Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program Overview
The Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program combines clinical training, scholarly research, and didactic instruction through core curriculum and conferences. There are two program track options for the Fellowship Program. Most program trainees enter the hematology/oncology track and make a three-year commitment resulting in American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Certification in Medical Oncology and Hematology.
Fellowship Program Tracks:
This track is designed to provide training preparatory to a career in academic medicine or clinical practice and represents the predominant track taken by most trainees. It is a flexible program leading to dual board certification. Program rotations include 12 months of clinical oncology, 6 months of hematology, and 18 months of scholarly activity (research involving clinical trials or bench research). The total minimal fellowship period is 36 months. During the final phase of their training, fellows seeking clinical practice opportunities are expected to enhance their exposure to the management of neoplastic disease through additional clinical rotations, special area of interest rotations, and conference participation. Trainees seeking an academic career are encouraged to consider an additional year(s) of laboratory or clinical research service. Special training for those interested in academic oncology is available leading to a Master's Degree in Clinical Investigation or a Master's in Public Health.
This track is designed to provide training preparatory for careers in academic medical oncology. It entails a minimum of 12 months of clinical work and 24 months of scholarly activity (clinical trials design and execution of bench research). Although fellows will be board eligible with 24 months of training, the program encourages a 36 month commitment to prepare fellows for an academic research career. Please note that applications for this track are through the combined Vanderbilt Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program track through ERAS.
All fellows spend at least 18 months in scholarly research. Fellows will choose a mentor during their first year of fellowship. Fellows can work on clinical research or laboratory projects. Fellows may work with any faculty member in Vanderbilt University who is involved in research related to Hematology/Oncology. For a synopsis that reflects some of our past research accomplishments as well as current efforts, see Major Research Areas.
Prior to initiation of clinical research training, fellows will have successfully completed at least 12 months of patient-focused clinical training which provides the trainee with experience in the management of cancer, standard and investigational treatment, and informed consent. During the research training period, the trainee will learn how to develop a focused clinical question and formulate the rationale and design of the clinical trial. Trainees work with the preceptors and biostaticians to formulate a hypothesis and to determine the trial methodology. Fellows are also responsible for writing the protocol, monitoring data with their preceptor, and presenting the results at both institutional and academic conferences. The division sponsors over 100 IRB-approved clinical trials at any one time. These include primarily phase I, II and III studies, a number of which are investigating new drugs and biological agents that were developed at Vanderbilt.
Medical Oncology/Hematology fellows choosing to pursue laboratory research training are integrated into the larger educational community including all laboratories within the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC). An active calendar of lectures, seminars, and visits by distinguished scientists is maintained, promoting a vigorous scientific dialogue among the staff scientists and research trainees. The fellow participates as an active member in the mentor's laboratory and attends both laboratory meetings and journal clubs. The mentor meets regularly with the trainee to provide supervision of ongoing work.
Before research training can begin, a trainee must develop fundamentals of comprehensive patient care. The program is designed to meet all subspecialty training requirements and to provide insight and perspective on the important problems and issues in cancer medicine. This is accomplished through a combination of inpatient and outpatient experiences. This training program uses the facilities of four affiliated sites: Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), the Nashville Veteran's Administration (VA) Medical Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center at Cool Springs, and Meharry Medical Center.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) - a 553 bed inpatient facility with a designated Myelosuppressive Unit designed for Stem Cell Transplantation and Leukemia therapy and a designated Hematology-Oncology ward. Vanderbilt is an NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Nashville VA Medical Center (NVAMC) - a 475 bed V.A. hospital, adjacent to Vanderbilt Medical Center, is a general hospital and referral center serving a large portion of the Mid-South. Its medical staff hold full-time joint appointments in the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University and are active in patient care, research and teaching. An 8 bed Stem Cell Transplantation unit is part of this facility. The NVAMC is one of three VA Medical Centers performing Stem Cell Transplantation.
Meharry Medical Center - A private, historically black academic health center which is one of the nation's leading providers of African-American doctorates in biomedical science.