Behavioral Oncology Program Description
RESEARCH EDUCATION AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM PLAN
A. Purpose and Objectives
Behavioral oncology seeks to contribute to cancer prevention and control by understanding and promoting behaviors that can lead to reductions in cancer risk, earlier detection of cancer, and improvements in quality of life and quality of care after cancer diagnosis. In 1996, NCI convened a working group to assess the current status and future directions of behavioral oncology research (Lerman et al., Prev Med 26:S3-S9, 1997). The group observed that behavioral research had made significant contributions to cancer prevention and control efforts, but that many opportunities and challenges remained. The working group also concluded that innovative training programs for behavioral scientists would be especially important in sustaining scientific progress in this area.
Accordingly, the purpose of this program has been to advance the field of behavioral oncology by providing promising post-doctoral candidates with the research training, experience, and mentoring needed to become productive independent scientific investigators. Specific aims are:
To continue the development and refinement of a curriculum-dependent post-doctoral training program in behavioral oncology research that draws upon the faculty and resources of the Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of South Florida;
To recruit a diverse group of promising trainees who are committed to careers as researchers in behavioral oncology;
To provide these trainees with the knowledge, skills, opportunities, and mentoring needed to become successful independent investigators in behavioral oncology.
The Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of South Florida are ideally suited to achieving these objectives. This proposal draws on the strengths of the Health Outcomes and Behavior Research Program at the Moffitt Cancer Center, which is comprised entirely of university faculty members. These faculty members have a history of interdisciplinary collaboration and are currently engaged in a number of funded research efforts that provide an excellent scientific environment for the proposed training program. As university faculty, these individuals also have considerable experience in teaching and mentoring behavioral scientists. Based on their scientific accomplishments and teaching expertise the training faculty are highly qualified to serve as mentors for individuals seeking to become independent investigators in behavioral oncology.
B. Core Requirements
Training Objectives. Objectives are listed below. The ways in which the specialized curriculum and research experiences relate to these core requirements are also described below. Descriptions of the specialized curriculum and research experiences mentioned here appear in subsequent sections of this document.
Acquire a Basic Understanding of the Prevention, Detection, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Cancer. This requirement can be met by a combination of the following: 1) prior experience and training; 2) attendance at the Foundations of Behavioral Oncology Course; 3) attendance at Grand Rounds in Population Science; 4) attendance at regularly scheduled meetings of interdisciplinary clinical programs at the Moffitt Cancer Center; 5) additional coursework at USF; and 6) experience working on research directed by the Primary Mentor.
Acquire an In-depth Understanding of Major Areas of Study in Behavioral Oncology. This requirement can be met by a combination of the following: 1) prior experience and training; 2) attendance at the Foundations of Behavioral Oncology Course, the Current Research in Behavioral Oncology Seminar, and the Behavioral Oncology Journal Review Meetings; 3) regular meetings with Primary and Secondary Mentors; and 4) experience working on research directed by the Primary Mentor.
Gain Expertise in Methodologies Needed to Conduct Behavioral Oncology Research. This requirement can be met by a combination of the following: 1) prior experience and training; 2) attendance at the Foundations of Behavioral Oncology Course and the Lunch and Learn Seminar; 3) additional coursework at USF; 4) attendance at national training meetings/conferences; 5) regular meetings with Primary and Secondary Mentors; 6) regular attendance at research group meetings; and 7) experience working on research directed by the Primary Mentor.
Be Able to Critically Review and Evaluate Research in Behavioral Oncology. This requirement can be met by a combination of the following: 1) prior experience and training; 2) attendance at the Behavioral Oncology Journal Review Meetings; 3) participating as an observer at meetings of the MCC Internal Grant Review Committee; 4) regular meetings with Primary and Secondary Mentors; and 5) attendance and participation in the Grant Writing Seminar.
Gain an Understanding of Fundamental Issues Regarding the Responsible Conduct of Research. This requirement can be met by a combination of the following: 1) prior experience and training; 2) required attendance at the Bioethics for Cancer Researchers Course; 3) required attendance at the Seminar on Confidentiality and Consent Issues in Behavioral Research; 4) regular meetings with Primary and Secondary Mentors; 5) regular attendance at research group meetings; and 6) experience working on research directed by the Primary Mentor.
