Meet Our Fellowship Directors
Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and BMT Fellowship Tour
As a fellow, you will...
- Be exposed to a comprehensive clinical experience in hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplant
- Integrate as a key member of patient care teams in both inpatient and outpatient settings
- Learn how clinical trials are developed and carried out in all three disciplines through an active clinical trials office that is integrated daily with clinical care
- Have the opportunity to be mentored in either clinical or basic science research from experts in their fields
- Benefit from a joint educational curriculum with fellows from all other specialties that focuses on topics including working in an inter-disciplinary team, research collaboration and career preparation
- Be encouraged and mentored to present and network at national hematology/oncology/BMT conferences
About our Fellowship
- Train experts with the knowledge and the experience necessary to care for hematology, oncology and BMT patients.
- Provide training through a combination of hands-on and didactic learning that allows fellows the opportunity to be an active and engaged member of each specialty team throughout their training.
- Foster the development of early career research mentorship that provides the fundamentals for a successful career in clinical or basic research.
- Provide an environment that encourages growth of the fellows teaching expertise and approach as they become junior faculty members.
Clinical training in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Blood and Marrow Transplant Fellowship centers on a multidisciplinary approach to the care of patients with hematological, oncological, and immunological diseases in the MACC Fund Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children's Wisconsin. Children's is an award-winning health care system dedicated solely to the health and well-being of children.
Multidisciplinary teams of physicians, nurses and many other health care professionals specializing in pediatrics are available to meet the full range of patient-care needs. The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Blood and Marrow Transplant services see over 4,000 patients in outpatient clinics and admit over 400 children per year.
During the three-year training program, time is distributed to ensure that fellows develop clinical expertise. Clinical time will be split between outpatient clinics, inpatient ward, procedures, and the corresponding service related conferences. Fellows will spend one half day per week in continuity clinic for the duration of their training.
The focus of the first year of the fellowship is to develop the clinical skills and abilities to provide optimal patient care for children with blood disorders and cancer. The program provides approximately 11 months of clinical experience, both inpatient and outpatient, the first year.
During their clinical rotation the fellow will be on first call from 8:00 am-5:00 pm and call will also be taken one weekend per month and one night per week on the assigned clinical service. Continuity Clinic will focus on oncology patients one half day per week throughout the first year. Each subspecialty has a variety of daily clinics to give the fellow full exposure to hematology, oncology, and blood and marrow transplant related diagnoses.
During the first year, the fellow will devote his/her efforts to the following rotations.
The fellow will spend 12 weeks on the hematology service during the first year. At the end of the first year the fellow will have a diversity of experiences with children with hematologic disorders and develop the clinical skills needed to function as a clinician. The Hematology Program sees over 650 new patients annually.
The Hematology Inpatient Unit has more than 340 admission per year with 70 new patients admitted annually.
Benign Hematology Clinics are held weekly. More than 645 new hematology patients are seen per year with various hematological disorders.
The Comprehensive Center for Bleeding Disorders holds weekly clinics. The Center actively follows more than 300 patients with bleeding and clotting disorders per year.
Hemophilia Clinics are held weekly. Over 60 patients with hemophilia were followed over the last year.
The Sickle Cell Disease Center holds a variety of clinics on a weekly and monthly basis including Hydroxyurea clinics and Neuro-Heme clinics. The center actively follows more than 350 children and 100 adults with Sickle Cell disease and it's variants.
- Caring for both hospitalized and clinic patients with sickle cell disease, hemoglobinopathies, anemia, white cell disorders, abnormalities of hemostasis, hemophilia, disorders of platelet function and thrombosis plus a variety of other acute and chronic hematological disorders
- Reviewing peripheral blood smears, bone marrow slides, coagulation studies, and immunologic testing
- Attending service appropriate patient care conference and presenting patients seen with those respective problems
The fellow will spend 12 weeks on inpatient oncology service and 4 weeks on outpatient oncology service during the first year. The Oncology Program sees approximately 160 new patients annually.
The Oncology Inpatient Unit has over 890 admissions per year with 130 new patients admitted annually.
Brain Tumor Clinic is held weekly and provides comprehensive interdisciplinary care in a single setting to children and young adults with brain tumors.
The General Oncology Clinic sees patients daily. More than 150 newly diagnosed oncology patients are seen each year and the program actively manages more than 600 patients.
Musculoskeletal Oncology Clinic is held weekly and provides interdisciplinary treatment for children and young adults with primary bone and soft tissue tumors.
