This proposal is for the renewal of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Cancer Health Disparities Training Program (CHDP). The current proposal requests twelve postdoctoral positions.
The aim for continuation of CHDP is to train a diverse cadre of scientists at the postdoctoral level to work to improve the science of cancer health disparities research that will lead to reduction and elimination of these disparities. To accomplish this aim, we have added new training elements that will take full advantage of the unique resources and opportunities of the T32 training mechanism to: Recruit three postdoctoral Fellows per year who have an explicit commitment to conducting research on cancer health disparities. A program of this size is necessary to initiate and sustain a specialized, interdisciplinary training infrastructure. Successful efforts to recruit minority Fellows will be enhanced with special strategies to recruit Latino and American Indian Fellows. Develop and deliver a specialized two-year curriculum that fosters an interdisciplinary understanding of cancer health disparities. The curriculum will continue to build on the institutional strengths of nationally recognized educational and training programs at UNC. New interdisciplinary courses, graduate certificate programs, and workshops on community engagement in research will be added as recommended opportunities for Fellows. Provide program participants with individualized career development experiences that enhance professional skills and build professional networks. The program will continue to assign each Fellow with mentors in more than one discipline. Additional emphasis will be placed on including steps toward seeking academic research positions to foster transitions from training to productive career paths. Provide CHDP Fellows with individualized mentored research experience with interdisciplinary research teams that focus on understanding complex issues underlying cancer health disparities, based on a social- ecological model of health. Evaluate the success of the program in meeting its objectives by employing explicit benchmarks and will follow well-defined procedures for capturing, analyzing, and reporting outcomes. The evaluation will serve the dual purposes of program accountability and continuous improvement. CHDP has been operative since 2009 and has supported seven Fellows, including five minority Fellows. Four fellows have completed the program, and three have faculty positions. We are confident that with our curriculum, faculty, projects, and research resources, CHDP will continue as a highly successful and vibrant training environment in which Fellows will be exceptionally well prepared for a productive career in cancer disparities research.
The overall goal of the Cancer Health Disparities Training Program (CHDP) is to train a diverse cadre of scientists at the postdoctoral level to work to improve the science of cancer health disparities research that will lead to reduction and elimination of these disparities. The postdoctoral training program's conceptual framework is based on a social-ecological model, which delineates the importance of understanding health issues at different levels of influence. In terms of cancer health disparities, the model illustrats the need to integrate knowledge and perspectives ranging from pathophysiological and biological factors to individual, psychosocial, social, environmental, and policy levels in society Moreover, CHDP's training of future scientists specializing in cancer health disparities, from basic to population science, provides Fellows with 'in the trenches' experience outside of the academy to gain skills in effectively engaging with and understanding issues relevant to diverse communities and populations.
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