Hematology-Oncology

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

What does a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist do?
What are the career opportunities?
What Board, if any, certifies a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?
What is the lifestyle of a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?
What is the compensation of a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?
How do I become a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?
Where do I find out about available programs?
When do I apply?
Why should I choose to become a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?
Faculty Contacts
Proposed Electives

What does a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist do?
Primary clinical duties are diagnosing and treating children with cancer and a variety of different blood disorders. Often these diagnoses (e.g. inherited disorders of coagulation or malignant bone sarcoma) allow the specialist to form close relationships with patients and families to guide them through complex decisions or life-threatening conditions. Outpatient hematology practice includes the evaluation and management of patients with benign disorders (e.g. hemolytic and nutritional anemia, ITP, and neutropenia). Due to the acuity and complexity of the patients, clinical care also depends on communication and collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of medical sub-specialists and support staff.

What are the career opportunities?
While most Hematologist/Oncologists practice in academic settings, a greater number are now in private practice. Members of academic faculty spend varying amounts of time teaching, performing research, or attending to administrative responsibilities.

Academic pediatric hematologists and oncologists can choose to be a pure clinician or combine research with clinical responsibilities. Pediatric hematology/oncology has an unmatched emphasis on clinical trial participation that practically defines standard of care for patients with malignancies. Therefore, physicians both in private and academic practice have the opportunity to participate in international clinical trials. Some pediatric Hematologist/ Oncologists choose to make clinical research a significant component of their career. These individuals often secure a Master of Public Health or Master in Clinical Science degree. Those who focus on laboratory science spend the majority of their time conducting research and have less clinical duties than their clinical colleagues.

There is opportunity for sub-specialization. For instance, many centers have institutional experts in specific components of hematology (sickle cell, hemophilia, thrombosis, etc) and likewise specific components of oncology (leukemia, solid tumors, neuro-oncology, or survivorship). Centers performing Stem Cell Transplantation generally have dedicated pediatric Hematologist/Oncologists who focus their careers in this area.

What Board, if any, certifies a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?
Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologists are first certified in general pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics. After fellowship training, one is eligible to apply for the sub-subspecialty board of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology of the American Board of Pediatrics.

What is the lifestyle of a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?
Personal time and family life are essential to all physicians. Most pediatric Hematologist/Oncologists can balance the workload and stress of complex medical care with a fulfilling personal life. However, the majority of pediatric Hematologist/Oncologists work more than 40 hours per week and hence those considering this career should be prepared for hard work both during training and beyond.

Call responsibilities are variable based on the size of practice, academic or non-academic institution, and the role of fellows (if any) within the institution. Weekend and evening on-call responsibilities are a component of all positions, but typically involve home-call and is usually not excessive.

What is the compensation of a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?
Compensation is within mid-range of the pediatric subspecialists. The compensation allows a comfortable lifestyle. Those in private practice may earn larger salaries than individuals in academic positions. For additional salary information, please click here or here

How do I become a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology training generally consists of 3 years of fellowship training but occasional people will participate in one of several alternative training pathways . Fellowship involves learning about the diagnosis and care of patients with cancer and malignant and benign hematology disorders. Since in many centers practice encompasses Stem Cell Transplantation, all fellowship programs also include a component of training in this discipline. While not essential, previous research experience with published results (preferably peer-reviewed) is helpful in applying to larger, competitive academic programs.

Almost all Pediatric Hematology/Oncology subspecialty training programs participate in the NRMP and use ERAS for application. Match statistics are available by clicking here.

Where do I find out about available programs?
Information about Pediatric Hematology/Oncology training programs is available through the Freida and ERAS websites. Most programs have also developed their own informative websites explaining their individual strengths, pathways for training, and what current and graduate fellows are doing both in clinical practice and research.

When do I apply?
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship training programs participate in the NRMP Pediatric Specialties Fall Match. Applicants complete ERAS applications in July of their final year of pediatric or medicine/pediatric residency training. Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship programs can begin receiving and reviewing applications in mid-July. Programs typically interview interested applicants from August to October. Important dates concerning the NRMP Pediatric Subspecialties Fall Match can be found here: http://www.nrmp.org/fellowships/pediatrics-specialties-fall-match/
NRMP Pediatric Specialties Fall Match link:   http://www.nrmp.org/fellowships/pediatrics-specialties-fall-match/
ERAS Link:  https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-residency/article/pediatric-hematology-onc-new-recruitment-cycle/

Why should I choose to become a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?
If you enjoy the opportunity to develop life long relationships with families and patients and enjoy the diversity and balance of complex inpatient care and outpatient continuity; if you enjoy the opportunity to continually participate in treatment strategies aimed to improve care and are intrigued by the principles of scientific discovery both clinical and basic; if you are thoughtful, careful, empathetic, energetic, confident and willing to join a team of physicians with the opportunity to care for some of the most amazing patients you will ever meet – then maybe Pediatric Hematology/Oncology is right for you!

For more information about Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, visit these websites:

Freida
ACGME
ERAS Fellowships
AAP Section on Hematology/Oncology
American Society of Pediatric Hematology Oncology (ASPHO)
American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
American Society of Hematology (ASH)

Subspecialty Journal:
Pediatric Blood and Cancer

 Related Journals:

Pediatrics

Blood

Journal of Clinical Oncology

 
Faculty Contacts

Click here  for a list of potential faculty contacts in this subspecialty. These individuals have offered to be available to medical students/residents to discuss their career and their particular subspecialty. Questions could include the choice of subspecialty, lifestyle, job opportunities and the fellowship application process. This is not meant to be a long-term mentorship relationship.

Proposed Electives for a Medical Student/Resident Entering Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist
Below is a list of suggested (not mandatory) rotations that a medical student/resident could consider if they are planning to apply in this subspecialty. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive curriculum, but rather a list to create a program that fits an individual’s needs.
Outpatient Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

  1. To understand the treatment and experience of this patient population in the outpatient setting
  2. To better develop relationships with Pediatric Hematology/Oncology faculty for mentorship and recommendations
  • Several of the following electives aimed at improving knowledge of the organ systems most commonly compromised in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology practice, whether secondary to disease or to toxicity:
    1. Hematopathology
    2. Radiation Oncology
    3. Palliative Care
    4. Pediatric Pathology
    5. Transfusion Medicine
    6. Immunology
    7. Infectious Disease
    8. Pediatric Radiology
    9. Cardiology
    10. Dermatology
    11. Gastroenterology
    12. Nephrology
    13. Pulmonology