The partnership between the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC), Tuskegee University (TU), and Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) presents a unique opportunity for training the pipeline of future cancer research scientists, with emphasis on miority investigators and cancer health disparities research. The overall goal of the Cancer Training Program is to facilitate both faculty and graduate student training and development in the area of cancer research, in order to increase the number of minority investigators involved in cancer research and/or the number of investigators involved in cancer research as it relates to minority populations. The partnership has successfully developed and implemented cancer research training programs for graduate, post-doctoral, and junior faculty level trainees, and in the past five years has impacted the careers of more than 80 graduate students and Junior scientists through this training.
The specific aims are to 1) Implement a 12-month Health Disparities Research Training Program (HDRTP), targeting postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty, and transitional faculty (established faculty who wish to pursue a career in cancer research), including the investigators of the pilot projects. Three training tracks will include Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR), Cancer Control and Population Science (CCPS), and Basic Science in Cancer Research (BSCR); 2) Implement a Summer Cancer Research Training Program (SCRTP) targeting graduate students, to introduce them to the cancer research field and provide them with basic knowledge of cancer health disparities and methods to address these disparities; 3) Provide extended training to graduate students who have excelled in the SCRTP, through the implementation of a year-long Cancer Research Fellows Program; and 4) Improve the integration of all levels of training (graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty) and promote the CTP as a professional development resource through a Web-based Resource Center, Alumni Program, and symposia.
The Cancer Training Program (CTP) is highly relevant to the objectives ofthe Partnership. One ofthe priorities of the Partnership is to develop a cadre of well-trained investigators who will seek to understand the root causes of cancer disparities among racial/ethnic minorities and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations and test strategies to address and eliminate these disparities. By targeting three levels of cancer research investigators?graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty (including junior faculty and transitional faculty)?the Training Program aims to increase the number of minority investigators engaged in cancer research as well as the number of non-minority investigators engaged in cancer research with minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. Through this work, we strive to make cancer disparities history and improve the health of minorities and disadvantaged populations throughout the Southeast and the nation. The CTP is critical component integrated with the Partnership's other programs. It links with the Cancer Research Proqram through the training of junior pilot project investigators, facilitating their career development, and offering them seminars and scholarly enrichment events. CTP scholars and students have the opportunity to work on community-based research projects through the Cancer Outreach Proqram. The CTP integrates the Bioethics Shared Resource and the Biostatistics Shared Resource into its training components. By providing workshops and online courses in these two areas and emphasizing the importance bioethics and biostatistics in lectures and discussions, the CTP develops greater awareness of how bioethics impacts research decisions and actions, and how critical biostatistics is throughout the research process. The CTP is also linked with the Cancer Education Proqram through the courses at TU, namely Foundations of Cancer Biology, Biosciences Research and Ethics (both established and implemented under the P20 grant), and the Health Disparities course launched in 2007-2008 school year. At MSM, a cancer track existed in the Preventive Medicine Residency program. During the proposed funding period, other graduate students at MSM (MPH, MSCR, and MD) will have access to cancer education through a recently developed, NCI R25-funded curriculum. Thus the CTP works together with all programs and cores in a cohesive effort to reach the overall Partnership goals.
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