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Harvard Education Program in Cancer Prevention Control

Kasisomayajula Viswanath

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National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The goal of the Harvard Education Program in Cancer Prevention and Control is to train a cadre of pre- and postdoctoral fellows to become the next generation of scientists in cancer prevention and control. This training program is based on nearly 2 decades of career development for junior investigators and has significantly impacted the field through the training of 50 predoctoral fellows and 48 postdoctoral fellows to date. Our trainees have had outstanding success in publications, obtaining grants, and securing visible cancer prevention research positions. In the last 10 years alone, of the 42 fellows who have completed the Program, 40 are in research/teaching positions, predominantly in cancer prevention and control, with placements in 25 institutions in addition to Harvard, both nationally and internationally. The Program is highly committed to the training of underrepresented minorities; in the last 5 years, 12 of the 27 (44%) fellows participating in this Program were fromunderrepresented groups. In this renewal, we propose to fund 4 predoctoral fellowships and 4 postdoctoral fellowships each year. Fellows can be placed in research settings across all 7 DF/HCC institutions; 27 faculty members participate as mentors in this program, providing trainees with a rich breadth of research and mentorship opportunities. Our program is particularly recognized for its outstanding achievements in health disparities research within a social context. The Program draws on the strong mentoring focus, scientific expertise, and research opportunities within HSPH; the clinical and population sciences research resources of the DF/HCC; and the research facilities and resources across 7 Harvard institutions. With this competitive renewal, we continue to build upon the educational and career development success of this well-established training program by adding 3 innovations aimed at enriching our Program: (1) partner with the Harvard Catalyst, the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), to strengthen our translational research capacity-building efforts; (2) access HSPH's new Health Communications Concentration to expand educational opportunities in health communications; and (3) initiate a focus on global health. Core requirements include the specialized curriculum, including both required core courses and tailored course components; required seminar series and workshops; mentored research; preparation of a grant application; and an individual research education plan. This Program provides a breadth of transdisciplinary training and research opportunities to ensure that fellows will be prepared for excellence in cancer prevention research, with a strong commitment to mentoring and an outstanding research base. The Program has demonstrated its strong capacity for continual quality improvement through ongoing evaluation and incorporation of feedback. This competitive renewal provides a clear plan for ongoing growth, and demonstrates the Program's readiness evolve in response to the changing landscape and research priorities in cancer prevention and control.

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