Hematology-Oncology

Fellowships for the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

History and Mission

2016 group photo
2015-2016 Fellows
At the University of North Carolina, we are proud of our history in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and excited about our future. Our fellowship program was founded in 1972 and has trained leaders in academics, government, and industry. We are committed to continuing this tradition.

 

We have a faculty dedicated to achieving all three aspects of our mission: patient care, research, and teaching. The unique strengths of our program include our nationally recognized hemophilia and bleeding disorder program, our affiliation with the UNC Lineberger Cancer Center, our combined Medicine-Pediatrics fellowship, collaborations with the School of Public Health and the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and our new program in cellular therapy. We are a growing, thriving center committed to training the next generation of leaders in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology.

Overview

Fellows generally spend the first year in dedicated clinical rotations, with the the next two years 80% protected for research (clinical, basic or translational). Rotations, which fulfill ABP subspecialty board requirements, include four months on our inpatient general hematology-oncology service, three months in outpatient clinics (general hematology-oncology as well as dedicated sickle cell, hemophilia/thrombophilia, neuro-oncology, bone marrow transplantation, and survivorship clinics), two months of bone marrow transplant, two months with time on transfusion medicine/hemepath/radiation oncology/cytogenetics, and four weeks of vacation. During the second and third years of fellowship, fellows participate in a half-day per week continuity clinic. Weekend call during the research years averages every fourth weekend and there is no more than once-a-week night call.

Medicine-Pediatrics Combined Fellowship

For highly qualified applicants, the UNC Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Program and Medical Hematology-Oncology Program offer a combined training program. This program has trained more dual-boarded subspecialists than any other similar program in the country.

Individuals who are interested in this program should first apply to Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and declare their interest in correspondence with the Program Director.

Clinical Care

Rupa Redding-Lallinger
Dr. Rupa Redding-Lallinger with a patient.
Our fellows have a rich clinical experience. We see over 100 new cancer patients yearly with a broad range of diagnoses. Our sickle cell and hemophilia clinics each follow several hundred patients. Our multidisciplinary team includes PNPs, RNs, social workers, school teachers, psychologists, recreational therapists, as well as colleagues in other divisions.

We care for a diverse population of patients from a wide variety of backgrounds. Our clinical care embodies the unofficial motto of the UNC Hospital system, "By and For the People of North Carolina," and care is provided regardless of the family's financial status.

Research

Barbara Savoldo
Barbara Savoldo, MD, PhD, conducts basic research.
As part of the top public university/top public medical school in the US, our fellows have unparalleled research opportunities in benign hematology, pharmacology, molecular biology, survivorship, epidemiology, gene therapy, and an exciting new commitment to cellular therapies. Research plans are established early during the first year to allow us to help fellows organize a Scholarship Oversight Committee as required by the ABP. We have had fellows engage in a wide range of research activities involving molecular biology, gene therapy of hemophilia, clinical hemophilia and thrombophilia, cancer epidemiology, survivorship, sickle cell disease, and palliative care.

EducationOld Well

Fellows participate in a variety of educational activities including our multidisciplinary tumor board, patient case conferences, a journal club, and a pediatric hematology-oncology board review series. Fellows work on their presentation skills both in these forums and through teaching opportunities with the Pediatric Residency program.

Application Process

All fellowship applications should be completed through ERAS.

Address questions to:

Patrick A. Thompson, MD
Fellowship Program Director
Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
170 Manning Drive 1185A POB
CB #7236
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
Email: patom@email.unc.edu

First-Year Fellows

Kate WestmorelandKate Westmoreland received her Doctor of Medicine from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and then completed pediatric residency at the University of Utah. After residency, she worked in rural Nepal as the field team manager implementing a Maternal Child Health Program. She then worked for 2 years in Botswana, Africa as a Pincus Global Health Fellow through the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. While in Botswana, Kate attended on the general pediatric ward, taught University of Botswana medical students and residents, and conducted research on resident burnout and educated students on how to more effectively deliver bad news to families. She then lived for 1 year in Malawi, Africa as a Fogarty Global Health Follow with the University of North Carolina. In Malawi Kate conducted research on Pediatric Burkitt Lymphoma under the mentorship of Dr. Satish Gopal. During her 3 years in Africa, Kate became passionate about caring for children with cancer and decided to return to the USA for her pediatric Hematology-Oncology fellowship at UNC. Kate’s many awards include the AAP international elective award, the Western Society for Pediatric Research Award for best abstract, Resident of the Year award at Primary Children’s Medical Center, and the Best Poster Award at the Fifth International Symposium on Childhood Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. During fellowship, Kate will return to Malawi to continue her research in pediatric Burritt lymphoma specifically looking at the effect of malnutrition on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of chemotherapy. Kate enjoys photography, yoga, running, gardening, hiking, and downhill skiing.

