approximately 30 faculty members split evenly between clinical and basic science or translational research faculty. The division is thoroughly committed to the advancement of pediatric hematology/oncology with a thriving research enterprise making significant contributions that range from basic science to clinical research including investigator-initiated trials.

Pediatric oncology is supported by one of the largest student-run U.S. philanthropies, THON, as well as Mini-THON and Four Diamonds. In addition, basic science and translational researchers hold independent NIH funding.

Learn More About the Fellowship

To Apply Expand answer

General Application Information

The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship participates in the National Residency Matching Program Pediatric Subspecialties Match, with two fellowship spots per year.

All application materials must be submitted through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) for fellowship applicants. Applicants are encouraged to complete their applications as soon as possible once ERAS opens for the season.

Applicants should contact the program with any questions and for the most up-to-date information.


  • Applicants must have completed an ACGME-accredited residency in pediatrics or medicine/pediatrics prior to the fellowship starting date.
  • Applicants must be board-eligible or board-certified in general pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics.
  • Applicants must be eligible for or hold a Pennsylvania medical training license or medical license.
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents or J-1 visa holders (no additional visa types are institutionally sponsored). The J-1 visa application process and fees are the applicant’s responsibility.
  • International medical graduates must hold a currently valid certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.

Application Requirements

A complete ERAS fellowship application must contain:

  • Personal statement
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Letters of recommendation: At least three letters of recommendation must be included from faculty members with whom the applicant has worked; it is recommended that at least one letter be included from a pediatric hematologist/oncologist and one from the residency program director.
  • Dean’s letter
  • Medical school transcripts
  • USMLE/COMLEX transcripts
  • For international medical graduates, ECFMG certification

Application Review

All applications are reviewed in their entirety and considered without regard to race, religion, national origin, sex, gender, orientation, disability or family status.

Applications are reviewed by the internal Fellowship Application Review Committee on a rolling basis once the ERAS application is complete. Qualified applicants will be invited for an interview. It is advisable to respond to an interview application as soon as possible, as interview dates are limited and may fill quickly.

COVID-19 Update for the 2023 Interview Season

In accordance with national recommendations and in fairness to all fellowship candidates, many of whom are under travel restrictions, in-person visits and interviews will be suspended again for the 2023 interview season.

Faculty Expand answer
Nurse Practitioners and Nurses Expand answer
Current Fellows Expand answer
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About Penn State Health Expand answer

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Virtual Tour

A recently developed virtual tour showcases locations across Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa.

Explore the virtual tour

Penn State Health

Penn State Health is a multi-hospital health system serving patients and communities across 29 counties of Pennsylvania. Its mission is to improve health through patient care, research, education and community outreach.

In December 2017, the system partnered with Highmark Health to facilitate creation of a value-based, community care network in the region. The shared goal of Highmark and Penn State Health is to ensure patients in the community are within:

  • 10 minutes of a Penn State Health primary care provider
  • 20 minutes of Penn State Health specialty care
  • 30 minutes of a Penn State Health acute care facility

Learn more about Penn State Health

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine campus is seen in an aerial photo on a sunny day.

Penn State Health Children’s Hospital (left), Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (center) and Penn State Cancer Institute (right)

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

500 University Dr., Hershey, Pa., 17033 (Derry Township, Dauphin County)

  • The health system’s 647-bed flagship teaching and research hospital
  • The only medical facility in Pennsylvania accredited as both an adult and a pediatric Level I (highest-level) trauma center
  • Dedicated surgical, neuroscience, cardiovascular, trauma and medical intensive care units
  • Accredited Life Lion critical-care transport providing more than 1,100 helicopter and approximately 750 ground ambulance transports per year
  • More than 1,300 faculty members and more than 650 residents and fellows
  • Approximately 29,000 admissions, 73,000 emergency department visits, 1.1 million outpatient visits and 33,000 surgical procedures annually
  • Designated as a Magnet hospital since 2007

Learn more about Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Penn State Health Children’s Hospital

600 University Dr., Hershey, Pa. 17033 (Derry Township, Dauphin County)

  • An eight-story, 263,000-square-foot-facility built in 2013 and expanded in 2020
  • 146 licensed pediatric beds, 18 acute care beds and a 56-bed neonatal intensive care unit
  • Level IV (highest-level) neonatal intensive care unit
  • Level I quaternary (highest-level) pediatric intensive care unit
  • Level I (highest-level) pediatric trauma center designation
  • Intermediate care unit
  • Dedicated pediatric operating rooms
  • More than 150,000 pediatric outpatient visits and approximately 5,000 pediatric patient discharges annually