Be Able to Formulate a Novel Research Question in Behavioral Oncology and Design a Methodologically Sound Study to Answer the Question. This requirement can be met by a combination of the following: 1) prior experience and training; 2) additional coursework at USF; 3) regular meetings with Primary and Secondary Mentors; 4) and participation in the Grant Writing Seminar.
Be Prepared to Pursue Career Opportunities in Behavioral Oncology Research. This requirement can be met by meeting all other requirements and by: 1) interacting with invited speakers during time set aside for meetings with trainees; 2) networking with established investigators during participation in scientific meetings funded by the training program; and 4) discussions of career development during regular meetings with Primary and Secondary Mentors; and 5) attendance at the Lunch and Learn Seminar.
Training Committees. The formation of a training committee for each trainee is an essential element of the program. Training committees are formed based on trainee interests and faculty availability under the direction of the Advisory Committee. Each training committee meets with their trainee upon entry into the program to develop a plan of study. This plan takes the form of a document that describes how the trainee will meet each of the requirements listed above. Specific activities undertaken to meet training requirements are documented in the plan. Each training committee meets with their trainee every six months to evaluate progress and formulate future plans. A written summary of these meetings is prepared and distributed to the trainee, members of the training committee, and members of the Advisory Committee. These summaries are retained in each trainee’s Progress File. With regard to the constitution of the training committee, each committee is comprised of a minimum of two mentors: one Primary Mentor and one or two Secondary Mentors.
Primary Mentor. The Primary Mentor assumes primary responsibility for mentoring and providing a structured research experience for his/her assigned trainee. Qualifications for being a Primary Mentor are that the individual is a Moffitt Cancer Center member, a USF faculty member, a principal investigator of an extramurally funded research grant in behavioral oncology, and an experienced mentor of research trainees. The Primary Mentor and his/her trainee are expected to meet on a weekly basis for at least one hour for individual instruction and supervision.
Secondary Mentor. The Secondary Mentors are responsible for ensuring that the trainee is exposed to research methodology from multiple disciplines. Every training committee includes at least one Secondary Mentor from a discipline different from that of the Primary Mentor. For example, if a Primary Mentor is trained in psychology, the Secondary Mentor is from another discipline relevant to behavioral oncology (e.g., nursing, public health, family medicine, or gerontology). Efforts are made to pair Primary Mentors and Secondary Mentors who have histories of research collaboration. Given the numerous interdisciplinary collaborations among the training faculty, this task is not difficult. Qualifications for being a Secondary Mentor are that the individual is a MCC member, a USF faculty member, and an experienced researcher engaged in funded oncology-related research. All trainees have at least one Secondary Mentor. Additional Secondary Mentors may be appointed depending on the specific training needs of the trainee. The trainee is expected to meet with each of his/her Secondary Mentors at least monthly for one hour of individual instruction and supervision.
B.1. Specialize Curriculum
A key feature of this training program is a specialized curriculum in behavioral oncology that is not otherwise available at our institution. A description of the core curriculum and elective curriculum for first-year and second-year trainees follows.
B.1.a. Core Curriculum for First-year Trainees
Foundations of Behavioral Oncology Course (8 meetings per year; 60 minutes each). These meetings are designed to provide first-year trainees with basic information about the prevention, early detection, and treatment of common cancers. In addition, faculty present on methodological issues common to many areas of investigation in behavioral oncology. The topics covered in these meetings, which have recently been updated, are as follows:
- Fundamentals and principles of cancer prevention – Thomas Brandon, PhD
- Fundamentals and principles of cancer screening – Richard Roetzheim, MD
- Fundamentals and principles of cancer treatment – Susan McMillan, PhD
- Substance use and cancer – David Drobes, PhD
- Cultural and literacy issues in cancer communications – Cathy Meade, PhD
- Patient-reported outcome measures – Paul Jacobsen, PhD
- Qualitative research methods – Gwendolyn Quinn, PhD
- Analysis of longitudinal data – Brent Small, PhD
- Introduction to systematic review and meta-analysis methodology – Heather Jim, PhD
Lunch and Learn Seminar(12 meetings per year; 90 minutes each). This seminar is designed specifically for and attended only by first- and second-year trainees in the Behavioral Oncology Training Program. Meetings take place over a catered lunch provided to the trainees in a MCC seminar room. The format is for the trainees to meet just with each other for the first 30 minutes to foster greater interaction among them. For the remainder of the time, a different Mentor each month (as selected by the trainees) joins the meeting. Mentors are instructed to give an overview of their career development and the evolution of their research programs. An informal discussion follows that is intended to provide trainees with ample opportunity to pose questions about and discuss career opportunities and challenges from their perspective. The goal of the seminar is three-fold: 1) to increase interactions among trainees; 2) to provide trainees with an opportunity to learn more about each Mentor’s program of research; and 3) to stimulate in-depth discussion of career planning and provide trainees with advice about pursuing career opportunities from multiple Mentor perspectives.
