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Fellowships

Hematology and oncology

Mission

The Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology’s fellowship program trains fellows for a career in academic pediatric hematology, oncology, and stem cell transplantation. It is a three-year program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, with a 4th year Research Fellowship available to select applicants.

The Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU is a component of Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Medicine, one of the oldest medical schools in the country, and VCU Massey Cancer Center, an NCI-designated cancer center.  We offer the only pediatric hematology and oncology fellowship and stem cell transplantation programs in Virginia.

During the first year, comprehensive patient care is established through intensive hands-on patient-focused, well-mentored training. In addition, fellows supervise and teach pediatric residents and medical students on the inpatient wards and in clinic. The fellows are assigned as the primary physician to a number of newly diagnosed patients whom they will continue to follow throughout the three years of their fellowship. 

The second and third years of the fellowship training program are dedicated to providing the fellow with a meaningful research experience with the prospect of publication and independent grant support.  A fourth year of support is available for highly-focused fellows. Continuity clinics and on call scheduling continue throughout the fellowship. An additional year of support is available for individuals committed to an academic career in cancer genomics or early clinical trials.

Clinical training

Under the supervision of the faculty, fellows care for patients with a variety of hematological and oncological disorders, including:

  • Hemoglobinopathies, thrombosis and other coagulation disorders
  • Other red blood cell, white blood cell and platelet disorders
  • Bone marrow failure syndromes
  • Acute and chronic leukemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma and other solid tumors, brain tumors, rare pediatric malignancies, autoimmune, lymphoproliferative and histiocytic disorders

In our stem cell transplantation program, fellows care for patients who undergo allogeneic (related, unrelated donor, umbilical cord blood, and haploidentical) or autologous transplants — both single and sequential (tandem) transplants.

In addition to general hematology and oncology within the division, there are multi-disciplinary programs in:

  • Sickle cell disease and related hemoglobinopathies
  • Hemophilia and inherited coagulation disorders
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Stem cell transplant
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Bone marrow failure and cancer predisposition

Our holistic approach to pediatric care combines integrated efforts of all pediatric professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, social workers, child life specialists, psychologists, chaplains and teachers.

The division actively participates in Children’s Oncology Group clinical trials, the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium, and federally-funded comprehensive bleeding disorders program.

Rotations

First year

  • Inpatient wards
  • Stem cell transplantation
  • Outpatient
  • Transfusion medicine
  • Hematopathology, cytogenetics, molecular diagnostics, and cancer genomics
  • Radiation oncology
  • Palliative care
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Administrative
  • Elective

Second and third years

  • Inpatient wards
  • Continuity clinic
  • Research

Population served (per year)

  • New childhood cancer cases:  70-80
  • Sickle cell disease patients:  500
  • Hemostasis and thrombosis:  100
  • Childhood blood and marrow transplant cases:  15-20
  • Outpatient visits:  5,000

Curriculum

Our well-designed curriculum includes monthly tumor board, hematology board, journal club and standard of practice meetings. There are weekly board review sessions and division rounds. All fellows complete a core lecture series of the GME and the Department of Pediatrics. Fellows are encouraged to attend one national scientific meeting each year (funding available through a personal expense account) and additional scientific meetings when they will present. They are also expected to complete a quality improvement project during their training.

Research training

In the first year of fellowship, each fellow is assigned a mentor from the faculty to aid in career development. Faculty mentors meet with fellows on a regular basis to provide support and guidance during fellowship and beyond. Once the research project is assigned, the fellow will have a mentor within the lab or school that they attend. The mentor will be a member of the Scholarship Oversight Committee (SOC) and will meet periodically to assess career development and progress of the fellow. During the first year of the fellowship, the fellow has two weeks of administrative time in which they will have the opportunity to explore the labs and other potential projects for the coming years. During the second and third years of fellowship, each fellow conducts research under the mentorship of a faculty preceptor from VCU Massey Cancer Center (NIH-designated cancer center that includes 141 active labs) or other VCU faculty. Second and third year fellows devote their time primarily to research projects.

VCU offers additional training with masters tracks in public health, hospital administration and education.

Fellows mentored by our faculty have received awards from the NIH, American Heart Association, American Society of Hematology, Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation, Department of Defense, and MDS Foundation.   Fellows trained by our faculty have academic appointments at University of Rochester, University of Tokyo School of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, and National Cancer Institute.

Clinical and laboratory research in the Division is being supported by grants from the NIH, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Department of Defense, Shwachman-Diamond Foundation, St Baldrick’s Foundation, and Children’s Oncology Group.

Fourth Year Research Fellowship

Applications from individuals will be accepted for a one-year research fellowship in either cancer genomics or early clinical trials. The successful applicant will be on track to have finished a three-year accredited GME program in pediatric hematology and oncology, demonstrated a record of accomplishment as a trainee as evidenced by presentation at a national meeting or publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and articulated a research focus in cancer genomics or early clinical trials. An individual with genomics or clinical trials-centered proposal in blood disorders, neuro-oncology, or stem cell transplantation will also be eligible. Laboratory-based or clinical trial research will be at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and VCU Massey Cancer Center. The goal of this research fellowship is to train the next generation of pediatric hematology and oncology physician-scientists by enhancing the career development of promising individuals with resources, protected time, and mentorship. This additional support will enhance the individual’s ability to secure NIH K training award and academic appointment as assistant professor. Please see below for instructions on submitting an application.

How to apply

The fellowship program participates in the National Residency Match Program (NRMP) and the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Please be mindful of the applications deadlines listed on each website. Application to the fellowship program is highly competitive. Applicants should be board eligible or board certified in pediatrics.

Important dates

Please refer to the ERAS website for upcoming Match dates.

Applications for the Fourth Year Research Fellowship will be considered separately. Applicants should submit a PDF proposal or hard copy by March 1 of each year to:

Seth Corey, MD, MPH
Professor and Chief of Hematology and Oncology
Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU
VCU Massey Cancer Center
PO Box 980037
Richmond, VA 23298-0037
seth.corey@vcuhealth.org

Fellowship program contacts

Fellowship program director

Marieka Helou, M.D., M.P.H. 
Assistant Professor
Division of Hematology and Oncology
Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU
1000 East Broadl Street
P.O. Box 980121
Richmond, Virginia 23298-0121
Phone: (804) 828-9605
Email: marieka.helou@vcuhealth.org 

Division fellowship coordinator

Sharon Levine
Administrative assistant
Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU
P.O. Box 980037
Richmond, Virginia  23298-0037
Phone: (804) 628-0379
Email: sharon.levine@vcuhealth.org