Alert Banner Warning

New mask policy at AHN facilities

Alert Banner X

Surgical ear loop masks, at a minimum, must be worn within all AHN facilities.  Cloth face masks are no longer permitted, as they do not provide the best level of protection against Coronavirus.

Curriculum and Research

Learning environment

The AHNCI CGSO fellowship prioritizes professionalism and leadership skills in its fellows.  Fellows lead weekly tumor board discussions in a Metastatic, Molecular and Rare Tumor Board dedicated to the care of complex patients seen in our clinics. Mentored leadership opportunities are provided on institutional committees including the CoC Cancer Committee and the Institutional Review Board. The former is the context in which the ACGME-designated, specialty-specific QI project and community education requirements are met, with ample support from AHNCI staff. Education in ethical principles related to surgical oncology, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion themes in surgical oncology are stressed in the weekly didactic curriculum and journal club article selection.

Curriculum

Didactic curriculum

Designed to be a comprehensive review of the most relevant information in surgical oncology, we have worked to create a high-yield educational program.  With a focus on preparing our fellows for the CGSO board certification exam, our comprehensive education track includes:

  • Focused content review of the most relevant data for the exam including updated NCCN algorithms and sentinel trials in surgical oncology.  
  • Lectures from experienced faculty on specific topics in oncology.
  • Faculty led mock oral exams to facilitate the review of high-yield information and to discuss critical decision-making processes in surgical oncology.

Sample Rotation Schedule

Year 1

AGH - Allegheny General Hospital
WPH - West Penn Hospital

Mixed Tumor

Breast Oncology

Medical Oncology

Radiation Oncology      

Liver

Colorectal

Pathology

Sarcoma

2 months  - AGH and WPH

2 months  - AGH

1 month   -  AGH

1 month   -  AGH

2 months  - AGH

2 months  - AGH

1 month   -  AGH

1 month   -  AGH

Year 2

AGH - Allegheny General Hospital
WPH - West Penn Hospital

Mixed Tumor

Research

Cutaneous Malignancy

Mixed Tumor

2 months  - AGH

4 months  - AGH

2 months  - WPH

4 months  - AGH and WPH

Research

Fellows are provided with four months of dedicated research time, and are provided exposure to both basic/translational projects as well as clinical/outcomes projects.

AHNCI has an active clinical and translational research profile, with over 100 clinical trials currently accruing.

  • Dr. Bartlett serves as a principal investigator of a comprehensive pain-cancer biomarker study examining serial assays of circulating tumor markers in AHNCI patients undergoing cancer treatment, with a goal of enrolling 10,000 patients over three years.
  • Dr. Wagner, who holds board certification in pathology as well as surgery, manages a comprehensive tissue biomarker lab that provides molecular analysis of tumor tissue in parallel with the circulating biomarker assays.  This prospectively collected material will serve as the substrate for numerous ongoing and future studies of critical interest in surgical oncology, and is expected to provide ample research opportunities for trainees. AHNCI also maintains an active research collaborative relationship with the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, under which 23 clinical trials have been initiated over six years, recruiting more than 180 AHN oncology patients.

Opportunities for basic laboratory research are available within the division.

  • Dr. Bartlett's lab focuses on the development of oncolytic vaccinia viral therapies for cancer, using preclinical animal models, and has a lengthy track record of mentoring surgeon-scientists in training.
  • Dr. Wagner's lab focuses on the immune microenvironment of colorectal and peritoneal surface malignancies, with emphasis on the relationship of the tumor microbiome with tumor immunity. Current fellows are completing projects investigating the microbiome of appendiceal cancers, and the cytokine milieu and proteome of peritoneal fluid in patients with carcinomatosis.
  • Dr. Allen, who joined the division in 2021, leads a new and innovative outcomes and value-based research initiative, which is expected to provide exceptional opportunities for mentored projects for surgical oncology fellows. In addition to the development of a novel clinical research platform, he is working alongside institutional leadership to create and build network-wide rehabilitation and enhanced recovery programs for all surgical patients. Together, these efforts will provide our fellows several avenues to perform high-impact clinical research and to be integrally involved in institutional program development.