Behavioral Oncology Journal Review Meeting (12 meetings per year; 60 minutes each). Trainees lead a critical review and discussion of recently published research in behavioral oncology on a rotating basis. All first- and second-year trainees attend these meetings. Training faculty members also attend and contribute to the discussion. The format for this meeting, which is facilitated by Paul Jacobsen, PhD (Program Director), is for attendees to approach the publication as if they were a journal reviewer and to critique it in terms of its strengths and weakness with regard to the quality of the science as well as the quality of the writing (including figures and tables). The discussions also routinely cover the extent to which the publication adequately addresses issues related to the responsible conduct of research.
Bioethics for Cancer Researchers Course (6 meetings per year; 75 minutes each). First-year trainees will be attending this course held at MCC, which replaces an off-site course. We believe this course is ideally suited to the needs of our trainees since it focuses specifically on ethical issues encountered in planning and conducting cancer-related research and in disseminating the findings from that research. This course also has the advantage over the previous off-site course of greater involvement of the training faculty. Each session is facilitated by two MCC faculty-level researchers who introduce the topics and outline the key considerations for discussion. The goals of the course are to: introduce trainees to the range of ethical issues faced by cancer researchers; and prepare trainees for how to handle these issues when they are confronted by them in their careers. As part of each class, case studies and video vignettes are presented in order to foster active trainee participation and open discussion. The following topics are covered: conflict of interest; mentor/trainee ethical responsibilities; ethical issues related to data acquisition, management, and sharing; informed consent; ethics of inclusion/exclusion criteria; privacy; confidentiality; duties to third parties; risk and minimization of risk to participants; responsible authorship; peer review responsibility; research misconduct; and plagiarism. The course also includes a session in which students observe a meeting of the USF Institutional Review Board (IRB) to gain firsthand knowledge of the review of human subject’s protection.
Seminar on Confidentiality and Consent Issues in Behavioral Research (1 meeting per year; 180 minutes). First-year trainees attend this seminar which has been offered since 2010. Led by Paul Stiles PhD, a USF faculty member and former chair of the USF Social and Behavioral Science IRB, it focuses on informed consent and confidentiality, with a special emphasis on issues likely to be encountered when conducting behavioral research (e.g., online surveys, surrogate and proxy consent, possible use of deception, sensitive topics) as well as issues related to conducting research involving protected health information (e.g., HIPAA provisions, Federal certificates of confidentiality). The seminar, which is held only for trainees in the Behavioral Oncology Training Program, is highly interactive in that it makes extensive use of case vignettes as a springboard for small group discussion.
Grand Rounds in Population Science (12 meetings per year; 60 minutes each). This meeting has been in existence for several years and is attended by all faculty and trainees affiliated with the MCC Division of Population Science. It features presentations on cancer prevention and control research by outside speakers. As part of their visit, invited speakers are scheduled to meet with trainees to discuss their research as well as career opportunities in behavioral oncology. Examples of recent (2010-13) outside speakers who focused on issues in behavioral oncology and the topics of their talks are shown below.
