The overall goal of this career development program is to offer a set of instructional and directed research opportunities to exceptional candidates in order to promote their careers as independent researchers in the field of cancer prevention and control. The postdoctoral fellows in this program have diverse backgrounds in the medical or the social/behavioral sciences. The core curriculum is comprised of a specialized intensive course of instruction to orient each fellow to the field of cancer prevention and control and to the overall research environment at the Cancer Center. However, fellows spend most of their time working with scientific mentors.
The four major themes of the Cancer Prevention, Control and Population Research Program are:
Understanding and enhancing cancer preventive service delivery in primary care and community settings
This theme focuses on generating new knowledge about primary care practice, and using this understanding to test practice-tailored approaches to increasing cancer preventive service delivery in settings in which Americans receive most of their medical care. This research theme is also supported by the development of new transdisciplinary, multimethod research approaches. Part of this theme is a growing area of research focused on community-based prevention and intervention trials. These are conducted in a variety of community settings including neighborhood clinics, schools, churches, and recreational facilities. Program research is also increasingly integrated with the Cancer Center's educational efforts directed toward primary care clinicians and traditionally underserved populations.
Translating cancer genetic screening technology into practice
This theme seeks to identify barriers and opportunities for the translation of rapidly emerging cancer genetic screening technologies into practice. It is supported by major Cancer Center and institutional strengths in genetic epidemiology, basic and clinical genetics research, and biomedical ethics. This research is developing new epidemiological methods, new technologies for identification of family history information, and elucidation of the ethical, legal and social implications of cancer genetic intervention. This work is designed to increase the effectiveness of application of genetic discoveries into clinical and population practice. The research theme on translating genetic screening technology into practice builds on insight from the primary care research theme, innovative research into genetic epidemiological methods, and gene discovery research from the Cancer Genetics Program.
Cancer epidemiology markers and health services research
The development and use of large existing data sets for population based research on cancer incidence, service delivery and patient outcomes is the focus of this theme. This area of cancer prevention and control research provides important data in three major areas. First, the analyses are able to confirm or refute findings of smaller non-population based studies, including the association of age with site distribution of colorectal cancers and the effectiveness of screening mammography in reducing breast cancer mortality. Second, this resource provides preliminary data to test new hypotheses that will lead to prospective clinical trials. Third, the data opens up new avenues for tailoring interventions to underserved ethnic and geographic populations, including a study of interventions to enhance colorectal cancer screening in counties identified with high death rates.
Behavioral cancer control focusing on patient decision-making and cancer survivor quality of life
The behavioral cancer control research theme at the Cancer Center has been following two lines of inquiry: 1) understanding and enhancing patient decision making for cancer treatment, informed consent, prevention, and genetic screening, and 2) improving quality of life among cancer survivors and the development of research tools to enhance our ability to measure outcomes. Finally, in addition to the high degree of interaction among the research themes of the Program in Cancer Prevention, Control and Population Research, research is increasingly interactive with other research programs in the Cancer Center. These collaborations relate primarily to the Programs in Cancer Genetics, Aging-Cancer Research, and Developmental Therapeutics, and impact on a variety of specific disease entities including solid tumors (especially breast, colon and lung), and hematological cancers.