The number of physicians trained to perform surgical oncology research is inadequate when considering that most patients with solid tumors undergo surgery as part of their clinical management. Improving the care of these patients is in the interests of the NCI. It is critical that more surgeons are involved in patient-oriented research and that other physicians be trained in oncology research related to the surgical management of cancer patients. The three objectives of this application are 1) To increase the number of well-trained surgeons who perform patient-oriented cancer research, 2) To increase the number of other physicians performing research related to solid tumor management in patients, and 3) To increase the number of minority and female surgeons in the academic practice of surgical oncology. Trainees will be enrolled in one of three research tracks: Translational Laboratory Science (TLS), Health Services and Outcomes research (HSO), and Oncology Clinical Trials (OCT). These tracks will be structured and will include associated curriculum, and appropriate mentors. However, there will be flexibility to include training in other research areas and in other research- related skills, which will augment the trainees'educational experiences. Surgical residents with a minimum of two years of clinical training will be admitted to the program, and other non-surgical, yet oncologically related MD/DO trainees may be admitted, but will fill no more than 25% of the trainee positions. There will be a total of four trainees at any given time. Trainees will enter a dedicated, two year training period that will include a core research project related to solid tumor oncology, plus coursework selected to match their research track. Strong emphasis will be placed on learning skills required for survival in research careers combined with academic clinical practice. These will include research ethics, grant writing, research design, data analysis, budgeting, manuscript writing, and stress management. By this approach, a cohort of young, well-trained surgeons and associated physicians will be developed who will have the tools to perform high quality, ethical, translational and clinical research specifically centered on human tumor oncology.
Only a small number of surgeons perform research aimed at improving outcomes of cancer patients by safely introducing scientific breakthroughs to their care and management. We propose to train young surgeons and associated physicians, including those from traditionally under-represented minorities, to perform this research throughout their careers and to increase the survival and quality of life of patients suffering from cancer.
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