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We invite you to explore and learn more about our Pediatric Hematology-Oncology fellowship program at UNC.



Why Train at UNC?

UNC fellows train in a world-class public hospital, where they encounter the full scope of our specialty:

  • Our pediatric oncology clinic sees more than 100 new diagnoses per year
  • UNC’s registered Hemophilia Treatment Center and hemostasis/thrombosis clinic see more than 200 children with bleeding and clotting disorders
  • Our Comprehensive Sickle Cell Program provides care to more than 400 children with sickle cell disease and other hemoglobin disorders
  • The Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapies division provides bone marrow/stem cell transplantation and novel CAR-T therapies
  • UNC Project Malawi and the Malawi Cancer Consortium provide global healthcare outreach
  • Fellows also enjoy access to the breadth of research, education, and mentorship resources (plus basketball) available at the nation’s oldest and finest public university
First Year
  • First-year fellows are immersed in clinical hematology-oncology. A typical first-year schedule includes:
  • Inpatient hematology-oncology: 16 weeks
  • Inpatient and outpatient stem cell transplantation and cellular therapies: 12 weeks
  • Outpatient hematology and oncology clinics: 8 weeks
  • Radiation oncology, transfusion medicine, and pathology: 6 weeks
  • Research and pediatrics board exam preparation: 4 weeks

We set aside time during the first year for fellows to find research mentors and develop research questions.

Second Year

Fellows spend the second year refining their research questions, learning research methodology, and gathering data.

Third Year

During the third year, fellows prepare for the next stage of their careers: completing research projects; preparing manuscripts; interviewing for faculty positions or secondary training; and mastering clinical skills.

  • Third-year fellows continue a half-day of clinic each week.
  • Third-year fellows can elect additional inpatient or outpatient clinical rotations.
Education Conferences

Education Conferences

Throughout fellowship, fellows participate in educational activities within our division, within UNC, and within the pediatric hematology-oncology community at large:

  • The pediatric hematology-oncology faculty provides a weekly fellow education conference and board-review sessions.
  • Fellows present patients and review clinical trials in a weekly tumor board with pathology, radiology, and surgical subspecialties.
  • Fellows critically review articles (and get to know our colleagues up the road) at a quarterly UNC-Duke pediatric hematology-oncology journal club.
  • During their research years, fellows are encouraged to present at Pediatric Grand Rounds and the UNC Day of Scholarship.
  • We encourage all of our fellows to attend national meetings and present research findings or quality-improvement projects.
Procedures & On-Call Schedules

Throughout their training fellows receive continuous feedback and exposure to essential pediatric hematology-oncology skills:

  • Lumbar punctures
  • Intrathecal chemotherapy administration
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
  • Bone marrow harvesting for transplantation
  • Enrollment on clinical trials
  • Effective communication

Weekend and holiday call is divided between the first-, second-, and third-year fellows. Fellows covering the inpatient services take call from home on most weeknights.

Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Training

Applicants trained in both internal medicine and pediatrics can apply for a four-year combined fellowship. Graduates with dual training are uniquely equipped to manage care transitions for young adults, offer lifelong care to patients with chronic disorders, and provide long-term follow-up for childhood cancer survivors.

After completing their first year of pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship, fellows in the combined medicine-pediatric program transition the UNC Department of Internal Medicine for another year of clinical training. During their third and fourth years, fellows work with a mentor in pediatrics or internal medicine to complete a research project that fulfills the eligibility requirements of both subspecialty boards.

If you are interested in combined training, please contact Patrick Thompson, MD at and register for the pediatric hematology-oncology match in ERAS.

Our 2019-2020 fellowship team. From left: Chris Park, MD; Patrick Thompson, MD; Josh Bies, MD; Mike Winstead, MD; Tina Abrams, MD; Brendan Kleiboer, MD; Kim Youkhana, MD; Catherine Habashy, MD; Sam Wilson, MD.


Current Fellows

Current Training YearFellowResidency Training
Year 1Jessica Benjamin-Eze, DOWake Forest University School of Medicine
Ken Busby, DOThe University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Beatriz Caceres, MDUniversity of Puerto Rico School of Medicine
Year 2April Evans, MDUniversity of Kentucky
Jen Newcome, MDEast Carolina University
Justin Sperlazza, MD, PhDUniversity of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Year 3Tina Abrams, MDUniversity of Tennessee
Catherine Habashy, MDUniversity of Kentucky
University of Tennessee (Palliative Care Fellowship)
Kim Youkhana, MD*Geisinger Commonwealth
Year 4Sam Wilson, MD*University of Michigan
* Combined Internal Medicine - Pediatrics Fellow


Graduation YearFellowCurrent Practice LocationPractice Area
2021Chris Park, MDPediatric neuro-oncology fellowshipChildren's National Medical Center
Washington, DC
2020Joshua Bies, MDUniversity of Nebraska
Omaha, NE
Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
Patrick Ellsworth, MD*University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC
Hematology and Hemoglobinopathies
Brandon Kleiboer, MDAtrium Health
Charlotte, NC
Pediatric Hematology and Coagulation
2019Kate Westmoreland, MDKamuzu Central Hospital
Lilongwe, Malawi

University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC
Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Global Health
2018Jen Brondon, MDUniversity of North Carolina -Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC
Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
Betsy Finch, MDPennState Health
Hershey, PA
Pediatric Neuro-Oncology
2017Jennie Hart, MDSinai Health
Baltimore, MD
Pediatric Hematology and Hemoglobinopathies
Kristy Pahl, MDDuke University
Durham, NC
Pediatric Hematology
2016Maria Boucher, MDAlbany Medical College
Albany, NC
Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
Andrew Smitherman, MDUniversity of North Carolina -Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC
Pediatric/Young Adult Oncology and Survivorship
2015Yasmina Abajas, MDUniversity of North Carolina -Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC
Pediatric Hematology and Coagulation
Jake Troutman, MDLeHigh Valley Health Network
Allentown, PA
Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
* Combined Internal Medicine - Pediatrics Fellow

Application Guidelines

UNC’s three-year fellowship seeks physicians who will have completed three years of training in an accredited residency program in order to sit for the American Board of Pediatrics certifying examination.

Please visit ERAS for an application and information about our program.

The following information should be uploaded into the ERAS program:

  1. Completed on-line application
  2. Current photograph (released only after interview is offered)
  3. Personal statement
  4. Three letters of recommendation, one from current program director
  5. Dean’s letter (MSPE)
  6. Medical school transcript
  7. Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the USMLE, taken within the 7-year time frame required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or equivalent scores
  8. If a graduate of a medical school outside the United States, Canada or Puerto Rico, valid ECFMG certificate or one that does not expire prior to the start of the fellowship
  9. If not a citizen of the United States or permanent resident, then copy of current J-1 Visa.

Applicants with dual training in pediatrics and internal medicine can apply for combined internal medicine-pediatric fellowship training, in partnership with the UNC Department of Internal Medicine.

Contact Information

Contact information for the fellowship program of the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, UNC School of Medicine.


Patrick Thompson, MD
Fellowship Program Director


Mike Winstead, MD
Associate Program Director