Dr. Karen S. Fernandez is a hematologist/oncologist at the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate at Children’s Hospital of Illinois and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. Her top priorities are improving care for children with cancer, teaching pediatric hematology/oncology, and collaborating with professionals in low-income countries to improve their practice of medicine. Considered an outstanding physician by her colleagues, she serves as a mentor to students and residents in training, and is known for her ability to connect with patients and their families.
Before coming to the U.S. for her pediatric residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, Dr. Fernandez worked in the national HIV program in Guatemala. Prior to coming to Peoria in 2009, she also completed a fellowship at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
At Children’s Hospital of Illinois, Dr. Fernandez works closely with the principal investigator for the Children’s Oncology Group, a role she is set to assume in the coming years. She recently joined the Children’s Hospital Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee, which addresses quality and safety issues pertaining to medications for pediatric patients.
Dr. Fernandez has written four scripts for Kids Kare with Dr. Andy, a TV series that educates parents on children’s health issues. She was the recipient of a Caterpillar Faculty Scholar Fellowship in 2010, and the following year, she was recognized for her leadership by the American Society of Hematology, which invited her to present an abstract at its annual meeting.
Dr. Fernandez travels around the world to share her knowledge of medicine on a global scale. She is a visiting professor of pediatrics at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala and preceptor for its International Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellows Program. In 2010, she traveled with Health Volunteers Overseas to teach at the Cancer Institute in Uganda, and earlier this year, she visited the Children’s Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to speak on a variety of pediatric cancer topics. iBi