Patrick EllsworthPatrick Ellsworth earned a BA in German from The University of Utah and completed his last three semesters at the University of Heidelberg where her solidified his fluency in German, taught English, and became a fan of Bundesliga soccer. When he returned to the US he earned his Doctor of Medicine from The Ohio State University and then completed training in the University of Rochester combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program. Patrick chose UNC because of the unique opportunity it provided for dual training in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Medical Hematology. Patrick’s primary interest is the transition of care from pediatric to adult medicine for non-malignant hematologic conditions, especially sickle cell disease. He is also an advocate for increasing access to hydroxyurea in developing countries and is interested working in the developing world at some point in his career. For his research Patrick is interested in studying hypercoagulability in sickle cell disease and understanding phenotypic variation between patients. Outside of medicine, Patrick maintains his sanity through family and hobbies. He is the father of 4 boys, with whom he enjoys hiking, playing soccer, geocaching, and anything else that takes them outside (most recently skateboarding!). Patrick’s other interests include reading, movies, music of all genres, playing guitar, and drawing. He is also a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. His favorite new North Carolina food is Maple View Farm Homemade Ice Cream.


Second-Year Fellows

Finch photo2.jpgElizabeth “Betsy” Finch majored in neuroscience at the College of William and Mary prior to attending medical school at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. She then did her pediatric residency training at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Betsy then decided to venture to North Carolina for fellowship because she liked the collegial atmosphere and southern charm that Chapel Hill had to offer. Betsy currently works in the lab of Shawn Hingtgen, PhD, an Assistant Professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, investigating neural stem cells as a therapy for medulloblastoma in mice. After fellowship, Betsy plans additional training in neuro-oncology. When Betsy isn't in the hospital or the lab she enjoys watching movies, trying new restaurants, and spending time with friends and family. Betsy is renowned among her co-fellows and the faculty for her calm demeanor.

Jennifer BrondonJennifer “Jen” Brondon came to UNC after being the Chief Pediatric Resident at Brown University and Hasboro Children’s Hospital. Jen earned her medical degree at SUNY-Upstate and has a BS from the University of Delaware and a MS from Drexel University. Jen is currently involved in two research projects. She is working under the mentorship of Bryce Reeve, PhD from UNC School of Public Health to help develop a pediatric version of the Patient-Reported Outcomes of the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (PRO-CTCAE). The goal of this NIH/NCI-funded study is to design a valid and reliable self-report measure of subjective symptoms that will improve our understanding of the impact of cancer and its treatment on the lives of children and adolescents. In the lab Jen works with Bill Zamboni, PharmD, PhD, Associate Professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy studying the metabolism of carrier mediated agents like pegaspargase. Outside of medicine, Jen’s number one and two interests are family and sports. At Delaware she was a member of the track team and competed in the sprints. Currently she and her husband Phil spend most of their time sprinting after their 3-year old son and 1-year old daughter. Jen was the 2015-2016 winner of the UNC Children’s Hospital Award for Outstanding Clinical Fellow.


Third-Year Fellows

Jennie HartJennie Hart joins UNC from the University of Maryland where she completed her medical school and residency training. Prior to starting fellowship, she completed a chief resident year and discovered her love for program leadership and curriculum development. Jennie is working on developing a career as a clinician educator, specializing in leukemia/lymphoma and bone marrow failure syndromes. During residency, she won the J. Edmund Bradley Outstanding Teacher Award and hopes to eventually be part of residency program leadership. Her primary research project is the evaluation of a communication curriculum she developed for pediatric residents utilizing standardized patients, didactic sessions and online modules to provide instruction on how to run a family meeting and discuss transitions from curative to palliative care. The project assesses resident performance on two of the ACGME Milestones at the start and completion of the curriculum. This project is funded through the NC Children's Promise Research Grant. She is also interested in QI and is reviewing UNC's data for donor lymphocyte infusions to determine the dose relationship between response and complications in patients who have received an allogeneic stem cell transplant. Jennie's other full-time jobs include mom to the perfect toddler and two bad Boston Terriers and wife of an attorney and aspiring judge. Since moving to North Carolina, she and her husband have proclaimed themselves as foodies and have loved experiencing all of the amazing farm-to-table restaurants of the triangle. On Saturday nights, you can find them out and about in Durham or Raleigh dining at the child-friendly hour of 5pm. Her other interests include traveling, musical theater and the symphony. Jennie is a flautist and won the Semper Fidelis Award for Music. She was recruited to be in the Marine Corps Band but explained to them that she is not a morning person. She tries to find time for music every day. Jennie also loves to teach and was awarded the J. Edmund Bradley Outstanding Teacher Award for her residency program. Her current curriculum project is funded through the NC Children's Promise Research Grant.