Learn more about Penn State Health Children’s Hospital

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Penn State Cancer Institute

Penn State Cancer Institute

400 University Dr., Hershey, Pa., 17033 (Derry Township, Dauphin County)

  • The region’s only comprehensive cancer center
  • Clinical services offered at the institute in Hershey, Pa., as well as in State College, Pa. (in partnership with Mount Nittany Health) and Reading, Pa., at Penn State Health St. Joseph
  • Five floors, with ground level and first two devoted to patient care and top two housing research labs
  • Infusion therapy suites, private chemotherapy rooms and a state-of-the-art radiation oncology suite
  • Dedicated chemotherapy and infusion pharmacy

Learn more about Penn State Cancer Institute

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Facilities

There are more than 690 admissions per year to the pediatric hematology/oncology inpatient service. Outpatient facilities for pediatric hematology/oncology are located on the first floor of the Children’s Hospital, where patients are seen for chemotherapy, transfusions, infusions and other procedures. There are more than 7,000 outpatient visits per year.

Pediatric cardiology provides echocardiogram examinations within the clinic so that patients do not need to travel to other clinics. Radiology services are available in the ground floor of the Children’s Hospital. A dedicated pharmacist delivers prescription medications directly to the patients in the inpatient unit prior to discharge as well as to the ambulatory clinic to ensure patients have the appropriate home medications and to ensure appropriate teaching is done regarding the medications.

About Hershey: Benefits, Stipends and More Expand answer

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Welcome to Hershey

A new guide to the Hershey, Pa., area showcases the highlights of life in central Pennsylvania.

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More About Hershey

Interested in learning more about living and working in Hershey, Pa.? See details here:

Wellness Initiatives Expand answer

Wellness, including emotional, spiritual, social and physical health, is a crucial component to training and to becoming a professional, compassionate and resilient physician. Self-care is a skill which must be continually practiced and reinforced. Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health are committed to addressing wellness among residents and fellows, with multiple resources readily available.

Institutional resources

Graduate medical education resources

Department and Division Resources

As a division, pediatric hematology/oncology team members support each other and encourage everyone to pursue wellness in all aspects of their life.

The monthly Art of Oncology Conference is a special conference coordinated by Dr. George Blackall that provides a safe forum for fellows to gather and process difficult situations and to debrief and process their experiences during fellowship.

Diversity Expand answer

Institutional Resources

Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine celebrate, embrace and support the diversity of all patients, faculty, staff, students and trainees.

Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In keeping with this, Penn State Health has an active Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with various programs, networks and resource groups, including:

  • Talks and lectures on diversity, equity and inclusion through the Inclusion Academy
  • Regular events on topics such as eradicating racism and creating a culture of inclusiveness
  • Many Business Employee Resource Groups (BERGs), including:
    • Disability Business Employee Resource Group
    • Interfaith Business Employee Resource Group
    • LGBTQ+ Business Employee Resource Group
    • Military and Veterans Business Employee Resource Group
    • Multicultural Business Employee Resource Group
    • NextGen Business Employee Resource Group

Learn more about the Penn State Health Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Learn more about the College of Medicine’s Office for Diversity, Equity and Belonging

Office for Culturally Responsive Health Care Education

The vision at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health is to equip learners with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they will need to provide culturally excellent health care and research for an increasingly diverse U.S. population. The Office for Culturally Responsive Health Care Education was formed to help meet that goal.

Learn more about the Office for Culturally Responsive Health Care Education

Office for a Respectful Learning Environment

In addition, the institution does not tolerate discrimination, biases, microaggression, harassment or learner mistreatment of any kind, and any concerns are immediately addressed by the Office for a Respectful Learning Environment.

Learn more about the Office for a Respectful Learning Environment

Network of Under-represented Residents and Fellows
The Network of Under-represented Residents and Fellows (NURF) is a group of diverse residents and fellows representing all specialties. NURF’s goal is to promote cultural diversity in the residency programs through community involvement, mentorship with diverse faculty, professional networking and support for the recruitment of diverse medical students into the residency programs.

