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Congratulations to the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program’s 2020 graduates!

From the program director

This year, our two graduating Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellows are Dr. Jackie Bamme and Dr. Jennifer Kovatch. It is clear that they are both very intelligent, excellent physicians who are dedicated to their work. Although it is difficult to sum up the “essence” of a person in a single word or phrase, I am going to try to do so here …

I would describe Dr. Bamme as the consummate “big sister.” During her fellowship training, I have watched Dr. Bamme take the junior fellows under her wing, helping them navigate their new roles in a new hospital with a new EMR, offering very useful advice, and shepherding them through the particularly difficult times in fellowship,. She does this with extraordinary compassion, patience, and finesse. Her patients and their families adore her, and I suspect that this is due, at least in part, to her reassuring and relatively unflappable demeanor. I will miss working with her: I will miss her ability to remain calm even when it seems that everything is burning down around her; I will miss her spot-on clinical acumen and preparedness; and I will miss her sense of humor. I am very proud to report that Dr. Bamme has accepted a position at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore as a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology attending physician.

The one word that comes to mind to describe Dr. Kovatch is … passion. Dr. Kovatch exudes passion. She is incredibly passionate about patients. Dr. Kovatch passionately advocates for her patients and always has their best interests at heart. Her compassion for her patients and their families is remarkable. She remains steadfastly at their sides in good and in bad times. Her patients and their families appreciate her tremendously because of her dedication and compassion. Dr. Kovatch is just as passionate about her research. For her scholarly research, Dr. Kovatch joined Dr. Connor’s basic neuroscience lab to study DIPG, a type of childhood brain tumor that is universally fatal. Although Dr. Connor’s research at the time focused on a different type of brain tumor (one more commonly seen in adult patients), he enthusiastically welcomed her to his lab because of her passion to learn and try something completely foreign to her: translational bench research. Because of the progress she made after one year in the lab, Dr. Kovatch was awarded a Four Diamonds grant to further fund her research during the third year of her fellowship. Dr. Kovatch will be pursuing roles as a Pediatric Hospitalist and Pediatric Oncologist for Essentia Health in Fargo, ND.

It has been my privilege to watch the professional and personal growth of both Drs. Bamme and Kovatch, and I will miss their engaging, colorful personalities. However, I know that they will continue to grow and flourish in their new roles, and I look forward to seeing them at future conferences and hearing about all of their accomplishments. I truly wish both of them long, productive careers. Join me in congratulating them in reaching this important milestone in their lives!

Valerie Brown, MD, PhD
Program Director

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