(TRAINING PROGRAM) Low-income rural communities suffer from disparately high cancer burden, including lower rates of screening, later stage at detection, higher incidence and mortality, and poorer survival. We have formed a Partnership between the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIUSM), a community-based medical school whose primary service population experiences significant cancer disparities, and the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University in St Louis (WUSTL), a NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. Our short-term goals are to build cancer research capacity at SIUSM, provide opportunities for faculty to engage in cross- institutional cancer research, and support postdoctoral fellows and early stage investigators in building successful platforms for rural cancer disparity research. Our long-term goal is to create a sustainable program to support SIUSM and SCC investigators in conducting high-quality research to address the substantial cancer disparities experienced by the people of southern and central Illinois. The Rural Cancer Disparities Training, Education, and Career Development Program address all of these goals. Specifically, this Training Program aims to: (1) Create and maintain a cadre of well-trained cancer disparity and population health investigators at SIUSM with the skills and knowledge to compete successfully for NIH and other grants; (2) Establish formal and informal collaborations, mentors, and networking opportunities for SIUSM and SCC cancer disparity researchers in order to support investigator success and advance research careers; and (3) Develop evaluation metrics and tracking programs for the Training Program. To achieve these goals, we will select SIUSM trainees/faculty to participate in WUSTL's masters level research degree programs aimed at clinical and other doctorates and we will implement a new joint rural health seminar series that alternates between our campuses. We will also create an exchange program to help students, trainees, and faculty visit and rotate at labs/workgroups at the partner campus; and change the structure of current seminars at both campuses to facilitate participation from the partner site using distance learning. Last, we will develop tracking and evaluation processes to monitor and critically examine our implementation and impact of activities. We believe that these activities will not only offer training to early investigators, they will support investigators as they progress in their careers in rural cancer disparity research. As we grow in our collaborative training activities, we envision applying for NIH funding to support additional and complementary training initiatives (e.g., R25 or T32 funded opportunities).

Public Health Relevance

(Training Program) The Rural Cancer Disparities Training, Education, and Career Development Program supports our overall application's intent to build research capacity at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, an institution serving disparities populations, and to enhance rural cancer disparities research at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University in Saint Louis, an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. Our program will open up didactic training and access to seminars, and aims to support SIUSM investigators throughout their process of becoming independent NIH funded researchers by increasing resources for mentoring, collaboration, and support.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-PCRB-C)
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Davani, Behrous
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Washington University
Saint Louis
United States
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Pathak, Swati; George, Nerissa; Monti, Denise et al. (2018) Evaluating Adaptation of a Cancer Clinical Trial Decision Aid for Rural Cancer Patients: A Mixed-Methods Approach. J Cancer Educ :
Zahnd, Whitney E; Jenkins, Wiley D; James, Aimee S et al. (2018) Utility and Generalizability of Multistate, Population-Based Cancer Registry Data for Rural Cancer Surveillance Research in the United States. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 27:1252-1260
Zahnd, Whitney E; James, Aimee S; Jenkins, Wiley D et al. (2018) Rural-Urban Differences in Cancer Incidence and Trends in the United States. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 27:1265-1274