Peds Hematology/Oncology

Overview and Mission


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Our Mission

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

Who We Are

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).

Pediatric hematology and oncology fellows train within the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Division of Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, which is a member of Spectrum Health.  Additional information about Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital (HDVCH) can be found at  The Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Program at HDVCH is one of the largest in the Midwest and includes the only pediatric bone marrow and stem cell transplant program on the western side of Michigan.

Under the leadership of board-certified pediatric hematologists/oncologists, the program offers comprehensive, multidisciplinary specialty care for infants, children, teens and young adults. Care is provided for a wide range of hematologic, coagulation and oncologic disorders on an inpatient, outpatient and/or consultative basis. Services are distinguished by membership in the national Children's Oncology Group (COG) and by a federally funded comprehensive hemophilia treatment center, the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Coagulation Disorders Program.

The pediatric hematology/oncology program maintains an active inpatient service, and more than 600 patients are seen each month in the clinic for outpatient evaluations, transfusion therapy, chemotherapy administration, laboratory monitoring and diagnostic consultations and procedures.

While gaining important clinical skills through patient care at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, fellows are invited to explore the many laboratory research opportunities at the Van Andel Institute (VAI), located adjacent to the Children’s Hospital.  VAI is a private research and education institute founded by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996.  VAI conducts biomedical research focused on cancer and Parkinson disease with a particular goal of translating scientific research into clinical applications.  Interested fellows may even pursue a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Genetics through the VAI Graduate School.  Additional information about VAI can be found at

Alternatively, opportunities for clinical research projects at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital are also available.  Fellows may additionally choose to pursue advanced degree training in epidemiology, biostatistics and the conduct of clinical research through Michigan State University.

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.



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 11 Pediatric Oncologists, and 2 BMT physicians with a common goal of providing excellent patient care in every encounter.

Our 36 months of fellowship training program is divided with 17 months of clinical training, and 19 months research training.


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.


Clinical Opportunities

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital (HDVCH) is a freestanding 120 bed children’s hospital with comprehensive primary care and specialty services.  We are the primary center for tertiary pediatric care for over 2 million patients from the greater Grand Rapids, but our referral base extends to the far reaches of Western-Northern-and Central Michigan.  HDVCH is the only site for inpatient pediatric hematology and oncology (PHO) and stem cell transplantation care for our program; our PHO clinic is also situated on the 10th floor of HDVCH, but we have outreach clinics at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City and Lakeland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph Michigan.


Research Opportunities

We have outstanding basic science research opportunities through our partnership with the Van Andel Research Institute (VARI)   We encourage you to review the bios of Drs. Aditi Bagchi and Giselle Sholler to glimpse some of the groundbreaking basic science and translational research opportunities at HDVCH and VARI.  In addition, a special agreement with VARI provides for a 5-year MD/PhD program for interested candidates.

We also have a plethora of clinical research activities that are available including a 1 or 2 year Masters in Public Health clinical research program in conjunction with Michigan State University for motivated fellows. 

While fellows are encouraged to apply for grant funding to support their research, their position, salary, and benefits are guaranteed for all three years of fellowship training regardless of grant support.


Personal Comments from your program director: Al Cornelius, MD

My own educational path has included many different experiences that have each contributed to my philosophy of patient care and ongoing education.  After finishing medical school at Wayne State University (in downtown Detroit), I pursued a combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics residency at William Beaumont Hospital.  Although I enjoyed the internal medicine/ICU portion of this training, I enjoyed working with children the most.  During an elective rotation in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology I fell in love with the specialty.  I then changed direction to straight Pediatrics (which caused my program director no end of headaches).  I completed my PHO fellowship training at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and have been at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital since 1995.

My clinical interests include pediatric brain tumors, neurofibromatosis related tumors, coagulation-thrombophilia, and medical education (of course).


A brief summary of some of the interests of key PHO Faculty at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is listed below. See more about the faculty on the faculty page.

Richard Axtell

  • Sickle Cell Anemia

Chi Braunreiter

  • Graduate Medical Education

David Dickens

  • Clinical Research: Principal Investigator for Children’s Oncology Group at HDVCH, Grand Rapids, Community Clinical Oncology Program
  • Hospice and palliative care

Ulrich Duffner

  • Pediatric SCT, modulation of effector T-Cells in GVDH

Jim Fahner

  • Division Director for Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
  • Philanthropy

Bradd Hemker

  • Palliative care
  • 80% of clinical time at Michigan State University Pediatric Hematology/Oncology site in East Lansing, MI; and 20% of time at HDVCH in Grand Rapids, MI

Beth Kurt

  • Late effects of pediatric cancer
  • Chemotherapy safety and quality improvement

Aly Mageed

  • Director of Pediatric SCT
  • Modulation of radiation sensitivity through modulation of gene expression

Deanna Mitchell

  • Coagulation
  • Late effects of pediatric cancer
  • Medical Missions

Giselle Sholler

  • Clinical Trials: Director of Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC)
  • Director of Pediatric Genetic Signatures program at HDVCH
  • Phase 1 trials - clinical and translational medicine

Sharon Smith

  • Director of Pediatric Brain Tumor Clinic
  • Quality Improvement in the treatment of febrile neutropenia
  • Veterinary oncology