NURF is sponsored by the Penn State College of Medicine Graduate Medical Education Office and the Penn State Health Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Learn more information about NURF

Contact Us Expand answer

Mailing Address

Penn State Health Children’s Hospital
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship
Attn: Bethany Schwarz
500 University Dr.
P.O Box 850
Mail Code H085
Hershey, PA 17033

General Contact Information

Phone: 717-531-5458


Curriculum Details

Orientation Expand answer

There is a one- week orientation at the beginning of fellowship training. This orientation consists of:

  • Core lectures in hematology and oncology emergencies, chemotherapy fundamentals, pain control and terminal care, anti-emetic therapy, and basics of sickle cell and hemophilia care
  • Opportunities to meet faculty and staff of the division as well as multiple other people across Penn State Health
  • Introduction to inpatient and outpatient operations
  • Training in foundations of clinical research and informed consent
  • Training in conscious sedation and procedures
  • Introduction to Children’s Oncology Group studies
  • Required training in the use of PowerChart (the electronic medical record)
  • Billing procedures
First Year (Clinical Focus) Expand answer

The first year of the fellowship is primarily a clinical year.

This year is divided into 13 four-week block rotations:

  • Six inpatient blocks
  • Four outpatient subspecialty clinic blocks
  • One hematopoietic stem cell transplantation block (both inpatient and outpatient)
  • One hematopathology/blood bank/special coagulation lab block
  • One radiation oncology/research exploration block (two weeks each)

Four one-week vacations are taken during non-inpatient blocks.

The outpatient subspecialty clinic rotation is designed such that the fellow will have multiple exposures to specialty clinics in hemophilia, hemostasis and thrombosis, sickle cell anemia, hematology consults, childhood cancer survivorship and neuro-oncology, as well as opportunities to master hematology/oncology-related procedures, including lumbar punctures with intrathecal chemotherapy administration, bone marrow aspirates, bone marrow biopsies and bone marrow harvests.

In addition to their time spent on the outpatient and other relevant subspecialty rotations, there is a two-week block exclusively dedicated to the exploration of research options so that a scholarly research project can be formulated and a Scholarly Oversight Committee identified prior to the start of the second year.

The first-year fellow is responsible for the daily management of inpatient hematology and oncology patients, as well as hematology consultations from the inpatient pediatric population. The inpatient team is composed of an attending physician, fellow, a pediatric nurse practitioner, two senior pediatric or medicine/pediatrics residents, a dietitian, a clinical nurse specialist and a clinical pharmacy specialist.

The fellow will have one block dedicated to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), which will include inpatient and outpatient areas. However, the fellow is expected to participate in pediatric HSCT rounds when on the inpatient service.

The continuity clinic for each fellow is established within the first month of the first year, and fellows are expected to attend their clinic even while on the inpatient rotations. The continuity clinic consists of one half-day morning session each week. The fellow is assigned a clinical mentor/attending physician with whom they staff their patients for the entirety of their fellowship.

Second and Third Years (Research Focus) Expand answer

The second and third years of fellowship are designed to focus on each fellow’s scholarly activities.

Fellows choose a basic/translational laboratory-based or a clinical research track for their scholarly activities:

  • Basic/translational laboratory-based research track: Fellows have a large number of institution-wide laboratory-based research opportunities, including those in the pediatric hematology/oncology division, Penn State Cancer Institute and Penn State College of Medicine, all located on the same campus in Hershey, Pa.
  • Clinical research track: In addition to their research project, fellows are expected to complete a formal clinical research training program (MS in clinical research or graduate certificate in clinical research) available through the Department of Public Health Sciences located on campus.

Regardless of research track, all fellows participate in a core scholarly curriculum and participate as scholars in the institution-wide Physician-Scientist Training Program to round out their fellowship education.

While the second- and third-year fellows are not responsible for inpatient clinical management during the weekdays, third-year fellows are expected to be “acting attendings” for the inpatient pediatric hematology/oncology and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation services during two one-week blocks in order to gain autonomy.

Second and third-year fellows may elect to participate in subspecialty clinics.

