The Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) is one of the nation's leading academic surgery departments, with a strong and uncompromising commitment to training the next generation of academic surgeon-scientists. The Surgical Oncology Basic Science and Translational Research Training Program is a critical component of this overall training goal. The current T32 application will provide surgical trainees from general surgery and other surgical subspecialties the opportunity to develop essential skill sets in basic science, translational, and public health research. The Surgical Oncology Research Training Program has evolved in parallel with a dynamic training environment at WUSM, and currently takes advantage of unique resources in the Department of Surgery, the Siteman Cancer Center, the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences, and the Department of Surgery's Division of Public Health Sciences to develop customized and highly structured formal didactic and mentored research experiences for individual surgical trainees. The success of the program is evidenced by the important research accomplishments made by trainees working with program faculty, and the long-term success of trainees in academic medicine. Of note, 5/8 trainees (63%) who have completed the research training program and their clinical training in the last ten years, and 35/60 trainees (58%) who have competed the program since its inception, remain in academic medicine, many with independent funding. Important changes to the Surgical Oncology Research Training Program in this competitive review include additions to the program leadership, development of two distinct research tracks (basic science track, and translational research/public health/clinical effectiveness track), and reduction in the number of training slots to allow for an increase in the tuition budget. These changes will ensure that the Surgical Oncology Research Training Program maintains excellence at the forefront of two different surgical oncology research paradigms, basic science research, and translational/public health/clinical effectiveness research. NCI support will allow WUSM to continue this highly successful research training program, providing the next generation of surgeon- scientists with the research training required to succeed in an increasingly competitive research environment.
Surgeon-scientists are in a unique position to facilitate the clinical translation of basic science research discoveries, with the potential for significant improvements in patient care. The Surgical Oncology Basic Science and Translational Research Training Program will provide surgical trainees from general surgery and other surgical subspecialties the opportunity to develop essential skill sets in basic science, translational, and public health research.
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