The ever present and constantly growing need for well-trained, competent clinicians and researchers in the field of pediatric oncology, coupled with the difficulties encountered in recruiting young people into this field, make it essential to provide a knowledge and experience base which will encourage more medical and allied health students to choose careers in oncology treatment and research. The proposed professional oncology education program is designed to stimulate interest in this field by enabling students to train through shorterm rotations in one of the clinical and basic science disciplines emphasized at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Educational methods will include: 1) a series of CORE lectures including laboratory and clinical research, ethics, biostatistics, pharmacokinetics, and gene therapy; 2) individual interactions with mentors to design and carry out objectives for students engaged in specific research projects; and 3) a summary progress report from the student with emphasis on communicating research findings and goals. Students will be given ample time to interact with staff members in disciplines outside their planned rotation. The goal of this program is to stimulate interest in careers in cancer research and cancer patient management. Similar elective rotations which emphasize participation in clinical care of cancer patients are offered to pediatric residents whose programs do not provide adequate exposure to oncology. An important aspect of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is assisting practicing physicians, nurses and other health care professionals in keeping abreast of the rapid advances in cancer research and technology. To provide this vital information, annual symposia are held which provide updated information on the institution's most recent research findings and advances in pediatric cancer treatment. In the absence of research breakthroughs, the best chance to decrease morbidity and mortality of cancer will come from improved education leading to prevention and earlier detection. It is believed that students who are introduced to pediatric cancer research may elect to pursue research careers. Those who do not choose to engage in research may still provide a knowledge base within their communities. We have instituted several methods to evaluate this program. These include a pre- and post-test, a specific open-ended question about impact on career goals and a tracking system to determine students' current careers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Education Projects (R25)
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Study Section
Cancer Research Manpower and Education Review Committee (CRME)
Program Officer
Gorelic, Lester S
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St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
United States
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