Call Schedule Expand answer

All call is from home. Fellows take calls from outside physicians, answer calls from outpatients/patients’ family members and provide emergency department consults, as well as addressing any inpatient questions and issues that may arise overnight. It is expected that fellows will work with the inpatient team and patient logistics to arrange for admissions. In addition, fellows are required to return to the hospital to see any new oncology patient, to perform an urgent consult or evaluate an inpatient whose medical status has worsened. Fellows are also expected to return to the hospital for the death of any pediatric hematology/oncology patient unless directed otherwise by the attending on call.

General call structure:

  • The first-year fellow on the inpatient service is on call two weekday nights each week.
  • The other first-year fellow is on call one weekday night per week.
  • The remainder of weekday nights are covered by the second- and third-year fellows.
  • First-year fellows average one weekend out of every four, but may have as few as 10 weekends per year.
  • Weekend call is from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday.
  • Second- and third-year fellows typically have progressively fewer weekends of call.
  • Major holidays are typically covered by first-year fellows and minor holidays are covered by first-, second- and third-year fellows.

Occasionally, fellows will need to remain in the hospital overnight to manage a patient. There is a place assigned to the pediatric hematology/oncology fellow (and attending) to use to rest while in-house or to take a nap prior to leaving the hospital if they are too fatigued to drive.

Clinical Experiences Expand answer

Outpatient clinic sessions are held daily with an average of 20 to 30 patients seen per day on Monday through Thursdays. Fridays are reserved for specialty and multidisciplinary clinics. There are specialty/comprehensive clinics held in sickle cell disease, childhood cancer survivorship, neuro-oncology, hemophilia and for general hematology and hematology consults.

Over the course of their fellowship, fellows are expected to become proficient in procedures, including:

  • Bone marrow aspirations
  • Bone marrow biopsies
  • Lumbar punctures
  • Administration of intrathecal chemotherapy

All procedures are done with either moderate or deep sedation to ensure patient comfort. Deep sedation is performed with an attending anesthesiologist on the second-floor level of the Children’s Hospital in a designated procedure room. Moderate sedation is performed in a clinic procedure room.

Throughout the training period, the attending staff is always available for supervision and guidance. Each fellow will be assigned to work with the same attending staff for their continuity clinic experience throughout their entire fellowship. The fellow will also be on a team with a pediatric oncology nurse practitioner and pediatric oncology nurse specialist, who provide invaluable guidance.

Support staff includes:

  • Certified pediatric oncology nurse practitioners
  • Certified pediatric oncology nurses
  • Pediatric clinical nurse specialists
  • Full-time social workers
  • Child life specialists
  • Dietitians
  • Pediatric clinical pharmacy specialists

Learn more about clinical programs

Conferences and Education Expand answer

Fellows have the opportunity to attend a variety of conferences and educational opportunities.

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Academic Conference

This is a weekly conference that consists of many formats. Conferences cover journal clubs, research updates, protocol reviews and board review talks.

Pediatric Tumor Board

This is a twice-monthly multidisciplinary meeting that includes participants from pediatric hematology/oncology, radiology, pathology, surgery and radiation oncology. Cases are presented by fellows or attendings and diagnostic and therapeutic issues are discussed.

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Attending Rounds

This is a weekly conference to review the current inpatients and consults with all of the faculty and team. The purpose is for the fellow to give an overview of the inpatients and seek input for difficult patient problems.

Art of Oncology Conference

This is a monthly conference coordinated by Dr. George Blackall and all fellows. The purpose of this conference is for fellows to understand the psychosocial effects of illness and treatment on the child and family in ways that will enhance their ability to assist the child and family. This will in turn enhance the fellows’ general ability to reflect on and analyze complex situations, formulate working hypotheses about the situations and take strategic action.

This conference affords fellows an opportunity to debrief and process their experiences during fellowship.

Hematology Conference

This is a twice-monthly conference run by the adult hematologists and pathologists.

Board Review Series

This twice-monthly conference is fellow-run with the assistance of Dr. Elizabeth Finch and is designed to focus on fellows’ gaps in knowledge of selected pediatric hematology/oncology and stem cell transplantation topics. Prior to the conference, fellows are given board review questions relevant to the conference’s topic. They are expected to have reviewed the questions prior to the conference and participate in the discussion. An attending physician with expertise in the given topic attends the session to help facilitate the session.

Schwartz Rounds

This is a monthly conference conducted by Penn State Cancer Institute. Schwartz Rounds is a multidisciplinary forum where caregivers discuss difficult emotional and social issues that arise in caring for patients.

Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant Conference

This weekly multidisciplinary conference consists of a comprehensive review of all inpatient transplant patients, patients awaiting transplant, referrals, recently transplanted patients and all transplant patients recently seen in the outpatient clinic. Program quality review and clinical research opportunities discussion occur during this conference.

Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Tumor Board

This conference is held twice monthly and reviews all new pediatric brain tumor patients as well as patients undergoing active treatment. This conference is attended by pediatric oncology, pediatric neurosurgery, radiation oncology, neuropathology and neuroradiology.

Hematology/Oncology Grand Rounds

This is a weekly conference coordinated by the adult medical oncology division, focusing on current topics in hematology/oncology. Topics range from basic science to current clinical care.

Pediatric Fellowship Core Curriculum

The goal of this curriculum is to unify and standardize core topics across all pediatric fellowships at the institution. It is held monthly. Past topics have included biostatistics, palliative care-related topics, wellness, financial management and mentorship.

Physician-Scientist Training Program

This is an institution-wide program that recruits, engages and nurtures residents, fellows and junior faculty who desire a research-intensive career. The two-hour monthly meeting provides a forum for training program participants (called scholars) and junior faculty to engage physician-scientist mentors as well as provide a core curriculum focusing on career development and best practices in research and mentorship.

Other opportunities

Fellows are welcome to attend additional conferences offered by the institution, including Pediatric Grand Rounds.

Program Evaluation Expand answer

A Program Evaluation Committee, composed of the program director, selected faculty and fellows, reviews the overall program on a yearly basis. Before the annual spring meeting, a program evaluation is completed and reviewed by the committee. The curriculum, rotations and call recommendations are then made by the committee and modified from year to year based upon these recommendations.

This allows the program to ensure that fellows are getting the best education possible.

Clinical Program Details

Overview: Pediatric Clinical Oncology Program Expand answer

The clinical oncology program sees approximately 100 new oncology patients and has more than 4,000 visits annually. The program also performs more than 20 hematopoietic stem cell transplants each year.

In addition to the clinical faculty, care is provided by nurse practitioners, nurse specialists and a research nurse, as well as data managers and regulatory specialists who are part of the infrastructure for Phase I to Phase III clinical trials.

The program offers state-of-the-art clinical care in:

  • Adolescent and young adult cancer
  • Cancer predisposition syndromes
  • Central nervous system tumors
  • Childhood cancer survivorship
  • Experimental therapeutics
  • Hematologic malignancies
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cellular therapy
  • Integrative medicine
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Sarcoma
  • Solid tumors

The program is part of the following consortia and collaborative groups:

  • Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium
  • Children’s Oncology Group
  • National Experimental Therapeutics Consortium
  • Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Consortium
  • Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators Consortium

Due to the generous philanthropic support from Four Diamonds, patients are offered extensive supportive care services, including psychosocial programs with dedicated child life specialists, social workers, chaplain services, bereavement services and access to neuropsychological testing.

Overview: Pediatric Clinical Hematology Program Expand answer

The pediatric clinical hematology program has four main components with more than 400 hematology visits combined per year:

  • General hematology program
  • Government-funded hemophilia program
  • State-funded comprehensive sickle cell anemia program
  • Thrombosis and hemostasis program

The comprehensive sickle cell anemia program follows approximately 140 to 150 patients. The hemostasis and thrombosis program sees approximately 25 patients per month. The hemophilia program, which is provided in combination with the adult program, cares for approximately 500 families with bleeding disorders from central Pennsylvania and operates with its dedicated clinical and research staff. Approximately 160 children and adolescents are followed by this program.

A pediatric stroke program involving a multidisciplinary team within the Children’s Hospital is under development. An adolescent women’s bleeding disorders program was started in fall 2019.

Four Diamonds Expand answer

Four Diamonds covers the cost of pediatric cancer treatment for all eligible patients at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital and supports a multitude of specialty care providers who exclusively serve the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and families.

Four Diamonds also funds groundbreaking research at all levels, seeking improved treatments and cures to benefit children and adolescents around the world.

Learn more about Four Diamonds

Specialty Program: Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Expand answer

Program Overview

The adolescent and young adult oncology program was established in 2016 in order to optimize the unique medical and psychosocial needs of adolescents and young adults with cancer.

