With an aging population, the burden of cancer in the US keeps increasing despite improvements in primary prevention, early detection, and treatment. As research in cancer prevention has grown in sophistication and complexity, the need for multidisciplinary training in the population sciences is greater than ever. The purpose of this training program is to prepare young scientists who will elucidate the causes of cancer and develop strategies to reduce cancer incidence and mortality. This Cancer Education and Career Development Program (CECDP) will focus on nutritional epidemiology and behavioral cancer prevention in a multiethnic population. The program based at the Cancer Research Center at the University of Hawaii will be led by population researchers representing the disciplines of nutrition, behavioral sciences, epidemiology, and biostatistics and actively engaged in conducting population science research. The program will build on several unique resources, such as three prospective cohorts, access to consortia, a nutritional data base designed for multiethnic populations, the Hawaii Tumor Registry, and Kaiser Permanente Hawaii.
The specific aims of the proposed postdoctoral program in Hawaii are to train postdoctoral fellows to function as independent researchers in a multidisciplinary environment focusing on nutritional epidemiology and behavioral cancer prevention in a multiethnic population;to provide a specialized curriculum in biostatistics, nutrition, epidemiology, behavioral sciences, biomarkers, and genetics for research in multiethnic populations;and to offer extensive applied experience in conducting transdisciplinary cancer prevention research, designing new research projects, and writing grant proposals and manuscripts. Postdoctoral trainees will complete a two-to three-year program that will include multiple mentors, transdisciplinary research experiences, and educational opportunities. The core requirements of this CECDP consist of a specialized curriculum, rotations providing practical research experience, a seminar series addressing basic research requirements and skills, research seminars and journal clubs at CRCH, scientific meetings and conferences, formal course work including a degree option at the University of Hawaii, training courses at NCI and other institutions, and a mock grant review. Each trainee will develop individualized education and career development plans based on the prior academic preparation and career goals. The specialized curriculum will include four major components designed as preparation to work with multiethnic study populations: biostatistics, nutrition, behavioral sciences, and biomarker analysis. This research environment, together with the proposed program plan, provides an ideal opportunity to train high-quality collaborative cancer prevention scientists. With increasing ethnic diversity of the population in the United States, skills learned in our postdoctoral training will enable young researchers to explore issues in cancer etiology and survivorship in populations with diverse ethnic backgrounds and to develop interventions that are tailored to individuals with different eating behaviors and cultural norms.
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