This application, the first competing renewal for our T32 program, requests funds to continue to provide multi-disciplinary post-doctoral research training 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. The program?s 24 participating faculty are funded PIs of grants totaling $53 million in direct costs annually, an average of $2.2 million per PI. The group includes 19 PhDs and 5 MDs from 7 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 the opportunity to enroll in either the MPH, MSCI, MSEB, or HSOR master?s programs. The Program creates an individual development plan (IDP) for each trainee and provides regular oversight by a primary mentor and co-mentor to meet training goals. Trainees 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, ?survival? skills, and learning to succeed and flourish. The program enrolls three new postdoctoral fellows in each of years 1-4, with balanced representation of fellows in cancer prevention and cancer control. We expect to continue to have a large pool of potential trainees of whom a majority have a research background (PhD in a behavioral or social science, exercise science, or nutrition) and a minority have a clinical background (MD intending to pursue a physician/scientist career). External and Internal Advisory Committees will continue to oversee all aspects of the Program. Ongoing evaluation and feedback from the Advisory Committees will ensure that changes are implemented as needed and that training goals are consistently met. The program meets 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.
This Training Program is designed to prepare the next generation of researchers who will fill workforce 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 ensure that a talented and well-trained group of PhD and MD researchers is available in the years ahead to meet research needs 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.
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