- Lea Baider, PhD Hadassah University Appraising the needs of elderly cancer patients’ caregivers
- Antonella Surbone, MD New York University Cultural competence in the practice of oncology
- K. “Vish” Viswanath, PhD Harvard University Health at the margin: Communication, poverty, and health
- Amy Abernethy, MD Duke University Rapid learning cancer care: A patient-centered approach
- Caryn Lerman, PhD University of Pennsylvania Translational research on genetics and tobacco
- I-Chan Huang, PhD University of Florida Quality of life measurement in young adults with cancer
- Roshan Bastani, PhD UCLA Community-based cancer disparities research
- Susan Eggly, PhD Wayne State University Patient-oncologist interactions and health disparities
- David Wetter, PhD MD Anderson Tobacco dependence and cancer-related disparities
- Gary Morrow, PhD University of Rochester Addressing chemotherapy-induced nausea
- Dorothy Hatsukami, PhD University of Minnesota Tobacco product regulation and cancer prevention
- Julienne Bower, PhD UCLA Mechanisms of fatigue in cancer patients and survivors
- Marla Clayman, PhD Northwestern University Patient education and involvement in decision making
Health Outcomes and Behavior Research Program Meeting (8 meetings per year; 60 minutes each). This
meeting is chaired by Thomas Brandon, PhD (Mentor) and attended by all research program members and post-doctoral fellows. Most meetings involve a presentation by an attendee about research in progress. In addition, an attendee will present specific aims of a planned grant submission which are then discussed and critiqued in terms of their methodological strength, innovation, and significance. The goal of these presentations is to acquaint program members and fellows with current MCC research in behavioral oncology and to provide a forum for obtaining constructive feedback about planned grant submissions. Since trainees are also invited to present, these meetings provide a valuable opportunity for trainees to refine their scientific presentation skills.
Population Science Division Meeting (4 meetings per year; 90 minutes each). This meeting is chaired by Paul Jacobsen PhD (Program Director) and attended by all division members and post-doctoral fellows. Most meetings involve a presentation by MCC speakers from outside the Population Science Division who present their research or discuss new shared resources. The goal is to acquaint division members with new technologies that may be relevant to their research and with research in basic science and clinical/translational science being conducted at MCC that may provide opportunities for cross-division research collaborations.
Moffitt Internal Grant Review Committee Observership (Up to 6 meetings per year; 180 minutes each). This committee, which was formally chartered in 2012, is charged with conducting NIH-type reviews in order to evaluate applications submitted in response to the many internal funding opportunities available at MCC. Members of the Committee include Thomas Brandon, PhD (Mentor). The Committee Chair has agreed to allow trainees in this program to attend as observers in order that they may learn more about the evaluation of grant applications and observe first-hand the deliberations of an NIH-style study section.
Meeting with Primary Mentor (Approximately 50 meetings per year; 60 minutes each). Trainees meet individually with their Primary Mentor once each week. The purpose of these meetings is to supplement didactic experiences with individualized instruction and supervision in behavioral oncology research. It is expected that, during these meetings, Primary Mentors: 1) assign and discuss readings focusing on research topics of mutual interest; 2) provide individualized instruction in research methodology relevant to the conduct of behavioral oncology research; 3) discuss the current status and future directions of the Primary Mentor’s program of research; and 4) work collaboratively on presentations and publications.
Meeting with Secondary Mentor(s) (Approximately 12 meetings per year; 60 minutes each). Trainees meet individually with each of their Secondary Mentors once every month. The purpose of these meetings is to provide the trainees with exposure to and training in the multiple disciplines represented in behavioral oncology research. Toward this end, Secondary Mentors are from disciplines other than that of the trainee’s Primary Mentor. It is expected that, during these meetings, the Secondary Mentors: 1) assign and discuss readings focusing on research topics of mutual interest; 2) provide individualized instruction in research methodology relevant to the conduct of behavioral oncology research; 3) discuss the current status and future directions of the Secondary Mentor’s program of research; and 4) work collaboratively on presentations and publications.
B.1.b. Core Curriculum for Second-year Trainees
Grant Writing Seminar (Approximately 12 meetings per year; 60 minutes each). This meeting is attended by all second-year trainees and participating faculty. The focus is on developing a grant proposal that could be submitted as an NIH R-type application. The seminar outline follows:
Overview of preparation and review of grant proposals (2 meetings). Faculty members discuss critical elements of the preparation and review of a NIH grant proposal. Faculty members conducting these sessions (Thomas Brandon, PhD, Paul Jacobsen, PhD, and Cathy Meade, PhD) are all NCI-funded investigators with experience serving on NIH study sections. The following topics are covered: elements of a NIH grant proposal; organization and preparation of specific aims, background, and significance sections; organization of preliminary studies; essential elements of the methods section; preparation of a human subjects section; preparation of a grant budget; roles of collaborators and consultants; general principles of grantsmanship; working with NIH staff; and the NIH peer review process.
