Pediatric Hematology Oncology

From the Program Director

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Training Program
Program Director: Albert (Al) Cornelius, MD
Associate Program Director:  Beth Kurt, MD
Program Coordinator: Roxanne Hull

Thank you for your interest in the pediatric hematology oncology (PHO) fellowship training program at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in collaboration with Michigan State University and Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners (GRMEP).

Overview: Our program works to train PHO physician scientists through an integrated curriculum of excellence in medical care and exceptional research opportunities.   Although we are a ‘younger’ program with our first fellow starting in 2007, our graduates have been successful in achieving board certification and job placement.  We have risen to a US News and World Report ranking of 36th among PHO programs in the country.  HDVCH also is proud to have an active pediatric palliative care fellowship directed by Dr. Bradd Hemker, but you’ll have to look at his bio to learn more. J

Research: Due to our close collaboration with the neighboring Van Andel Research Institute, Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC) research scientists, and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, we offer opportunities in cancer biology, molecular biology, and translational cancer research.  Clinical research opportunities are also available as a sponsoring institution for the Children’s Oncology Group and NMTRC, and local clinical research efforts.

Dr. Giselle Sholler and team at the NMTRC are now also based at HDVCH and offer groundbreaking opportunities for patients with neuroblastomas, and other resistant or recurrent pediatric tumors.  See for more information.  Our newest team members include Dr. Kristen Snyder who is leading up our vascular malformations clinic and her husband Dr. Patrick Grohar who is continuing his research into Ewing’s Sarcoma biology, and has just been asked to serve as the study chair of the Children’s Oncology Group Ewing’s Sarcoma Study Section.

My story: I came to HDVCH in 1995 after completing my PHO fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia followed by a faculty position in PHO at the University of Iowa.  During my tenure I have seen our program grow such that we now have more than 100 new oncologic diagnoses each year (excluding vascular malformations) along with more than 200 new hematologic consultations each year.

My own research interests involve pediatric brain tumors and discovering medical treatment for tumors associated with neurofibromatosis.  I developed an interest in medical education as a second year Med/Peds resident at William Beaumont Hospital and very much enjoy directing our PHO Fellowship training program.  But most of all I am a clinician at heart who loves to come to work every day and offer hope to children and families who enter the world of pediatric hematology and oncology.  I hope you have the pleasure of finding a niche where you can also use your talents to improve the lives of the patients and families you will encounter in your career.

Hope to see you soon.

Al Cornelius
Program Director
PHO Fellowship Training Program
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital at Spectrum Health/Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (MSU) and/Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners (GRMEP)

Program Overview

The Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Fellowship Program in Grand Rapids, Michigan is one of several graduate education programs offered through the Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners (GRMEP). GRMEP is a consortium composed of Michigan State University, Grand Valley State University, and the major health care providers in Grand Rapids (Spectrum Health and Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Health Care).

Our 36 months of fellowship training program is divided with 17 months of clinical training, and 19 months research training. The fellowship program at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is ACGME accredited for one fellow per year.

Goals and Philosophy

  • To train physicians to be successful and competent physician-scientists in the area of pediatric hematology and oncology.

Specific goals of the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Fellowship Program at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital include:

  • To equip trainees with the skills and knowledge to become the next physician-scientist leaders in the field of pediatric hematology and oncology.
  • To enable fellows to become expert sub-specialists by providing an in-depth experience in the patient care and research arenas.
  • To foster critical problem-solving in both clinical and research settings.
  • To help develop skills in teaching.
  • To use competency-based principles in the training and evaluation of fellows.
  • To use competency-based principles in the evaluation and improvement of programmatic activity.
  • To have all graduates successfully attain American Board of Pediatrics certification in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, and continue personal development and scholarly activity.

Philosophy of Learning
Our program is focused on learning by taking care of patients. We have scheduled conferences and didactic sessions, to ensure a comprehensive education for our fellows, but strive to ensure that all educational sessions have direct patient care applications.

Program Highlights

Patient Volumes
We’re pleased that you are interested in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Training at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. We are a sizable program with more than 100 new oncologic patients and more than 400 new non-oncologic patients each year. We have an active staff of 13 Pediatric Oncologists, and 2 BMT physicians with a common goal of providing excellent patient care in every encounter.
The pediatric hematology/oncology program maintains an active inpatient service, and more than 750 patients are seen each month in the clinic for outpatient evaluations, transfusion therapy, chemotherapy administration, laboratory monitoring and diagnostic consultations and procedures.

Diversity and Resident Wellness

Spectrum Health is committed to creating a healthy work environment which promotes wellness and a culture that is respectful, inclusive and positive .  Please visit the Spectrum Health Resident Wellness page and the Spectrum Health Diversity page to learn more.

Ready to Apply?

All applications are accepted through ERAS. Please see the For Applicants section of your preferred program for additional details.

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