Fellowship conferences are designed to comprehensively address the biology and natural history of cancer, patient management, and research ethics. The core curriculum consists of a series of 64 didactic lectures concerning the pathophysiology of malignant disease and the basic principles of molecular biology, signal transduction, cellular transformation, and growth regulation as it relates to the process of neoplasia.
Additionally, a number of intensive ‘mini courses’ have been developed for fellows to focus in greater detail on issues important to pursuing a career in pediatric hematology/oncology. Examples of such courses are Bioethics, Bone Marrow Review, Clinical Research Methodology, and Care for the Dying.
A set of core conferences occurs throughout the first year of fellowship, four to five hours per week. The conferences include introductions to the diagnosis, management, and biological underpinnings of the various hematologic and oncologic disorders seen in children and young adults. The topics include:
- tumor biology, clinical features, and management of common pediatric cancers;
- diagnosis, molecular pathophysiology, current and novel treatment strategies of hemoglobinopathies, such as thalassemias and sickling disorders;
- diagnosis, evaluation, and management of common bleeding disorders;
- diagnosis and management of platelet disorders;
- topics related to transfusion medicine;
- bone marrow failure syndromes;
- introduction to stem cell transplantation;
- complications of stem cell transplants, including graft-versus-host disease;
- Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) typing;
- long-term effects of cancer treatment and stem cell transplantation.
The Division of Pediatric/Hematology Oncology at NYPH-WMC holds a comprehensive conference on a weekly basis to discuss both the inpatient service and selected outpatients with unusual or complex problems. Presentations are given by the fellows for each patient. Discussions are undertaken with regard to clinical management and disease pathophysiology.
Clinic Session Conferences
Informal conferences are held during each clinic session at NYPH/WMC to discuss the management of challenging outpatients.
The Department of Pediatric Oncology at MSKCC has two tumor boards each week at which new or complicated patients (from both MSKCC and NYPH-WMC) are presented to a multidisciplinary group, which includes pediatric oncology attendings and fellows, radiation oncologists, surgeons, pathologists, and radiologists, as well as other professionals and students. Every two weeks, there is a fellow-run tumor board in which, the discussion is led by a fellow. Additionally, each week there is a pediatric neuro-oncology tumor board and a bone tumor conference that attracts the relevant professionals involved in the care of such patients.
Morning report occurs every, Tuesday and Friday morning at MSKCC. The fellow on the Pediatric Oncology Service at MSKCC and the fellow on the BMT service at MSKCC (as well as any other interested fellows) meet with one of two senior pediatric oncology attendings to discuss the patients admitted since the prior morning report. The emphasis is on assessment and management of the more complicated patients, and the format is intended to be educational for the fellow.
Bone Marrow Service Conferences
The Adult and Pediatric BMT Service at MSKCC meets once weekly to discuss all active inpatients. Presentations are given by the fellow for each patient. Discussions are undertaken with regard to complicated patients, which include clinical and pathophysiological issues of the specific cases.
A set of research conferences is provided, which includes discussions of old and new protocols. Background data for the protocols and results of ongoing open protocols are reviewed. In addition, updates of data of the core research grants are presented by the principal investigators of the different research components of the grant.
In addition to the various conferences and lectures given at MSKCC, Sloan-Kettering Institute, The Rockefeller University, and NYPH-WMC, the fellowship program also provides funding for fellows to attend national meetings, including the annual meetings of the American Society of Hematology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, and the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. Fellows are also strongly encouraged to present the results of their research at the relevant national meetings.
Morbidity and Mortality Conferences
In conjunction with various departments, fellows present at the monthly Morbidity and Mortality conference.
Journal Clubs and Research-in-Progress Conferences
Second and third year fellows lead journal club discussions and board reviews monthly, and are offered opportunities to present their research initiatives and findings annually.