The proposed renewal of the Education Program in Cancer Prevention will continue to support eight postdoctoral and eight predoctoral (post-Master's) trainee positions. This Program has successfully trained more than 115 new investigators and has been continuously funded (R25 CA57730) for 19 years. The program's unique emphasis on diversity, career develoment, and interdisciplinary collaboration sets it apart in positioning trainees to assume leadership roles in the evolving field of cancer prevention. Trainees are recruited from the basic biomedical sciences, biomedical statistics, epidemiology, genetics, behavioral and social sciences, nursing, medicine, and related public health disciplines. Recruitment of women (67%) and minority trainees (29%) has been highly successful. Trainees are selected in a 2-level review process based on the merit of their proposed educational objectives and mentored research projects. Applicant proposals are reviewed by both our Advisory Committee and a panel of external reviewers in the field of cancer prevention. These proposals describe a tailored educational plan including coursework, a timeline, research project, and educational objectives. Each plan is based on hands-on experience in ongoing peer-reviewed cancer prevention research projects under the mentorship of at least two established investigators from different disciplines. The program's success has stimulated the faculty's enthusiasm for mentoring trainees, with more than 90 faculty having mentored or co-mentored our trainees. The program's tradition of innovation is evident not only in the choice of proposals it accepts, but also in keeping pace with new developments in the field of cancer prevention research. One example is our development of a course in bio-behavioral research methods required for program trainees. Trainees participate in a multidisciplinary curriculum that includes a core curriculum in cancer biology, cancer prevention, public health, and the behavioral sciences, plus special workshops in professional skills such as writing K07 career development awards and public speaking. Postdoctoral fellows are required to prepare and submit grant applications during their training. Trainees have institutional access to patient and research databases, such as our Mexican-American Cohort, and to large populations (6 million in the Houston metro area) for prevention intervention studies, as well as extensive laboratory and clinical facilities. This program continues to attract promising trainees, to mentor their research, and to launch their careers with a cancer prevention research focus. Starting in 1992 with 4 trainee positions, the program has increased to 16 positions. The size of the faculty and funded research in cancer prevention has grown more than fifteen-fold, providing a significant training resource.
This grant will support the continuation of a training program that prepares biomedical scientists and clinicians to assume leadership roles as independent research investigators in the field of cancer prevention and control. The program's multi-disciplinary emphasis equips trainees with the knowledge and skills to be in the forefront of cancer prevention science and to collaborate productively across basic, behavioral, and population sciences. Trainees benefit from a well-articulated program of mentored research, professional and career skill development and advising, and the unmatched resources and environment of one of the world's largest research centers dedicated to cancer prevention, within the largest comprehensive cancer center and the largest medical center in the world.
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