Advances in imaging and radiation therapy have the potential to spark widespread improvements in cancer diagnosis and treatment. However, a major barrier to progress in Radiation Oncology and Radiology is a shortage of physician-scientists with the necessary training to make transformative discoveries. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop novel pathways for extended mentored research to retain more radiation oncologists and radiologists in research. To address this gap, we propose a Duke Radiation Oncology and Radiology Stimulating Access to Research in Residency (Duke ROR StARR) Program, with its central mission to cultivate Resident-Investigators in Radiation Oncology and Radiology through protected time to perform mentored research, therefore creating a cadre of physician-scientists who will make future discoveries that advance imaging and treatment of cancer. With a multi-departmental strategy spanning clinical and basic science departments, Resident-Investigators will experience individualized, multifaceted, and continuous training, embedded within a robust, institutional framework for physician scientist support. A team of multi- disciplinary, well-funded faculty Preceptors, as well as a group of talented Rising Preceptors, offer research opportunities in areas along the cancer research continuum from basic radiation and cancer biology, to pre- clinical imaging and translational studies, to early phase clinical trials. These areas address NCI strategic research priorities that include dissecting pathobiological mechanisms of cancer and developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. The program will consist of five training Aims: (1) Comprehensive didactics on professional development and basic, translational, and clinical research; (2) A research project and individual career development plan; (3) Scholarly activity; (4) Board eligibility for the American Board of Radiology; and (5) A path for continued post-residency mentored research training with sub-specialty clinical development. Led by PI David Kirsch (Radiation Oncology), Associate Program Directors Joseph Lo (Radiology) and Scott Floyd (Radiation Oncology), and departmental Residency Program Directors, the program will support three Resident-Investigators in Radiation Oncology, Diagnostic Radiology and/or Interventional Radiology per year, who will complete 12-24 months of mentored research. Institutional support including resources from the Office of Physician Scientist Development, departmental salary support, a research supplement funded by the School of Medicine, and preferences for a subspecialty fellowship or research-intensive Instructor position at Duke supported by the Duke Cancer Institute will ensure that after completing the program, these individuals will be poised to become the next generation of physicians to lead research in Radiation Oncology and Radiology. Achieving the Program's objectives will fulfill urgent needs for: 1) more physician-scientists in Radiation Oncology and Radiology and 2) innovations in imaging, cancer biology, and radiation oncology to transform the lives of cancer patients.

Public Health Relevance

Critical advances in imaging and radiation therapy with the potential to spark widespread improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer have been limited by the current shortage of physician-scientists in Radiation Oncology and Radiology with the necessary training in basic and translational research to make transformative discoveries. In response to the urgent need for novel pathways for mentored research training for physicians in these fields, the proposed Duke Radiation Oncology and Radiology Stimulating Access to Research during Residency (Duke ROR StARR) Program will provide dedicated research time to Resident- Investigators in Radiation Oncology and Radiology to complete a mentored research project in areas that address NCI strategic research priorities, including dissecting pathobiological mechanisms of cancer, developing novel imaging approaches, and discovering novel therapeutic strategies. The Duke ROR StARR Program will foster the development of Resident-Investigators into independent physician-scientists poised to lead innovations that advance cancer diagnosis, imaging and treatment.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1)
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Damico, Mark W
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Duke University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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