We propose a new program of training in cancer research for surgery residents pursuing a career in academic Surgical Oncology. The rationale is that there is a nationwide shortage of surgeon-scientists. A T32 program would enable us to train high caliber surgical trainees so that they can contribute to new cancer therapies and discoveries, improve the care of cancer patients, and mentor future trainees. T32 trainees will have already completed 3 years of postgraduate clinical training in surgery. The 2-year T32 training program will provide an intensive research experience in hypothesis formulation, experimental design, research techniques, data analysis, and oral and written presentation. After completing the T32 program, the trainees return to the clinic for the 2 final clinical years of residency. Most pursue an additional 2 years of fellowship specialization after finishing residency training. The ultimate objective of the program is to train surgeon-scientists to perform oncologic research upon completion of their surgical training and become leaders in academic surgical oncology. We propose a total of 2 mentees in the first year, 5 mentees in the second year, and six mentees per year in years 3-5. The program will have a Basic/Translational Track and a Clinical Track, which reflects the strengths of our faculty and the interests of our residents. The program will leverage the vast research opportunities and infrastructure of the Perelman School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania, including the Abramson Cancer Center. The program is a major priority of the Department of Surgery, which has a longstanding history of training surgeon-scientists and academic leaders. The T32 Program will be managed by the Program Director, 2 Associate Program Directors, and a Steering Committee, with input from highly experienced advisors (3 internal and 2 external). The 16 mentors are based in Surgery and 8 other departments. The mentors have active funding, a track record of mentoring, and expertise in a wide variety of disciplines, including tumor immunology, cancer cell biology, cancer imaging, and clinical cancer research. The proposed curriculum is robust and will be tailored to the specific needs of each trainee. There will be instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research, grant writing workshops, oral presentation skill sessions, and journal clubs. T32 trainees will also have the opportunity to obtain an advanced degree, such as a Masters in Translational Medicine or Clinical Epidemiology, and even a PhD. Our department has several initiatives to promote diversity through the recruitment of women and underrepresented minorities.
PROGRAM NARRATIVE We propose a new Surgical Oncology Research Training Program at the University of Pennsylvania. The goal is to train surgeon-scientists to perform independent cancer research upon completion of their clinical surgical training.