- Caring for patients with leukemia, lymphomas, brain tumors, and other solid tumors in both an inpatient and outpatient setting
- Performing bone marrow aspirations, biopsies, and lumbar puncture with administration of intrathecal chemotherapy
- Reviewing peripheral blood, bone marrow aspirations and biopsies, samples of cerebrospinal fluid and flow cytometric results from patients with oncological disorders
- Attending, participating, and presenting at multi-disciplinary conferences
- Following pediatric patients with representative oncological disease for the duration of the fellowship in a continuity care clinic
Blood and Marrow Transplant
The fellow will rotate in the blood and marrow transplant service for 10 weeks. During this rotation the fellow will develop an understanding of the indications for hematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) transplantation, histocompatibility biology, and pre-transplant typing procedures.
Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinics are held daily. The BMT program performs 40 transplants and follows over 80 patients per year. Our experienced program focuses on translational research to provide a solid foundation for the most advanced care.
- Participating in the care of patients receiving autologous and allogeneic donor transplants
- Identifying and managing complications of blood and marrow transplantation including graft failure, graft versus host disease, organ dysfunction, and disease relapse post HPC transplantation
- Working with the multidisciplinary team to learn and appreciate the medical and psychosocial issues unique to HPC transplantation
- Attending and presenting at weekly conferences where potential new patients and the status of current HPC transplant patients are discussed
The fellow will do a 2-week rotation in transfusion medicine and 2 weeks in hematopathology. This rotation offers a laboratory approach to diagnosis of hematologic disorders, as well as education in the structure and function of the routine hematology laboratory.
During this rotation the fellow will:
- Work in a variety of clinical laboratories at Children's Wisconsin, Froedtert Hospital, and the Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin
- Gain practical expertise in diverse topics such as the processing and storage characteristics of blood and blood components, typing and crossmatching for transfusion, infectious risks of blood products, complications of transfusion, plasmapheresis indications and methods, HLA typing, and hematopoietic stem cell processing
- Develop a better understanding of laboratory techniques/technologies necessary for the care of pediatric patients with hematological and oncological diseases
- Learn to function as effective laboratory consultant to clinical colleagues, both in the interpretation of pathologic material, as well as by providing input into the proper utilization and interpretation of laboratory tests for the patient work-up
- There will be no call responsibility during this rotation
The fellow will take two weeks during year one to identify a research mentor and project with the guidance of the Scholarship Oversight Committee.
The fellow will have one month during the first year on an elective rotation. Elective rotations include Palliative Care or Radiation Oncology.
Years 2 and 3
The second and third years of the fellowship training provide ample protected time to pursue research endeavors while fostering improved clinical, administrative, and teaching skills.
- One month will be spent on a clinical service of the fellow’s choice during each of the second and third years of the fellowship with the option to take additional clinical time if desired.
- Clinical call will be taken one weekend per month on either the hematology or oncology clinical service.
- The fellow's oncology continuity clinic will continue into years two and three with a half-day continuity clinic every other week alternating weeks with a half-day hematology continuity clinic.
- Clinical responsibilities in the second and third year will emphasize on supervised decision making and the fellow will be given a more senior role in communication with families and patients, and in teaching medical students and residents.
Years 2 and 3 of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Blood and Marrow Transplant Program are dedicated to hypothesis-driven research. Two distinct research pathways are offered, laboratory-based research and clinical research. A major goal of our training program is to provide fellows a focused environment in which they can develop research interests and be positioned to successfully compete for extramural funding upon completion of their training. Each of our fellows is assigned a three-member Scholarship Oversight Committee (SOC) to help the fellow choose a suitable mentor and research project. The SOC will guide the fellow along with their research mentor meeting regularly during the 3 years of the fellowship training.
Multidisciplinary teams within the section take problems encountered in the clinic back to the laboratory to better understand cellular and molecular mechanisms, then return to the clinic with improved treatment strategies. Active translational research programs include experimental hematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation, cancer immunotherapy, mechanisms of vasoocclusion in sickle cell disease and bleeding disorders, and the diagnosis and treatment of vascular tumors and anomalies.
