Most premature morbidity and mortality from cancer is preventable through primary prevention involving interventions to reduce cancer risks or secondary prevention involving early detection and treatment of localized disease. Despite the clear need for cancer prevention training, there has been very little support for such programs. For the last 19 years, the USC training program in cancer epidemiology and control has been one of a very small number of T32 programs contributing to the nation's pool of qualified researchers in cancer prevention and control. To date, we have trained 53 postdoctoral fellows and 36 predoctoral trainees, all but two with active careers in cancer-related research and/or teaching. This proposal requests continued support for the cancer control and epidemiology research-training program at USC, where program and collaborating faculty are nationally and Internationally recognized for their research in cancer epidemiology/etiology, primary prevention, early detection, and treatment compliance. The successful record of extramural funding and collaborative investigations of USC cancer control faculty, coupled with the resources of the USC-Norris Cancer Center, provide an exceptionally rich training environment. Funds are requested for five predoctoral and five postdoctoral trainees. Postdoctoral positions are allocated to behavior and epidemiology research training emphasizing collaborative studies. The two-year postdoctoral program requires course work or the equivalent in the biological basis of cancer, cancer epidemiology, grant writing and statistical methods. Emphasis is placed on involving fellows in ongoing research projects, and assisting them in developing their own research programs. Predoctoral trainees receive the PhD degree in Health Behavior Research (HBR) and are selected from among the most promising upper level HER graduate students in the department. While the Ph.D. program generally takes 5 years, T32-supported trainees are selected during their second or third year of training. Predoctoral training includes structured course work and all trainees attend weekly research seminars, directed research, weekly research team meetings, and writing groups. All trainees must attend a mini-course on research ethics.
The USC training program in cancer epidemiology and control has strong relevance for the improvement of public health, in that it will provide predoctoral and postdoctoral training to highly qualified individuals, to prepare them for careers in cancer prevention research.
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