The program team is in the process of building an adolescent and young adult oncology clinic in collaboration with the adult oncology group and developing clinical research projects that target this patient population.


Specialty Program: Childhood Cancer Survivorship Expand answer

Program Overview

The survivorship rates for most pediatric cancers are improving significantly due to high-quality research, newer diagnostic modalities and novel therapies. The childhood cancer survivorship program at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital was established in 2009 to provide a program dedicated to address the unique needs of survivors of childhood cancer.

Each Thursday afternoon, there is a comprehensive multi-disciplinary clinic comprising a physician with expertise in the area of survivorship, a nurse practitioner, a survivorship nurse coordinator, a survivorship-dedicated social worker and a cancer genetics counselor. In this clinic, patients receive risk-based and exposure-related surveillance testing based on evidence linking their therapeutic exposures with specific late effects in accordance with the late effects screening guidelines from the Children’s Oncology Group.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Identify and treat late effects pediatric cancer survivors face as a result of their disease or therapy
  • Facilitate the best physical and psychological outcomes possible
  • Educate patients about the therapy they received

There is a transition program in place to transition the care of these patients to local primary care providers when appropriate.


Learn more about the survivorship team

Specialty Program: Pediatric Cancer Predisposition Expand answer

Program Overview

The Pediatric Cancer Predisposition Program was created in 2019 to serve those children who are found to have a cancer predisposition syndrome.

Examples of cancer predispositions include Li-Fraumeni, familial adenomatous polyposis, DICER1, PTEN (Cowden), Beckwith-Wiedemann, multiple endocrine neoplasia and ataxia-telangiectasia.


Specialty Program: Pediatric Experimental Therapeutics Expand answer

Program Overview

The Pediatric Experimental Therapeutics Program was established in 2010. The mission of the Experimental Therapeutics Program and its Experimental Therapeutics Research and Clinical Team (ExTRaCT) is to offer novel, biologically relevant treatment regimens that incorporate cutting-edge science to pediatric and adolescent/young adult patients with cancer through clinical trials.

ExTRaCT is a dedicated and experienced team of attending physicians spanning diverse areas of expertise, a nurse practitioner, a pediatric oncology clinical pharmacy specialist as well as a dedicated clinical research nurse coordinator, a compliance specialist, a database manager and specimen coordinator who also assists in data entry.

The current director, Dr. Valerie I. Brown, joined the division in October 2013. Dr. Brown acts as the conduit between cutting-edge bench research in oncogenesis/drug discovery development and patient clinical trials.

The goals of the program are:

  • To establish Penn State as a participating site in relevant consortia and become a national leader in early-phase clinical studies
  • To develop a comprehensive repository of patient data and specimens
  • In partnership with Penn Institute for Personalized Medicine, to establish a repository of patient tumor samples for future use by investigators
  • To educate faculty, trainees, advanced practitioners, patients and their families at Penn State regarding the importance of early-phase clinical trials and of conducting strong clinical research


Specialty Program: Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Expand answer

Program Overview

The pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation program at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital was established in 1998 and expanded in 2003. This program provides high-quality comprehensive services to infants, children, adolescents and young adults whose treatment requires a stem cell transplant or other cellular therapy.

The team offers a full array of stem cell transplantation services, including autologous transplants, related and unrelated donor allogeneic transplants and unrelated donor umbilical cord blood transplants for treatment of solid tumors, hematologic malignancies, primary immunodeficiencies, metabolic disorders, bone marrow failure and hemoglobinopathies such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia.

Approximately 15 to 20 patients receive a variety of cellular therapies annually. The team is also developing a pediatric CAR-T cell therapy program. The experienced team directly provides care for the stem cell transplantation patients both in the inpatient and outpatient settings.

Autologous stem cell transplants are done for infants with malignant brain tumors, high-risk neuroblastoma and select recurrent solid tumors. Allogeneic stem cell transplants using matched sibling donors, matched unrelated donors and unrelated umbilical cord blood donors are also completed. With the addition of SCID to the Pennsylvania Newborn Screen, there has been a recent increase in infant transplants.

There is a dedicated stem cell transplantation block for fellows, which includes inpatient and outpatient rotations.


