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Fourth Year Fellowship in Pediatric Neuro-oncology

The pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship programs such as that at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH), teach the basic principles and practice in pediatric neuro-oncology. However, in order to acquire more comprehensive and advanced knowledge and skills in this subspecialty, we offer a 1 year post-graduate training specifically in the area of pediatric neuro-oncology at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital. 

History

The core Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Program at Baylor College of Medicine is ACGME accredited and has been in existence for 50 years.  

Currently, in most developed countries, more children die of brain tumors than any other cancer. Furthermore, children who survived brain tumors tend to have more long-term complications than other cancer survivors. Treatment of children with neuro-oncology problems requires a multi-disciplinary team of medical specialists. The needs for unique subspecialists who can orchestrate such a highly specialized multidisciplinary team have produced the concept of pediatric neuro-oncologist.

Duration

Texas Medical Board accredited for one year of advanced training.

Program Certifications

Fellows whom successfully complete the program will receive a Certificate of Training in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, from Baylor College of Medicine. Requirements for successful completion on the program include:  all planned training, mastery of the core cognitive and procedural skills and completion of a research project.

Currently, in most developed countries, more children die of brain tumors than any other cancer. Furthermore, children who survived brain tumors tend to have more long-term complications than other cancer survivors. Treatment of children with neuro-oncology problems requires a multidisciplinary team of medical specialists. The needs for unique subspecialists who can orchestrate such a highly specialized multidisciplinary team have produced the concept of pediatric neuro-oncologist.

Goals and Objectives

The overall objective of this program is to develop clinical expertise, leadership skills and research expertise in the field of neuro-oncology. The specific clinical training goals of this fellowship are: 

  • To provide advanced training in the evaluation, diagnosis and management of children and adolescents with a variety of neoplasms of the nervous system
  • Augment administrative and clinical expertise in the multidisciplinary field of pediatric neuro-oncology.
  • Use basic knowledge in cancer biology to improve the understanding of current therapy and propose novel approaches for the treatment of pediatric brain tumors that will ultimately impact on their management
  • To further augment teaching and leadership skills in the clinic setting

Facilities

Texas Children's Hospital, Cancer and Hematology Centers
The Methodist Hospital
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center 

Educational Program

Trainees participate in outpatient clinic twice weekly, for one-half day, under the direction of Murali Chintagumpala, MD, Co-Director of the Neuro-oncology Program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers.

Specific clinical training goals:

  1. Participate in the diagnosis and management planning for newly diagnosed patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
  2. Observe and participate in the diagnostic conferences and presentation of recommendations for therapy to patients and families.
  3. Responsible for primary patients including follow up, scans, relapse management, chemotherapy orders.
  4. Become involved in and eventually manage protocol enrollment.

Through the following core rotations, each lasting for one to two months, trainees acquire multidisciplinary knowledge and skills necessary for the management of children and adolescents with brain tumors. Depending upon the rotation, our trainees spend 2-3 days weekly in these learning venues, in addition to the time spent in the neuro-oncology clinic service as noted above.

  • Neurosurgery. Learn the indications for shunt placement, biopsies versus attempted resections, post-operative management issues as they relate to children with brain tumors
  • Neuroradiology. Develop a proficiency in interpreting MRIs and CT scans as they relate to children with brain and spinal cord tumors. To be aware of the indications for PET scanning, spectroscopy, Diffuse Tensor Imaging, etc.
  • Neuropathology. Develop a strong knowledge base with reference to the different histologies and the immunostains that help in diagnosis. Acquire knowledge about the role of FISH in assisting the pathologic diagnosis. 
  • Neurology. Develop a good insight into the various neurologic manifestations of different central nervous system tumors. Periodic neurologic assessments to detect changes in signs and symptoms
  • Radiation Oncology. Acquire a strong knowledge base about the indications and side effects of radiation therapy. Gain an appreciation for the complexities of radiotherapy treatment planning. Develop a strong foundation of knowledge regarding the different radiation therapy techniques and equipment including proton beam radiation therapy.

Specific research training goals

  • Develop an excellent fund of knowledge about the background and state-of-the art management of central nevous system tumors.
  • Develop a deep understanding of the development and conduct of clinical trials in children with central nervous system tumors.
  • Understand the importance of translational studies and their contribution to clinical trials
  • Develop leadership qualities in delivering mutlidisciplinary care.

Didactic requirements

In addition, the trainee will actively participate in several, recurrent educational conferences:

  • Tumor Board (weekly)
  • Neuro-oncology/Genomics Laboratory Meeting (weekly)
  • Neuro-oncology Tumor Board (weekly)
  • Departmental Research Seminars (weekly)
  • Neuro-oncology Clinical Team Meeting (weekly)
  • Neuro-oncology Research Meeting: (monthly)
  • Fellow’s Reflective Practice and Leadership Seminar (bi-monthly)
  • Clinical and Research Mentor Meeting (weekly)
  • Attend and participate in Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center Conferences
Conference Frequency Role of the Fellow
Tumor Board & Problem Case Conference weekly Organizes & conducts conference
Moderates discussion
Participant in discussion
Neuro-oncology Conference weekly Participant in discussion
May do case presentation
Hematology Team Conference bi-weekly May present conferences
Participant  in Q&A
Research Seminar Conference weekly Observer
Participant in Q&A
Coagulation Conference monthly Observer
Participant in Q&A
General Hematology Conference monthly Observer
Participant in Q&A

Prerequisite Training/Selection Criteria

Candidates should be American Board of Pediatrics eligible for pediatric hematology-oncology or equivalent training as judged by the program directors.  Only individuals who have successfully completed an ACGME-accredited fellowship in pediatric hematology-oncology or equivalent training are eligible for this advanced training opportunity.

Apply

Fellows interested in this fellowship training program must complete and submit an application along with two letters of reference, a curriculum vitae and a statement of interest. Learn more about how to apply for this fellowship.