Fellows who choose to pursue the clinical research track are encouraged to also pursue a master's degree in Clinical and Translational Science, Public Health, or Bioethics (paid for by the Department of Pediatrics). The section of Hematology-Oncology has a long-standing commitment to basic and translational research that stems from the work carried out in our basic science laboratories, development of and participation in institutional and cooperative group trials (including Phase I trials), as well as in epidemiology and outcomes research. Important clinical questions are the focus of active collaborations involving clinical and basic science investigators within our section as well as expert research staff in neighboring research institutions.
The Versiti Blood Research Institute and the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Blood and Marrow Transplant Division at the Medical College of Wisconsin have an ongoing collaboration that has contributed to an invaluable network of scientific discovery and patient care.
The Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) is a combined research program of the National Marrow Donor Program and the Medical College of Wisconsin working to collect and study data on blood and bone marrow transplants worldwide. More than 500 international transplant centers collaborate with the CIBMTR to conduct research studies, collect, maintain, and share outcomes data on more than 300,000 transplant recipients, provide statistical expertise to researchers, and to provide education, guidelines, and training.
The Children's Research Institute advances state-of-the-art pediatric health care through translational research programs to find life-saving discoveries and cures in the disease that affect children and interventions that enhance quality of life for children and families living with chronic health conditions.
The Clinical Immunodiagnostic and Research Laboratory (CIRL) provides comprehensive diagnostic services and innovative methods to detect, diagnose, and treat immunologic, hematologic, and oncologic disease states.
The Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center is the only academic-based cancer research and patient care group in Southeastern Wisconsin. It is a matrix cancer center with clinical facilities at Froedtert Hospital, Children's Wisconsin, and Zablocki VA Medical Center.
The MACC Fund, Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer, Inc., a Milwaukee based charitable organization, works very closely with the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Blood and Marrow Transplant Division and the Medical College of Wisconsin to fight pediatric cancer and related blood disorders through research funding. Since its inception in 1976, the MACC Fund has contributed nearly $30 million to MCW’s pediatric cancer and blood disorder research. This unique and exceptional affiliation provides researchers with the resources needed to fight against childhood cancer and related blood disorders.
With a wide variety of research options available, fellows have the opportunity to participate in an ongoing research project or establish projects of their own under a faculty mentor. Whether the fellow chooses a clinical research path or a basic science path, they will ultimately present their research at regional and national forums and publish in peer reviewed journals.
Lectures and Conferences
In addition to clinical and research rotations, there are a variety of conferences to enhance the fellows' learning opportunities including a weekly Tumor Board, weekly Hematology conference and a monthly Journal Club. There are weekly didactic lectures focusing on topics in Hematology, Oncology and Transplants as well as a Joint Fellowship Curriculum run through the Department of Pediatrics. Fellows are strongly encouraged to attend Pediatric Grand Rounds and Professors rounds.
- Fellows' HOT Lecture Series - a weekly didactic lecture series presented by faculty on hematology, oncology, and blood and marrow transplant core topics.
- Hematology Conference - a weekly case conference discussing relevant cases. During the hematology rotation fellows will present patient cases including data, slides, and literature review.
- Subspecialty case-related staff meetings are held weekly and fellows will attend while during that corresponding rotation.
- Evidence Based Medicine Curriculum - fellows present a variety of journal articles on interesting hematology/oncology/blood and marrow transplant related publications. Faculty and staff from the section attend.
- Tumor Board - a multidisciplinary conference where relevant oncological cases are reviewed and discussed. Fellows will participate in Tumor Board throughout the fellowship. The fellow will identify relevant cases, present pertinent history, physical and laboratory findings. Radiology, pathology, and other subspecialties review pertinent findings as appropriate. The fellow will then discuss the diagnosis and recent literature supporting a care plan.
- Joint Fellowship Curriculum - a monthly conference designed to address both the academic requirements mandated by the ACGME and the career and personal development of fellows within the Department of Pediatrics.
- K-Club - The Pediatric Chair's K-Club is held weekly and provides an inclusive forum for fellows to receive feedback on grants, manuscripts and presentations.
- Fellows are also strongly encourage to attend Pediatric Grand Rounds, CRI Research Conference, and Professors Rounds weekly plus any presentations or conferences they feel would benefit their education during the fellowship.
Joint Fellowship Curriculum
The Joint Fellowship Curriculum is overseen by the Department of Pediatrics and reviews universal concepts, including development of research design, abstract and manuscript preparation, basic biostatistics, quality improvement, professionalism, communication, teaching, administration and leadership, and career counseling, including the balance of work and family life. This core curriculum is designed to address both the academic requirements mandated by the American Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the career and personal development goals expressed by our fellows.