Presentations by faculty of successful grant applications (2 meetings). Faculty members distribute and discuss recent grant applications submitted by the training faculty and by previous R25T trainees. As part of this discussion, faculty members share reviewers’ comments and, in the case of revised applications, describe responses to reviewers’ comments.
Review of progress in writing grant applications (8 meetings plus homework assignments). Trainees meet with faculty to review their progress in writing an R-type grant application. A timetable for the preparation of the application is distributed with expected dates for completion of specific sections. Trainees hand in sections as they are written for review and critique. Homework assignments include meeting the training committee members to develop the topic and methodology for the grant application.
Presentations based on mock grant applications (1 meeting). Upon completion, each trainee presents their proposed project to the other trainees (including the first-year trainees) and to the faculty at a Health Outcomes and Behavior Research Program Meeting.
Individual meetings of trainees with review committee members (1 meeting). Two members of the training faculty, who are not the trainee’s Mentors, are assigned to review each application. In addition to preparing written comments in NIH format, these two reviewers meet privately with each trainee to provide verbal feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of the application. These meetings also include suggestions for how a revised application might be prepared. The reviewers are assigned by the Advisory Committee, which oversees the provision of feedback from the reviewers to the trainees.
Behavioral Oncology Journal Review Meeting (12 meetings per year; 60 minutes each). See above.
Grand Rounds in Population Science (12 meetings per year; 60 minutes each). See above.
Health Outcomes and Behavior Research Program Meeting (8 meetings per year; 90 minutes each). See above.
Population Science Division Meeting (4 meetings per year; 90 minutes each). See above.
Moffitt Internal Grant Review Committee Observership (Up to 6 meetings per year; 180 minutes each). See above.
Meeting with Primary Mentor (Approximately 50 meetings per year; 60 minutes each). In addition to the activities listed above that occur with first-year trainees, Primary Mentors are expected to discuss and provide guidance to second-year trainees on the preparation of their mock grant proposal. They are also expected to devote considerable attention to career planning including: identification of possible positions, review of curriculum vitae and statements of interest, job talk preparation, interview preparation, and guidance on evaluating offers.
Meeting with Secondary Mentor(s) (Approximately 12 meetings per year; 60 minutes each). In addition to the activities listed above that occur with first-year trainees, Secondary Mentors are expected to discuss and provide guidance to second-year trainees on the preparation of their mock grant proposal and on career planning.
B.1.c. Elective Curriculum for First- and Second-year Trainees
Approved Coursework (Maximum of 15 meetings per year; 60-180 minutes each). Upon entry into the program and the formation of a training committee, each trainee and training committee identify up to two one-semester USF graduate courses to be taken over the period of two years in order to enhance the depth and breadth of the trainee’s knowledge in fields relevant to behavioral oncology. These plans are reviewed and approved by the Advisory Committee. Possible course options selected from the current USF graduate catalog are listed below:
- Seminar in Health Psychology, Psychology Dept., Arts & Sciences
- Research Methods and Measurement, Psychology Dept., Arts and Sciences
- Research Methods in Mass Communications, Mass Communication Dept., Arts & Sciences
- Topics in Medical Anthropology, Anthropology Dept., Arts and Sciences
- Health Communication, Communication Dept., Arts and Sciences
- Perspectives on Death and Dying, School of Aging Studies
- Sociology of Health and Illness, Sociology Dept., Arts and Sciences
- Qualitative Research, Educational Measurement Dept., College of Education
- Social and Behavioral Sciences Applied to Health, College of Public Health
- Introduction to Social Marketing, College of Public Health
- Community Health Education, College of Public Health
- Design and Analysis of Experiments for Health Researchers, College of Public Health
- Survey Sampling Methods, College of Public Health
- Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials, College of Public Health
- Categorical Data Analysis, College of Public Health
- Cancer Epidemiology, College of Public Health
- Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials, College of Public Health
Moffitt Community-Based Participatory Research Training Program (CBPRTP) (9 meetings per year; 1 to
8 hours each). The CBPRTP is an outgrowth of the Tampa Bay Community Cancer Network (TBCCN), a cooperative agreement (U54) funded by NCI. Cathy Meade, PhD and Clement Gwede, PhD (Mentors) serve as Co-Directors of the TBCCN and facilitate interactions between it and this training program. The overall goal of the TBCCN is to address cancer prevention, detection and control issues that impact medically underserved, low-literacy and low-income populations in selected areas of the Tampa Bay community. To meet this goal, the network organizes and promotes cancer awareness and education activities, the use of community-based participatory research methods, and the creation of sustainable collaborations and partnerships. The CBPRTP, directed by Susan Vadaparampil, PhD (Mentor) was formed specifically in 2007 to promote the professional development of individuals interested in conducting community-based research to reduce cancer health disparities among members of underserved communities in the Tampa Bay area. Toward this end, the CBPRTP coordinates a number of activities including: a two-day overview of research methods in community-based participatory research, a one-day field trip to meet potential community research partners, and a bi-monthly journal club focusing on recently published articles in community-based cancer-related research. Individuals wishing to participate in the training institute are required to complete applications that are reviewed with regard to the potential of the individual to benefit from the training offered. Participation is sought from both local community members and members of the USF and MCC communities.
