Pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death in childhood from medical conditions in the US. Thus pediatric cancer education is important for pediatricians and family medicine physicians, so that it can be diagnosed early, when it is most curable. The Pediatric Oncology Education (POE) program provides knowledge and experience to enable promising students to consider careers in cancer research, clinical practice, and related areas. Particular attention is given to including students from groups that are under-represented among oncology scientists and clinicians. POE program participants are outstanding pre-doctoral biomedical science students and health professions (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing) students interested in careers in oncology or pediatrics. All participants are US citizens or permanent residents. Their tenure is a minimum of 11 weeks (9 weeks for medical students;10 weeks for returning students). Students are matched with a St. Jude faculty mentor with similar research interests. They participate in the mentor's ongoing research program. They attend ongoing institutional clinical and basic research conferences, as well as a Lunch &Learn seminar series designed specifically for them. They give a PowerPoint presentation on their research project in the Lunch &Learn series. They submit a report on their research project written in the style of a journal in which their mentor publishes. Ongoing assessment and evaluation of the program is provided by pre- and post-experience testing of the student's knowledge of pediatric cancer and related areas, post-experience surveys completed by the student and by the mentor, and overall program evaluation by the program advisory group. An experienced R25E investigator from a prominent cancer center will review the program as a consultant in 2005. Many participants (27% in 2001-2004) return for an additional appointment, thus reinforcing their cancer education and biomedical research experience. 1995-2003 program participants are authors on 119 peer-reviewed publications to date. A long-term tracking process is in place. Of former program participants who have now finished their academic degree work, 88% have a doctorate, including 80% of the under-represented minority participants. The program is advertised by word of mouth, our web site, and announcements mailed to all US medical schools and to all historically minority colleges and universities. Approximately 400 students apply for the program each year. The 2004 acceptance rate was 13.9%, and the class average gpa was 3.75. One-third of 1995-2004 participants were under-represented minority students, and nearly two-thirds were women. The Program Director reports on the program regularly at the American Association for Cancer Education annual meeting.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-RTRB-N (M1))
Program Officer
Lei, Ming
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St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
United States
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