Surgeon-scientists are an underrepresented population in academic medicine, and federally funded physician- scientist-led research has been in decline over the past decade. Substantial challenges are faced by surgical trainees seeking research training. Importantly, surgical resident training programs with ample protected time for dedicated experiential research training have effectively contributed to the ?pipeline? of successful, independently funded surgeon scientists. These researchers have meaningfully impacted surgical oncology patient care and scientific knowledge. Moreover, there are few opportunities for PhD postdoctoral fellows to work at the intersection of surgery and oncology. The proposed COllaborative Northwestern Surgical Oncology Research Training (CONSORT) program brings together the extensive multidisciplinary oncologic expertise at Northwestern University?s Feinberg School of Medicine (NUFSM) and the Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center to create a multidisciplinary, two-year research training program consisting of (1) a Health Services and Outcomes Research (HSOR) Track and (2) a Basic Science and Translational (BTS) Research Track. The CONSORT program will draw upon the Northwestern Department of Surgery?s 30-year experience of training in BTS oncology research and the 15-year surgical oncology HSOR resident training collaboration between the Northwestern Institute for Comparative Effectiveness Research in Oncology (NICER-Onc), the HSOR Postdoctoral Fellowship at Northwestern, and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Cancer Programs. Since 2009, we have trained 44 surgical research trainees who have gone on to oncology-focused academic careers. During a two-year, intensive training period (100% protected time), trainees in the CONSORT program will be immersed in multidisciplinary, experiential research training, using a team science approach, with tailored mentorship and focused didactic teaching (Master?s degree for those without prior advanced degrees). Each trainee will have an experienced and diverse Mentor Team (content and methodological experts), tailored to their training needs. The CONSORT program core curriculum will include courses in study design and analytic approaches, best practices and ethics in research, and career development. Trainees will participate in the workshops, seminars, and research training opportunities at Northwestern and at relevant surgical and oncologic professional societies. Trainees will design and execute research projects that culminate in presentations at major national conferences and publications in high-impact journals. Continuous monitoring and iterative program improvement will be achieved by engagement of a highly accomplished External Advisory Committee and robust evaluation by Northwestern?s Searle Center for Advanced Learning and Teaching. The ultimate goal of the CONSORT program is to increase the number of investigators who successfully achieve academic careers as independently funded surgical oncologic scientists. Northwestern is uniquely positioned to assure the success of the CONSORT program and continuing to develop future surgical oncology scientist leaders and mentors.
We propose the development of the COllaborative Northwestern Surgical Oncology Research Training (CONSORT) program to develop the next generation of surgical oncology-focused scientists. The CONSORT program is anchored by our successful history of two-year dedicated research training by (1) a highly accomplished team of Northwestern University researchers and clinicians to provide tailored mentoring for the trainees and (2) the unique 15-year partnership in training surgical research trainees in conjunction with the American College of Surgeons? Cancer Programs. The CONSORT program will be a national leader in increasing the pipeline of qualified surgical oncology physician and PhD scientists who go on to faculty positions, with independently funded research agendas, making seminal contributions to the field, and mentoring their own trainees, while also delivering high-quality, compassionate care to cancer patients.