Research Meetings of the University of South Florida Center for Hospice, Palliative Care, and End-of-Life Studies (12 meetings per year; 60 minutes each). This meeting has been in existence for over 10 years
and is attended by MCC and USF faculty and staff with an identified interest in end-of-life care and research. The meeting features research presentations by in-house and outside speakers. Attendance is recommended for trainees actively involved in end-of-life research. Susan McMillan, PhD (Mentor) serves on the Executive Committee of this center and facilitates interactions between the center and this training program.
Meetings of Moffitt Interdisciplinary Clinical Programs (50 meetings per year; 60 minutes each). Clinical
care at MCC is provided by members of disease-based interdisciplinary programs. Most clinical programs hold weekly meetings where clinical and research issues are discussed. Trainees involved in disease-based clinical research are encouraged to attend the weekly meetings of the interdisciplinary clinical programs with which they are collaborating. These meetings provide an excellent opportunity for trainees to gain knowledge about the diagnosis and treatment of specific cancers. Attendance is recommended only for the clinical program with which the trainee is actively engaged in collaborative research.
Research Team Meetings (50 meetings per year; 60-120 minutes each). Each principal investigator serving as a Primary Mentor is expected to meet with his/her trainees, research staff and collaborating investigators on a weekly basis. The general purpose of these meetings is to: 1) review and discuss the implementation of studies about to begin accrual; 2) review and discuss the status of accruing studies; 3) identify and discuss future studies; and 4) review and discuss study findings preliminary to submission of results for presentation or publication. These meetings provide an important opportunity for trainees to learn about the organization and functioning of a collaborative interdisciplinary research team. These meetings also provide opportunities for direct experience and supervision in many activities related to the day-to-day conduct of research (e.g., data collection, management, and analysis).
Moffitt Post-Doctoral Association (MPDA) Seminar Series (12 meetings per year; 60 minutes each). The
MPDA, started in 2012, has initiated a monthly seminar series in which post-doctoral trainees across MCC take turns presenting their current research. In addition to familiarizing trainees with cancer-related research outside behavioral oncology, this seminar series provides a valuable opportunity for trainees to practice their scientific presentation skills and to informally network with MCC trainees in other areas.
B.2. Research Experience
Experience in all facets of behavioral oncology research is a key element of training. Toward this end, each trainee is required to become involved in his or her Primary Mentor’s ongoing funded research in preparation for careers as independent scientists. As described above, all Primary Mentors are principal investigators of extramurally funded research grants in behavioral oncology and experienced in mentoring post-doctoral trainees. The expertise of the Primary Mentors and the specific projects that can be used to provide research experience are in the tables that accompany this application.
It is expected that each Primary Mentor arranges for his/her trainee to observe and participate in the following research experiences during the two-year period of post-doctoral training: design and implementation of methodology for data collection; development of procedures for insuring the integrity of the study design and the quality of the data collected; designation of responsibilities for study personnel and management of study personnel; design and implementation of methodology for delivery of study interventions (applies only to intervention studies); design and implementation of methodology for insuring the fidelity of intervention delivery (applies only to intervention studies); design and implementation of procedures for data management and tracking of participants; preliminary and final analyses of study data; and preparation of results for presentation and publication.
In addition to these experiences with ongoing research, it is expected that each Primary Mentor will arrange for his/her trainee to observe and participate in activities related to research grant preparation. Some of these activities occur in conjunction with the Grant Writing Seminar that all second-year trainees participate in. Additional activities occur as the Primary and Secondary Mentors prepare new grant applications. Since the Primary Mentors are all extramurally funded principal investigators, there is a high likelihood that they will be engaged in grant writing during the two-year period that each trainee is working with them.
