Most premature morbidity and mortality from cancer is preventable through primary prevention involving interventions to reduce cancer risks or secondary prevention involving early detection, treatment, and follow-up care. Despite the clear need for cancer prevention training, there has been very little support for such programs. For the last 30 years, the University of Southern California (USC) training program in cancer control and epidemiology has been one of a small number of T32 programs contributing to the nation's pool of qualified cancer prevention researchers. During that time, we have trained 54 postdoctoral fellows and 32 predoctoral trainees, over 92% of whom go into careers of cancer-related research and/or teaching. In the past ten years, we have trained 18 postdoctoral fellows (93% who have gone into cancer research careers) and 22 predoctoral trainees (100% of whom have gone into cancer research postdoctoral fellowships or careers).This proposal requests continued support for the Cancer Control and Epidemiology Research Training Program at USC, where program and collaborating faculty are internationally recognized for their research in cancer epidemiology/etiology, primary prevention, early detection, and treatment and follow-up care compliance. The successful record of extramural funding and collaborative investigations of USC Department of Preventive Medicine, Institute for Prevention Research, and faculty and resources of the USC Norris Cancer Center (of which the majority of T32 mentors are members), provide an exceptionally rich training environment.
The aims of this proposal are to continue the funding for training of 1) five pre-doctoral scientists and 2) five pot-doctoral scientists in cancer risk, prevention, and control, to prepare them for careers in cancer prevention research. Predoctoral trainees receive the PhD degree in Health Behavior Research (HBR) and are selected from among the most promising upper level HBR graduate students in IPR and the Department of Preventive Medicine. While the PhD program generally takes 5 years, T32-supported trainees are selected during their second or third year of training. Predoctoral training includes structured course work and all trainees attend weekly research seminars, directed research, weekly research team meetings, and writing groups. The three-year postdoctoral program requires course work or the equivalent in cancer epidemiology, grant writing, publication writing, and advanced statistical methods and design. Emphasis is placed on involving fellows in ongoing research projects, and assisting them in developing their own research programs. All pre- and post-doctoral trainees are trained to conduct interdisciplinary, collaborative research in teams, and are encouraged to participate in mentoring responsibilities with peers. All trainees are required to take a course on research ethics and USC Centers of Excellence in Teaching and Research courses in publications, proposal development, and career planning and development.
This T32 training grant on cancer control and epidemiology will train pre-doctoral and post-doctoral scientists to develop careers in cancer prevention research. It is one of the only training programs focused on this area. This renewal will expand the training of the next generation of cancer prevention researchers to address emerging trends in health disparities, cancer communications, and translation of prevention to treatment research, mobile health, systems science, ecological momentary assessment, spatial sciences, and informatics.
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