Kristy PahlKristy Pahl came to UNC after finally saying enough is enough when it comes to cold weather living. Kristy grew up in Michigan and received a BA from the University of Michigan before receiving her MD from Michigan State (don’t be fooled, she is a true Wolverine at heart, go Blue!). After medical school Kristy did her pediatric residency training at the University of Rochester. She was attracted to UNC because of its unsurpassed reputation in non-malignant hematology. Kristy has pursued that interest in her research working with Raj Kasthuri, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, to study Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT). She is also working on a project investigating NOTCH signaling in vascular anomalies with Julie Blatt, MD. Kristy’s HHT research is supported by the UNC Hematology T-32, and her NOTCH research by the Kathryn Barton Hobbs Medical Research Grant. She is also involved in the NCTraCS Clinical and Translational Research Curriculum. Kristy’s interests outside of medicine include traveling and exploring with her boyfriend Devin, watching college football, yoga, scuba diving, and gardening.


Fourth-Year Research Fellow

Andrew SmithermanAndrew “Smitty” Smitherman is a “True Blue” Carolinian whose academic journey has taken him from one end of the state to the other. Smitty received his AB in religious studies from Davidson College and then worked as a high school teacher in Winston-Salem before deciding that medicine is his true calling. He then traveled to East Carolina for medical school before coming to UNC for a combined residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. After a year as the Pediatric Chief Resident at UNC and another year as a Med-Peds hospitalist, Smitty began his Pediatric Hematology-Oncology fellowship. He is now a fourth-year research fellow with interests in health services research, childhood cancer survivorship, and the care of adolescents and young adults (AYAs). With the support of a St. Baldrick’s Fellowship, Smitty has developed a research project using administrative health insurance claims data to better understand the treatment-related medical complications experienced by survivors in the first few years off therapy. In addition to numerous teaching and clinical awards, his work was recognized with the 2015 UNC Pediatrics’ Walter Tunnessen Award for best clinical research. During fellowship he has presented at multiple national conferences and has several publications. Although Smitty enjoys medicine and research, his favorite activity is spending time with the ladies in his life – his wife Brooke and his 3 year-old daughter.

UNC Global Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

The Program: UNC Project Malawi

  • Malawi groundbreaking
    New UNC building
    >25-year collaboration between UNC and Malawi Ministry of Health (MOH), established in 1991
  • >350 employees in Malawi, 40,000-square foot Tidziwe building at KCH and a new building opening in 2016
  • Training site for Fogarty, Doris Duke, and Fulbright Fellowships
  • Clinical trial site for protocols implemented through numerous multinational NIH-sponsored networks
  • Links: Malawi Cancer Consortium, UNC-Project Malawi, UNC IGHID

The Site: Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH)

  • Located in the capital of Malawi - Lilongwe
  • 1000-bed public tertiary care hospital. Pediatrics is the largest department at KCH with 250 beds but admits up to 500 children during malaria season.
  • National teaching hospital with rotating Malawian medical students and residents
  • Pediatric Oncology at KCH is serving a catchment area of around 8 million people (Central and Northern Malawi), and Malawian children from the South are referred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre. We are the only 2 centers treating cancer in the country.

Pediatric Heme-Onc Clinical Activities

  • UNC works in collaboration with KCH and Texas Children's & Baylor College of Medicine Children's Foundation Malawi.
  • With UNC and MOH collaboration, we established a pathology lab in 2011. Weekly telepathology conferences are held between USA and Malawi.
  • We have access to chemotherapy and supportive cares, but limited access to pediatric surgery and no access to radiation.
  • The most common cancers that we treat at KCH are: Burkitt Lymphoma, Hodgkin Lymphoma, Kaposi Sarcoma, Acute Leukemia, Wilms' Tumor, Neuroblastoma, Rhabdomyosarcoma, retinoblastoma, and bone sarcomas.
  • UNC lab initiated hemoglobin electrophoresis testing in 2014.

Pediatric Heme-Onc Research Activities

  • UNC has an ongoing prospective lymphoma study since 2013 and a prospective sickle cell cohort since 2014.
  • UNC serves as a site for the multinational NIH-sponsored Burkitt Lymphoma Trial Network.
    Malawi team
    Malawi Team

Scientific Output:

  • Translation and cultural validation of PROMIS-25 pediatric quality of life questionnaire in Malawi (under review)
  • Utility of quantitative plasma Epstein Barr Virus DNA for pediatric lymphoma diagnosis and treatment in Malawi (under review)
  • Hodgkin Lymphoma, HIV, and Epstein-Barr Virus in Malawi: Longitudinal Results from the Kamuzu Central Hospital Lymphoma Study (in press)
  • Outcomes for paediatric Burkitt lymphoma treated with anthracycline-based therapy in Malawi: PubMed Link
  • Establishing sickle cell diagnosis and characterizing a paediatric sickle cell disease cohort in Malawi: PubMed Link