This application requests funds to establish a new post-doctoral multi-disciplinary research training program focused on behavioral and psychosocial aspects of cancer prevention and control at the Northwestern University (NU) Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM) and Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center (RHLCCC). The goal of this program is to provide outstanding training for its postdoctoral fellows so that they become successful, independent leaders in cancer research. The program will accomplish this goal by providing each trainee with a mentored research experience in cancer prevention or control. Our 21 participating mentors and advisors are funded PIs of grants totaling $19 million annually. The group includes 16 PhDs and 5 MDs from 8 departments at Northwestern. All mentors are leading experts in the areas of cancer risk behaviors and screening, measurement and intervention science, patient reported outcomes, or community engagement. By teaching trainees to apply cutting edge measurement and intervention science strategies to the behavioral and psychosocial aspects of cancer prevention and control, we will train a next generation of researchers to reduce cancer risk, address disparities, and improve the lives of community members affected by cancer in a more efficient and more cost-effective fashion. Research experiences will be complemented by a weekly seminar, professional development activities, and enrollment in either the MPH, MSCI, MSEB, or HSOR master's programs. The Program will create an individual development plan (IDP) for each trainee and provide regular oversight by a primary mentor and co-mentor to meet training goals. Trainees will also have access to a vast array of educational resources made available by the University for all postdoctoral trainees, including biweekly sessions dedicated to career development and survival skills. The program will enroll 3 new postdoctoral fellows in each of years 1-4, with balanced representation of fellows in cancer prevention and cancer control. We expect a majority of fellows to have a research background (PhD in a behavioral or social science, exercise science, or nutrition) and a minority to have a clinical background (MD intending to pursue a physician/scientist career). Because the participating faculty receive many unsolicited high quality postdoctoral applications, we expect to have a large pool of potential trainees. A Steering Committee and External and Internal Advisory Committees will oversee all aspects of the Program. Ongoing evaluation and feedback from the Steering and Advisory Committees will ensure that changes are implemented as needed and that Program goals are consistently met. The proposed program will meet a pressing need to train a next generation of career investigators who can develop, optimize, and evaluate behavioral and psychosocial assessments and interventions to prevent and control cancer and improve quality of life.

Public Health Relevance

This Training Program is designed to prepare the next generation of researchers who will fill work force needs in cancer behavioral and psychosocial research. Cancer remains a leading cause of death and a major source of disability in the United States and throughout the world. The goal of the Training Program is to assure that a talented and well trained group of PhD and MD researchers will be able to address the research needs and opportunities in the years ahead to understand behavioral and psychosocial determinants and sequelae of cancer, reduce cancer risk, increase early disease detection, and improve the lives of community members who have developed cancer.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Subcommittee I - Transistion to Independence (NCI)
Program Officer
Perkins, Susan N
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Northwestern University at Chicago
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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