We request 5-year renewal of support for our Cancer Research Experiences for Students (CaRES) Summer Internship Program which has run remarkably well and achieved the goals stated in our 2003 application. The long-term goal of CaRES is to stimulate UAB medical students and graduate students in Medicine, Public Health, Dentistry, Health Professions and Nursing, to consider careers in cancer research. In the past 5 years CaRES has supported 237 students who undertook 188 cancer research projects based at UAB's Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC). In summers 2010 - 2014 we will recruit 200 students ("CaRES Interns") to undertake summer cancer internships of 8 to 16 weeks with "CaRES Preceptors" drawn from 300 CCC faculty members engaged in over 400 funded research grants in the basic sciences, translation, prevention and control, and clinical care. Our novel and widely applicable web-based approach will allow students to self-match to the CaRES projects best for them, in light of their background and career interests. Minority recruiting, which has been very successful to date, will be enhanced via linkages with the CCC's Morehouse / Tuskegee / UAB Partnership through UAB's Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center. Interns will receive a locally competitive stipend. They will attend the "CaRES Career Development Seminars" to stimulate their interest in cancer research careers and to share their research methodology and findings with fellow interns. Supply money is requested to stimulate third-year medical students to undertake their "Scholarly Activity" (required by UAB's School of Medicine) with their CaRES Preceptor from their first year. CaRES Interns will submit abstracts of their work for presentation at the CCC's Annual Research Retreat, UAB's Medical Student Research Day, and at regional and national meetings. We will continue to rigorously evaluate all aspects of CaRES via Intern and Preceptor exit questionnaires so that achievements can be documented and further improvements can be made. Longitudinal tracking reveals that 11% of CaRES Alumni who have completed their original degree programs are engaged in cancer research careers and another 30% are pursuing additional academic or professional training that involves cancer patients or cancer activities that could position them for cancer research careers.
Most medical students plan a career in medical practice, rather than a research career. But many more cancer researchers are needed in order to understand how to prevent cancer and how to cure it. We will pay medical students to do summer research projects with professors from the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, in order to stimulate each medical student to seriously consider a career in cancer research.
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