Urologic cancers impose a significant burden on the health of Americans. In 2012, an estimated 58,000 individuals will die from cancers that fall under an urologist's care, a figure that accounts for close to 10% of all cancer mortality. Given the general propensity for urologic cancers to affect older people, these numbers are only expected to rise over the next several decades as the overall population of the United States ages. At the same time, the pace of innovation and discovery in translational science and health services research in the area of cancer continues to accelerate. These combined factors require a well prepared research oriented work force that is capable of asking and answering clinically relevant scientific questions that have potential to be translated into impactful discoveries. Notably, a number of sources suggest that today, only a small fraction of urologic surgeons possess such skills. The primary goal of this T32 application is to prepare urology trainees for an academic career in urologic oncology by providing a comprehensive training program comprised of mentored training options in either translational laboratory science or health services research, based upon trainee interest. Investigative themes of the program will be based on the research focus and expertise of a group of 21 multi-disciplinary externally funded faculty members in the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center composed of individuals from the Departments of Urology, Internal Medicine, Radiation Oncology, Pathology, Surgery, Human Genetics, and Pharmacology- all in the University of Michigan Medical School as well as faculty from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. This proposal is a new application to train 1-2 fellows per year, on an alternate basis, for 2 years. The major objective of the Urologic Oncology Training Program (UOTP) is to prepare individuals for research and teaching careers in the field of academic Urologic Oncology. Graduating urology residents having an M.D. or M.D./PhD. degree will be eligible. The UOTP is structured around a research project supervised by the mentor and a required core curriculum comprised of specific graduate level courses that may lead to a Masters degree. Following acceptance, each trainee will choose between 1 of 2 tracks: translational laboratory science or health services research. The goals of the program are to ensure that each trainee: 1) design, implement, analyze and report a research project, 2) obtain formal instruction on fundamental research methods and 3) gain instruction on either fundamental principles of cancer biology (translational science track) or essential elements of conducting health services research (health services track). There will be a special emphasis on formulating and testing hypotheses that address clinically important questions. Additional training in the effective communication of scientific results as well as grant preparation will be provided to all trainees. The ultimate goal of the UOTP is to prepare trainees for independent careers in academic urologic oncology.
The goal of the Urologic Oncology Training Program is to provide MD or MD/PhD urologic cancer specialists-in-training the skills necessary to pursue independent academic careers in urologic cancer research. Graduates of this program will contribute to the development of advances in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.