The Hematology/Oncology Program at Boston Children's Hospital was formed in 1946 and is among the oldest in the country. It was founded by Dr. Louis K. Diamond, who is often said to have been the father of Pediatric Hematology, and by Dr. Sidney Farber, who originated cancer chemotherapy. The modern program dates from 1967 when Dr. David G. Nathan replaced Dr. Diamond as Division Chief. Under his direction the program expanded from a faculty of 3 and 1,200 net square feet (nsf) of research space to a faculty of 21 and 12,000 nsf. During that time, the division also greatly expanded its clinical activities. Following the death of Dr. Farber in 1974, Dr. Nathan assumed responsibility for all Pediatric Oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI). Soon thereafter, a bone marrow transplant (BMT) program was begun. In 1985, Dr. Nathan assumed the role of Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics and Drs. Samuel E. Lux and Steven J. Burakoff were appointed to direct the combined program. Dr. Burakoff moved to New York University in 2000 and was replaced by Dr. Stuart H. Orkin. Dr. David A. Williams, formerly the Chief of the Division of Experimental Hematology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and a trainee of this program, was recruited in 2007 as Division Chief at Boston Children's Hospital to replace Dr. Lux, who retired from his position after 23 years of service.
Since 1974 the clinical program in pediatric Hematology/Oncology has been a joint activity of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) and Boston Children's Hospital (BCH). All outpatient clinical activities for pediatric oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant are housed in the Jimmy Fund Clinic in DFCI. All inpatient clinical activities take place at BCH. All clinical hematology takes place at BCH. A selection committee comprised of faculty from both DFCI and BCH selects fellows from the annual candidate pool. Dr. Williams, as the Division Chief at BCH and Fellowship Program Director, is the Chair of the selection committee.
The program has continued to grow under Drs. Lux’, Williams’ and Orkin’s leadership. In particular, research space expanded following the addition of a new wing of the Enders research building in 1990 and the move to new space in the DFCI in both 1993 and 1998. A new research building (Karp Building) at BCH that opened in November 2003 allowed the program to expand to approximately 44,000 nsf. Most recently, with Dr. Williams’ recruitment, an additional 3400 nsf of space was added to the Division in the 4th floor of the Life Sciences Building Boston (LSBB) immediately adjacent to and connected with the Karp Building, giving the division >47,000 nsf of research space. This represents >320 laboratory benches. The research space is connected to the Stem Cell Program at BCH (Dr. Len Zon, Director) and to the Immune Disease Institute (Dr. Fred Alt, Director). These programs are integral parts of this training. An additional 5,000 nsf of research space is included in Dr. Williams’ recruitment package for future expansion which has not yet come on line. Dr. Williams brings new expertise in translational research, particularly focused on stem cell biology and genetic therapies.
The "graduates" of the fellowship program during the past 40 years best illustrate the success of our approach to training: 95% are in academic medicine and 61% are doing primarily laboratory or clinical research (or are administering research). Another way to look at the program is to analyze our success at achieving our major objective, which is to train leaders of American hematology and oncology. To evaluate our success in preparing fellows for leadership positions, one must consider the cohort who began training between 1966 and 1992. More recent fellows are still completing their training or are early in their academic careers.
Trainees of the program have a stellar academic record and the vast majority remain in academic Hematology/Oncology positions. For those of our graduates who began the program between 1965 and 1989:
Thus, 83% of the alumni in academic medicine are in positions of prominence. An additional 9 individuals (8%) are Leaders in the Biotechnology/Biopharmaceutical Industry. More than 30% percent of those program alumni who began between 1990 and 2000 are in leadership positions, but many are still young and have not reached their full potential. So far 58 of the 60 graduates remain in academic medicine and a high percentage are pursuing careers in laboratory research. In addition, the percentage of 1990-2000 trainees who have finished their training and been selected as tenure track (Asst Prof or higher) faculty members is 93%. This is very similar to the 1965 -1989 cohort (88%) and predicts continued academic success of our trainees.
A remarkable number of the graduates of our fellowship program or our other trainees are members of the institutions that guide American medicine and pediatrics and that select their members based on scientific accomplishment. No other pediatric program, in any specialty, has such a record of accomplishment by its alumni.
Five alumni have served as President of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and one as Vice President. Five have served as President of the American Society of Hematology. Four have been President of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (Holcombe Grier is this year's president). Six were awarded the prestigious Dameshek Prize for Research in Hematology, four received the equally prestigious E. Donnall Thomas Prize in Hematology, and 8 received the E. Mead-Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics. These are the highest awards in each specialty. Two received Ash Mentor Awards which has only been given for three years. Five have won the Young Investigator Award of the Society for Pediatric Research. Four received the Henry M. Stratton Medal in recognition of a distinguished career in American Hematology. Six have received Distinguished Career Award of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. Finally, David Nathan, had received the Howland Award, the highest honor in Pediatrics and Kober Medal, the highest honor in internal medicine.
Learn everything you need to know about our Fellowship Program in this detailed brochure. Get information on salary, benefits the application process and much more.
Dr. Stuart Orkin, Chair of Pediatric Oncology, describes the unparalleled resources available at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's.