B.2.a. Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research
As noted above, all trainees are required to participate in the Bioethics for Cancer Researchers Course and the Seminar on Confidentiality and Consent Issues in Behavioral Research. In addition, the Mentors are all instructed to regularly identify and discuss issues related to the responsible conduct of research during their regularly scheduled individual meetings with trainees and during their regularly scheduled research team meetings. Other forums where trainees are exposed to discussion of these issues include the Behavioral Oncology Journal Review Meeting and Grant Writing Seminar. These activities are in addition to online training that all trainees are required by the USF IRB to complete annually in order to maintain their certification for engaging in research involving human subjects.
C. RESEARCH BASE, MENTORS, AND FACILITIES/RESOURCES
C.1. Research Base
The primary research base for this training program consists of extramurally funded projects in behavioral oncology directed by the Mentors. These individuals and the funded projects on which they are the principal investigators are listed in an accompanying table. As of September, 2014, the primary research base (i.e., cancer-related grants with a research component for which the Mentors listed in this application serve as Principal Investigators or Co-Investigators) generate over $3.8 million in annual direct funding. This figure includes the following major grant mechanisms for which the 14 Mentors listed in this application serve as Principal Investigator: 6 R01 grants; 3 ACS Research Scholar Grants (R01 equivalents); 1 U54 grant; 1 R21 grant; 1 P20 grant, and 1 R25E grant.
All trainees are assigned a Primary Mentor and obtain research experience through direct involvement in these funded research activities of the Primary Mentors. All trainees are also assigned a Secondary Mentor who is also a funded investigator. Trainees are generally not directly involved in the funded research activities of their Secondary Mentors. However, through contacts with their Secondary Mentors, trainees become familiar with the aims and methods of these studies. This experience provides trainees with exposure to a range of methodologies in cancer prevention and control research that can inform their understanding and ability to carry out studies in behavioral oncology.
All Primary and Secondary Mentors participating in the training program are members of the University of South Florida (USF) faculty and the Moffitt Cancer Centre (MCC) Division of Population Science. This division is comprised of two scientific programs funded by the MCC Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG; P20); the Health Outcomes and Behavior Program and the Cancer Epidemiology Program. Brief biographies of the Primary and Secondary Mentors follow.
Thomas Brandon, PhD, Professor, USF Departments of Psychology and Oncologic Sciences; Program Leader, MCC Health Outcomes and Behavior Program. Dr. Brandon’s research focuses on behavioral aspects of tobacco control. While on the faculty at the State University of New York at Binghamton (1990-1997) and USF (since 1997), Dr. Brandon has trained numerous undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows in cancer-related research—specifically, research on tobacco use and cessation. He has chaired four undergraduate honors theses, 14 master’s theses, and 14 doctoral dissertations, and mentored four post-doctoral fellows. His former doctoral students include current assistant or associate professors at Louisiana State University, American University, Temple University, Syracuse University, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the University of Miami, and Brown University. Of his former post-doctoral fellows, one is now the Director of Tobacco Control Research at the American Cancer Society, another is an assistant professor at USF, and a third is the Deputy Director for Cancer Prevention and Control at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. Based on his dedication to training and the outcomes of his trainees, Dr. Brandon was named MCC’s 2012 Educator of the Year. Dr. Brandon is currently the principal investigator of an R01 testing self-help approaches for smoking cessation and relapse prevention.
Benjamin M. Craig, PhD, Associate Professor, USF Department of Economics; Associate Member, MCC Health Outcomes and Behavior Program. Dr. Craig’s research focuses on cancer-related issues in health economics, outcomes research, and decision sciences. He has taught multiple undergraduate and graduate courses, served on numerous thesis committees, and mentored dozens of students and faculty in applied research. In particular, his background has made him well suited to train researchers on how to integrate novel quantitative methods into their research (e.g., instrumental variables, value of information analysis, and best-worst scaling). He is currently the principal investigator of an R01 examining health preferences among the general population and cancer patients. As a leading expert in health valuation, his active research program offers an excellent opportunity to expand trainee knowledge of patient preferences, a subfield of patient-centered research which continues to expand rapidly.
