Didactic Curriculum Conferences

Teaching conferences are an integral component of the educational activities of the division for the Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Hematology and Oncology Fellowship. Within the framework of the following hematology oncology conferences, we present a comprehensive overview of important topics in hematology-oncology, completed within an 18-month cycle. Fellows have protected education time every Friday morning from *8:00 am -11:00 am.


Division Research Conference/Seidman Grand Rounds

The first hour: Held on Friday mornings, the Division Research Conference is the conference at which the subspecialty faculty present their own research or a relevant educational session focused on their clinical area of expertise. This weekly conference comprises an integral part of our annual curriculum series, in which we learn from local experts about topics in hematology and oncology.


Hematology and Oncology Fellows Curriculum Conference

The second and third of these hours is dedicated Fellows Curriculum Conference This conference is the main forum for comprehensive curriculum review. It is often covered in consecutive sessions for maximal impact (e.g., two to three consecutive weeks of breast cancer, lymphoma or leukemia topics). These presentations combine faculty didactic sessions, fellow-led presentations (Case presentations, research talks, didactics and journal clubs) each coordinated with a faculty mentor during the development and prior to presentation. Board review sessions led by the chief fellows are also interspersed.

Disease-focused didactic presentations

These consist of a combination of internal and external faculty presentations, in their area of expertise, as well as fellow-directed presentations on selected topics in medical oncology, malignant and non-malignant hematology.

Fellow research presentations

Each second- and third-year fellow is required to give an annual presentation describing their own research or scholarly activity project.

Journal clubs

Journal clubs are assigned to fellows as either a landmark journal club or state-of-the-art journal club. Landmark journal clubs are identified with the input of a faculty specialist and should be seminal works that establish standard-of-care practices. These are not likely to be new or current articles. State-of-the-art journal club articles are more recent articles that appear likely to substantially impact our understanding of hematologic/oncologic disease, through mechanistic insights or through important avenues of contemporary clinical research.

Cancer biology series

Approximately once monthly, Fellows' Conference is devoted to the basic science of cancer biology, which is covered over a two-year cycle. Our textbook guide for this curriculum is "The Primer of the Molecular Biology of Cancer," ed. by DeVita VT, Lawrence, TS, and Rosenburg, SA, supplemented and The Biology of Cancer Second Edition by Robert A. Weinberg. The Cancer Biology didactic sessions are typically facilitated by one of our basic science faculty colleagues from the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Sample topics include the following, among others:

  • Hallmarks of Cancer, Oncogenes, and Tumor Suppressor Genes
  • Breast cancer Molecular Oncology
  • Gene expression profiling
  • Molecular biology of leukemia
  • Molecular biology of lung cancer

Bone marrow biopsy and aspiration training

In an effort to standardize teaching and competency in this important procedure, Lisa Arfons, MD, Hillard Lazarus, MD and Joe Bokar, MD, along with Susan Wish-Baratz, MD, from the Department of Anatomy, present a didactic session on the pertinent pelvic anatomy and the current, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy equipment that is available at each training site.


Hematology Conference

This is a weekly working conference during which the hematology consult fellows on service at University Hospitals and the VA Medical Center bring interesting and complicated benign hematology cases for discussion with co-fellows, benign hematology faculty and hematopathologists.


Fellows' Case Conference

Additional conference slots are assigned to individual fellows for the presentation of case-based topics in a disease-focused area, typically derived from interesting cases encountered in the course of clinical rotations and continuity clinics. These assignments alternate between solid tumor and malignant hematology topics.

These presentations are developed in conjunction with a faculty mentor with expertise in the area of focus of the disease, so that all fellows have the opportunity to learn from subspecialty disease-team experts. These presentations are often prepared in conjunction with a review of the pertinent questions/chapter from either the ASCO-SEP or ASH-SAP.


NCI-based Oncotalk Program Retreat

In the Spring of each academic year, first-year fellows participate in a three-day retreat devoted to developing interpersonal and communication skills based upon the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-developed OncoTalk program that includes both didactic and role-playing methods of instruction. Anne Kolenic, DNP, APRN, AOCNS, a UH Seidman Cancer Center ambulatory clinical nurse specialist who leads this program and took over from Elizabeth Weinstein, MD. It is held offsite at the Case Western Reserve University Squire Valleevue Farm. Dr. Rab Razzak will now be participating as the new palliative doctor for Oncotalk starting in March 2020.

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