The goal of the JFC is to provide an excellent educational experience to all fellows in the Department of Pediatrics through case-based, hands-on curriculum modules based on the needs of each year of fellowship (F-1, F-2 and F-3).
As junior faculty members, fellows are expected to supervise and teach pediatric residents and medical students in the care of pediatric oncology, hematology and transplant patients. Several teaching and speaking opportunities are available to create a well-rounded learning portfolio.
As part of their fellowship training, fellows will be provided with instruction in clinical teaching skills. Fellows will supervise 2-4 residents each month and a variable number of medical students assigning tasks and reviewing consultation notes before presenting to the attending faculty. In the second and third years of the fellowship fellows will present monthly on a variety of core lecture topics to rotating residents. They will develop necessary communication and teaching skills.
This multifaceted program is designed to provide the education and practical training that are important to planning and conducting clinical and translational research projects in an academic or commercial environment. The program and its curriculum are designed to offer appropriate training to individuals who have established skills and credentials as basic scientists, bioengineers, clinicians, and health care providers (nurses, nutritionists, psychologists, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, etc.).
Masters of Public Health
The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program offers coursework towards a 42-credit Master of Public Health degree or 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Public Health. Students may also enroll in courses as non-degree or special students. Courses are offered in a convenient, distance-learning format; all can be completed online.
Masters of Bioethics
The traditional Master of Arts in Bioethics program provides advanced training for professionals, academics, and other interested individuals in health care, law, the humanities, and public policy who wish to become prepared for teaching, research, policy development, and clinical consultation work related to bioethics. The program provides students an opportunity for on-campus study and research of current and emerging issues through a combination of didactic, clinical, and research activities. The core curriculum of the program provides a solid foundation in the language and literature of bioethics and develops related critical thinking skills. Students may create an area of emphasis through the selection of appropriate elective courses and the thesis topic. The program allows for full-time or part-time study in order to accommodate the needs of working professionals, as well as medical students, residents, and fellows involved in Medical College of Wisconsin programs.
Third Year Fellows
Karen Chao, MD
Leonid Melnikov, DO
Amanda Scheuermann, DO
Second Year Fellows
Nicole Liberio, MD
Kristin Zoin, MD
First Year Fellows
Alejandra Escobar Vasco, MD
Luke Lamar, MD
At the Medical College of Wisconsin we take pride in the outstanding accomplishments of our fellows. Below are some selected highlights.
- Selected participant in 2013 Haemophilia Academy in Edinburgh UK, Oct 2013. This is a prestigious honor, with only 30 participants worldwide chosen to attend. Attendees are selected through a competitive process from a large international pool of applicants
- Multiple Baxter Clinical Fellowship Grants
- Multiple NIH Loan Repayment Program Grants
- Multiple participants in Clinical Research Training Course, American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (awarded to 12 fellows/junior faculty selected for their outstanding clinical research proposal from a pool of national applicants)
- Multiple Medical College of Wisconsin Pediatric Research Day award winners.
- James B. Nachman American Society for Clinical Oncology Junior Faculty Award in Pediatric Oncology for outstanding abstract submitted to the ASCO Annual Meeting (one winner each year, only two have ever been awarded)
- Faculty Scholar Program in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement
- Hyundai Hope on Wheels Scholar Grant
- MACC Fund Novel Initiative Grant
- MCW/ACS Grant
- MACC Fund Novel Initiative Award
- Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Clinical Scholars Program
- Multiple American Society of Hematology's Clinical Research Training Institute (ASH-CRTI) participants
- American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation Clinical Research Training Course
- Multiple Medical College of Wisconsin Fellow Poster Day award winners
- "Young Investigator's Travel Award," at THSNA (Hemostasis and Thrombosis Research Society) conference for presentation poster
- Multiple NIH Ruth L Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Pediatric fellow Clinical Research Awards
- NIH/NHLBI Grant $501,245
- 1 of 20 fellows and junior faculty from across the US and Canada selected on a competitive basis for participation in the first year of this training and mentoring program, American Society of Hematology’s Clinical Research Training Institute (ASH- CRTI)
- Children's Wisconsin Research Fund Grant
- Boonschoft School of Medicine Seed Grant
- NIH Training Grant - Hematology Training, Versiti Blood Research Institute
In addition to presenting at Medical College of Wisconsin and Children’s Wisconsin case conference (hematology case conference, tumor board, fellow journal club, resident lectures, etc.), our fellows are often invited to speak at local, regional, national, and even international events.
