Duke Cancer Institute Training Opportunities

Student Tumor BoardThe DCI supports training across the continuum by sponsoring a monthly seminar series, retreats for all the individual disease programs, and the annual off-site DCI Scientific Retreat with trainee talks, a robust poster session, and an invited external speaker. Prior speakers have included Tyler Jacks, PhD
(Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT);
“Dissecting tumor evolution at single cell resolution” Douglas R. Lowy, MD (NCI); Matt Meyerson, MD, PhD (Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteI), Sean Morrison, PhD (UT Southwestern); Levi Garraway, MD, PhD (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute); and John Mendelsohn, MD (MD Anderson). The annual retreat provides an outstanding opportunity for the entire Duke cancer research community to meet and network, including basic, clinical, translation, and population scientists, and provides an opportunity for both PhD and MD trainees across the continuum to present their work.

The DCI also supports training across the continuum through Shared Resources and Developing Shared Resources. Most of these Shared Resources provide expertise and training to DCI members and trainees, including assistance preparing grants using their services and individual training. The DCI Shared Resources present its work annually to the DCI Executive Committee and present posters at the annual retreat.

In addition, each DCI Research Program helps the DCI execute its education and training mission across the training continuum. In each program DCI members teach high school students, undergraduates, medical students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, residents, and fellows through lectures, disease-based research meetings, seminars, work in progress meetings, tumor boards, and program retreats. DCI members provide shadowing experiences, serve as teaching faculty on the wards, serve as mentors on clinical, translational, and basic research projects, and participate in career development events including lectures and mock study sections.

Global Cancer Research Education

The DCI has partnered with the Duke Global Health Institute to form the Duke Global Cancer Initiative (DGCI), directed by DCI member, Nelson Chao, MD, MBA. The DGCI is charged with expanding cancer research, education, and clinical care. With efforts in Tanzania, Brazil, India, and China, the DCGI promotes global cancer research education by sponsoring physician-scientist cancer researchers, medical students, medical residents, and fellows to spend time in our partner countries, and implement research projects.

The DGCI is currently supporting pediatric oncologist, Kristin Schroeder, MD, to spend 50 percent of her effort in Mwanza, Tanzania, where she is investigating how to improve access to cancer care. The DGCI also promotes global cancer research education by sponsoring seminars on global cancer and an annual Global Cancer Symposium with speakers from our partner countries.

Health Disparities Cancer Research Education

The National Cancer Institute funded North Carolina Central University (NCCU) – DUKE Cancer Disparities Translational Research Partnership (NCCU-DCI-CDTRP), directed by Kevin Williams, PhD (NCCU), and deputy director of DCI Steven Patierno, PhD, to develop the infrastructure for translational cancer health disparities research, education, and training for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, with pilot research projects focusing on the molecular aspects underlying the increased lethality of prostate and inflammatory breast cancer in African Americans. This has direct application to prevention, detection, and treatment. The program provides laboratory training and a robust Translational Immersion Experience (TIE) program that spans the translation spectrum for underrepresented minority trainees including in-depth, hands-on exposure in clinical trial operations, clinical care, and community and patient engagement.

The Duke Cancer Health Disparities P20 SPORE focuses on developing new and improving existing interventions and therapies through a better understanding of cancer disparities prevalent in the Duke Cancer Institute catchment area. The Developmental Research Program (DRP) of the P20 SPORE funds two young investigators annually with a goal of growing the cancer disparities research community.

The DCI Office of Health Equity, together with partners in the Duke Health Disparities Consortium — which includes the Center for Bio-Behavioral Health Disparities Research, the Duke Consortium on Social Equity, the Duke Office of Diversity & Inclusion and the Duke Office for Institutional Equity — has instituted a patient navigator system, with one of the goals being to educate healthcare system personnel on structural, cultural, and healthcare system barriers that impact access to and usage of cancer screening services and resources.