Board certified in pediatric hematology/oncology and pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics, Dr. Karen Fernandez joined Valley Children’s in November 2016 as a pediatric hematologist/oncologist. Her areas of special clinical interest include the treatment of solid tumors and Hodgkin lymphoma.
Dr. Fernandez came to Valley Children’s from University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria and Children’s Hospital of Illinois, where she directed the solid tumor program and in 2012 became the first named recipient to the Jim and Katie Owens endowed professorship in Pediatric Oncology, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Pediatrics. In addition to practicing medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois, Dr. Fernandez is involved in hematology/oncology global health initiatives, and has participated in educational and research projects in Guatemala, Vietnam and Uganda.
Dr. Fernandez has received numerous awards recognizing excellence in clinical research, teaching and scholarship. She has presented her work nationally and internationally, and has published in peer-reviewed publications such as “Pediatric Blood & Cancer” and “American Journal of Pathology.” She serves as an ad-hoc/editor manuscript reviewer for the “Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology” and “Medicine.”
She is a member of several professional and scientific societies, including the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology, Children’s Oncology Group, Society of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology, International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, National Hispanic Medical Association, American Association of Pain Management, and American Academy of Pediatrics (sections on Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Care). She has participated on various related international, national and local professional committees.
Dr. Fernandez received her medical degree at Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala. She did her internship and residency in pediatrics at University of Illinois at University of Illinois Medical Center, in Chicago, Illinois. She completed a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at The Ohio State University, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio.
Dr. Fernandez also completed The Harvard Medical School program in Palliative Care Education and Practice in Boston, Massachusetts, which included a pediatric track that highlighted the unique aspects of pediatric palliative care. She is board eligible in pediatric hospice and palliative medicine by the American Board of Pediatrics.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling and learning about cultures.