- Multiple Scientific Mentored Outreach Research Experience Session (SMORES) Advisory Board
- Multiple Oral Poster presentations American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting
- St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Cancer Prevention and Control Seminar
- Multiple Oral Presentations Medical College of Wisconsin Sarcoma Survivor Event –
- Poster presentation at the American Association of Blood Banks Annual Meeting
- Poster presentation at the American Society for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO)
- Oral presentation at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting
- Oral Presentation Primary Immune Deficiency Disease North American Conference
- Poster Presentation American Society of Hematology
- Palliative Care Grand Rounds, Massachusetts General Hospital; Boston, MA
- Pediatric Grand Rounds, Loyola University Medical Center; Maywood, IL
- Pediatric Grand Rounds, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; Grand Rapids, MI
- Abstract presented as oral presentation at ISPNO 6/2010 (presented in absentia) and as poster at SIOP
- Children's Wisconsin, Grand Rounds; Milwaukee, WI
- Presentation at Annual Residency Research Conference of Pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Illinois
- Poster presentation in Hemophilia and Thrombosis Research Society (HTRS)
- Poster Presentation for the Joint Meeting of the Society for Neuro-Oncology and AANS/CNS Section on Tumors
- Memorial Healthcare System’s 2nd Annual National Sickle Cell Disease Research and Educational Symposium
- Oral presentation American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting
- Oral presentation Milwaukee Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
- Multiple Poster Presentation - Tandem Bone Marrow Transplant Meeting
- Multiple oral presentations American Heart Association Annual Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology Meeting
- Multiple oral presentations American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Annual Meeting
- Oral presentation National Sickle Cell Disease Program meeting
- Epidemiology and Clinical Trial Design Workshop, Berlex Oncology Foundation sponsored workshop
Individually and collaboratively, our fellows have consistently published manuscripts in major scholarly journals including:
- Pediatric Blood and Cancer
- Infectious Diseases in Clinical Practice
- Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
- Digestive Diseases and Sciences
- Molecular and Cellular Proteomics
- Pediatric and Developmental Pathology
- British Journal of Hematology
- Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
- Journal of Cystic Fibrosis
- Pediatric Nephrology
- Wisconsin Medical Journal
- Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
- Clinical Infectious Disease
- Transplantation Proceedings Journal
- Keystone Journal
- Pediatric Research Journal
- Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal
- American Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
- Blood Cells, Molecules, and Diseases Journal
- Clinical Psychiatry
Please see MCW Benefits, Conditions & Terms of Employment for information regarding stipends (including working condition benefit), vacations, health and dental benefits, professional liability and more.
Our 3-year fellowship program is ACGME accredited and begins on July 1 each year. We accept two fellows each academic year through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Applications from prospective applicants are accepted from November through January via the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).
Complete applications should include the following:
- ERAS application form
- At least 3 letters of reference including Program Director letter
- Medical Student Performance Evaluation/Dean's Letter
- Curriculum Vitae
- Personal statement
- USMLE scores - Steps 1, 2, and 3
- ECFMG certificate for foreign medical school graduates (see visa information below)
Our program currently accepts the following visas:
- Permanent Resident Visa
- Visitor Exchange Visa sponsored by ECFMG (J-1)
- Temporary Professional Worker's Visa (H-1B)
- For additional visa information please visit Graduate Medical Education
Overall, I feel like I was extremely lucky to have such an incredible fellowship experience in Milwaukee. Clinically, I saw a wide variety of patients and diagnoses and cared for children in all aspects of their treatment and in all locations of the hospital. I feel well prepared to handle difficult clinical scenarios and care for complicated patients. From my mentors I have learned to deliver difficult information, think critically, work hard and have compassion. From my patients and families, I have learned about perseverance, the importance of maintaining good communication, what it means to be a patient advocate and how important it is to celebrate both small and large victories. I am very grateful to have worked with so many outstanding faculty mentors who I now consider to be close friends. They have been very supportive, provided me with unique opportunities to further my career and have helped position me to become successful in the world of pediatric leukemia research. I am looking forward to continuing to work with them throughout my career.
A former fellow
Fellowship Program Contact
Education Program Coordinator II
Richard Tower, MD, MS
Program Director, Pediatrics Hematology/Oncology/BMT
Department of Pediatrics
8701 Watertown Plank Rd.
Milwaukee, WI 53226