Cancer has overtaken heart disease as the top Latino killer; however few Latinos seek doctoral degrees and enter the field of cancer control research, particularly in the behavioral sciences. In response, xito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training, was launched in 2010 by the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) with the long-term goal of increasing the number of master's-level students and master's trained health professionals entering - and completing - doctoral programs and focusing their careers on cancer control research among Latinos. For the proposed second funding cycle, the xito! program will continue to recruit an annual cohort of participants from across the U.S. and provide them with support along the pipeline from master's to doctoral level training. The five aims to accomplish our overarching goal are to: 1) conduct an annual five-day summer institute for 25 participants; 2) award up to 10 annual paid summer internships in Latino cancer control research; 3) promote retention throughout the graduate pipeline with web-based academic support and career-building opportunities that include peer-to-peer professional support, interactive online communication forums, and facilitated connections to pre-and post-doctoral programs; 4) achieve doctoral enrollment rate of 30% or more, at most 15% doctoral-student attrition, and at least 50% of doctoral students conducting cancer control research; and 5) develop and implement active and passive dissemination plans by sharing the program with at least two Hispanic Serving Institutions and presenting project findings at professional meetings and in peer- reviewed literature. Program evaluation will include process, impact, and outcome measurements to monitor participant's academic progress as well as the influence of the xito! program on intention and efficacy regarding pursuit of the doctorate and career in cancer research. The xito! program continues to align well with the mission of the IHPR, which is to research the causes and solutions to the unequal impact of cancer and chronic disease affecting residents of South Texas and the nation to improve the health of all people while serving as a national model for health promotion research and education. Further, the xito! program complements other UTHSCSA-wide federally-funded training programs as the only Latino training program focused on doctoral-level preparation in the social, behavioral and public health sciences.

Public Health Relevance

Americans of Latino descent are affected by cancer at a higher rate than other groups, however they are underrepresented in doctoral programs and careers in cancer control research. It is important that the professionals who conduct cancer control research represent the populations who suffer an excess burden of disease. The xito! program is working to increase the number of master's-level Latino individuals who go on to and attain doctoral degrees and become leaders in cancer control research.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Education Projects (R25)
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Study Section
Subcommittee I - Transistion to Independence (NCI)
Program Officer
Korczak, Jeannette F
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University of Texas Health Science Center
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Medicine
San Antonio
United States
Zip Code
Nápoles, Anna María; Santoyo-Olsson, Jasmine; Stewart, Anita L et al. (2018) Evaluating the Implementation of a Translational Peer-Delivered Stress Management Program for Spanish-Speaking Latina Breast Cancer Survivors. J Cancer Educ 33:875-884
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