Humanism and professionalism education for pediatric hematology-oncology fellows: A model for pediatric subspecialty training

Jennifer C. Kesselheim, Mark Atlas, Denise Adams, Banu Aygun, Ray Barfield, Kristen Eisenman, Joy Fulbright, Katharine Garvey, Leslie Kersun, Amulya Nageswara Rao, Anne Reilly, Mukta Sharma, Evan Shereck, Michael Wang, Tanya Watt, Patrick Leavey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Humanism and professionalism are virtues intrinsic to the practice of medicine, for which we lack a standard, evidence-based approach for teaching and evaluation. Pediatric hematology-oncology (PHO) fellowship training brings new and significant stressors, making it an attractive setting for innovation in humanism and professionalism training. Procedure: We electronically surveyed a national sample of PHO fellows to identify fellows' educational needs in humanism and professionalism. Next, we developed a case-based, faculty-facilitated discussion curriculum to teach this content within pilot fellowship programs. We assessed whether fellowships would decide to offer the curriculum, feasibility of administering the curriculum, and satisfaction of fellow and faculty participants. Results: Surveys were completed by 187 fellows (35%). A minority (29%) reported that their training program offers a formal curriculum in humanism and/or professionalism. A majority desires more formal teaching on balancing clinical practice and research (85%), coping with death/dying (85%), bereavement (78%), balancing work and personal life (75%), navigating challenging relationships with patients (74%), and depression/burn out (71%). These six topics were condensed into four case-based modules, which proved feasible to deliver at all pilot sites. Ten fellowship programs agreed to administer the novel curriculum. The majority (90%) of responding fellows and faculty reported the sessions touched on issues important for training, stimulated reflective communication, and were valuable. Conclusions: Pediatric hematology-oncology fellows identify numerous gaps in their training related to humanism and professionalism. This curriculum offers an opportunity to systematically address these educational needs and can serve as a model for wider implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-340
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Fellowship training
  • Hematology-oncology
  • Humanism
  • Professionalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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