Specialty Program: Pediatric Hemophilia Expand answer

Program Overview

The pediatric hemophilia program is part of Penn State’s federal- and state-funded comprehensive hemophilia treatment center. This program provides multidisciplinary and comprehensive care for children with inherited bleeding disorders, including diagnosis and management of hemophilia, home infusion program, physical therapy and family counseling and support. Approximately 160 children and adolescents are followed in this program.


Specialty Program: Pediatric Hemostasis and Thrombosis Expand answer

Program Overview

The pediatric hemostasis and thrombosis program provides comprehensive expert care to infants, children and adolescents with a variety of hemostatic (bleeding) and thrombotic (clotting) disorders. The program offers a full array of coagulation services, including anticoagulation management, diagnosis of bleeding and thrombotic disorders, peri-operative hemostasis management, assessment and management of young adolescents with heavy menstrual bleeding, and patient and family education and counseling for inherited coagulation disorders.


Specialty Program: Pediatric Neurofibromatosis Expand answer

Program Overview

The pediatric neurofibromatosis program, started in 2020, provides care for children of all ages with neurofibromatosis and focuses on education and screening.


Specialty Program: Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Expand answer

Program Overview

The multidisciplinary pediatric neuro-oncology program was developed at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital in 2000 to better meet the needs of children with brain and spinal cord tumors. The program is committed to improving the survival rate for these children through state-of-the-art, research-based care.

The medical team provides a high level of expertise and is composed of a variety of subspecialists. The team works in collaboration to provide highly specialized treatment plans. The group sees approximately 30 new cases each year and more than 200 children are followed in this program.

This program oversees its own pediatric neuro-oncology tumor board, which is held twice monthly. This tumor board discusses all new cases as well as reviewing active patients on treatment and all recurrent patients. There is a special long-term follow-up multidisciplinary clinic held monthly for patients with brain tumors.


Specialty Program: Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology Expand answer

Program Overview

The pediatric psychosocial oncology program offers comprehensive psychosocial programs and services focused on the needs of children, adolescents and young adults who have been diagnosed with pediatric cancer. The experienced team provides comprehensive psychosocial care from diagnosis through survivorship.

The following support services are offered:

  • All patients are assigned a social worker at the time of diagnosis.
  • Psychosocial assessment is conducted for each new family.
  • Child life specialists are available to assist with distress related to medical procedures.
  • Music therapists and an art therapist are available to all children and adolescents during inpatient hospitalizations.
  • Chaplain services are available to all families.
  • Neuropsychological assessments are provided to at-risk patients.
  • Psychological support services are available to all patients and families, both inpatient and outpatient.
  • Bereavement support services are offered to families.


Specialty Program: Pediatric Sickle Cell Expand answer

Program Overview

Approximately 140 to 150 pediatric patients with sickle cell disease are followed in the pediatric sickle cell program, which provides high-quality, comprehensive services to infants, children, adolescents and young adults with sickle cell disease with the goal of optimizing the well-being of affected patients and their families through preventative care, therapy for acute and chronic complications and education regarding the management of sickle cell disease.

The comprehensive sickle cell clinic coordinates the complex care for this patient population. The program participates in the Pennsylvania Department of Health Division of Newborn Screening and Genetics grant program as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Health Sickle Cell grant program.


Fellow Honors and Recognitions

Exceptional Teachers Expand answer

Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center accept ongoing nominations for the Exceptional Moments in Teaching award.

The award, given monthly by the Office for a Respectful Learning Environment, accepts nominations from College of Medicine students who are invited to submit narratives about faculty members, residents, fellows, nurses or any other educators who challenge them and provide an exceptional learning experience. See more about the award here.

Previous nominees from the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship are listed here. Click the + next to a nominee name to read their nominator’s comments.

Resident/Fellow Research Day Presentations Expand answer

The annual Resident/Fellow Research Day is held each year (with exception of during the COVID-19 pandemic) on and around the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center campus.

The intent of the event is to provide an opportunity for residents and fellows to showcase their research accomplishments to their peers in other clinical departments, as well as their colleagues in the basic sciences.

Learn more about Resident/Fellow Research Day here.

Previous presentations from the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship are listed here.

Trainee Peer-Reviewed Publications Expand answer

A selection of recent peer-reviewed publications with Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship trainees as authors appears here.

Latest News from Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Latest News from Penn State Health Children's Hospital

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