David Drobes, PhD, Professor, USF Departments of Oncologic Sciences and Psychology; Senior Member, MCC Health Outcomes and Behavior Program. Dr. Drobes’ research is at the intersection of substance abuse, tobacco control, and psychophysiology. His laboratory research focuses on motivation for smoking behavior, including the role of craving and nicotine withdrawal, as well as biobehavioral (e.g., genetic) risk factors for these phenomena. His applied research addresses the development and evaluation of smoking cessation treatments, including the role of physical activity as a treatment component for smokers. Dr. Drobes has been involved in mentoring activities at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels throughout his career. He has chaired numerous undergraduate honor’s theses, three master’s theses, and currently chairs two doctoral dissertation committees. He has also served as research preceptor to four pre-doctoral psychology interns and two post-doctoral fellows. His prior trainees have progressed to faculty positions at prestigious institutions, such as Duke University, University of Pittsburgh, Georgia State University, and West Virginia University. Each of his prior predoctoral and post-doctoral trainees has secured independent extramural funding. He currently supervises two doctoral students and one post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Drobes is currently the site principal investigator of a NIDA/FDA-funded study of the role of nicotine in smoking behavior, and is seeking additional funding to pursue interests in tobacco use motivation and treatment.
Martine Extermann, MD, PhD, Professor, USF Department of Oncologic Sciences and Senior Member, MCC Health Outcomes and Behavior Program. Dr. Extermann’s research interests are the integration of geriatric assessment in the management of older cancer patients and the impact of comorbidity on the prognosis, cancer behavior, and treatment of older cancer patients. She has served on two dissertation committees and mentored three post-doctorate students. In addition, she mentors an average of two International fellows per year from Europe and other worldwide locations in geriatric oncology research. Dr. Extermann has been the recipient of grant funding from the NCI and the American Cancer Society. She successfully mentored two previous R25T-funded post-doctoral fellows, both of whom were successful in obtaining R03 grants that were products of the Grant Writing Seminar.
Clement K. Gwede, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, USF Department of Oncologic Sciences; Associate Member, MCC Health Outcomes and Behavior Program. Dr. Gwede’s research focuses on interventions to address cancer-related health disparities and to facilitate informed decision making about cancer screening and treatment. He currently has major funding as principal investigator from ACS and NCI to develop community-based interventions effective in increasing rates of colorectal cancer screening in medically underserved populations. In the area of training and mentoring, Dr. Gwede has served on five masters and five doctoral committees in psychology, anthropology, nursing, and public health. In addition, he is currently mentoring an R25T-funded post-doctoral trainee in behavioral aspects of health disparities research. Dr. Gwede regularly teaches on cancer health disparities in the USF College of Public Health, and Clinical Problem Solving in the USF College of Medicine. He is also co-investigator and co-chairs the curriculum advisory committee on an NCI-funded R25E to train nurses regarding reproductive health and fertility preservation in cancer care.
Paul Jacobsen, PhD, Professor, USF Departments of Psychology and Oncologic Sciences; MCC Associate Center Director for Population Science. Dr. Jacobsen’s research focuses on behavioral aspects of cancer prevention, detection, and control. Since joining USF in 1994, Dr. Jacobsen has been involved in cancer-related research training at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. He has chaired five undergraduate honors theses, 12 master’s theses, and 14 doctoral dissertations focused on behavioral oncology and trained six post-doctoral fellows in behavioral oncology research. Two of these fellows accepted positions with the American Cancer Society’s Behavioral Research Center, and two are assistant professors at NCI-designated Cancer Centers. Dr. Jacobsen is currently principal investigator of an R01 examining quality of life in men undergoing androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer and ACS-funded study of stress management for Latinas receiving chemotherapy for cancer. Based on his research accomplishments, Dr. Jacobsen was named MCC’s 2008 Research of the Year.
Heather Jim, PhD, Associate Professor, USF Department of Oncologic Sciences; Assistant Member, MCC Health Outcomes and Behavior Program. Dr. Jim’s research focuses on psychological and physical effects of cancer diagnosis and treatment, including cognitive impairment, fatigue, depression, and disruptions in sleep and physical activity. She is currently the principal investigator of an R01 examining genetic and immunologic predictors of side effects of platinum-based chemotherapy. She is also nearing completion of a mentored K07 career development award examining genetic predictors of cognitive impairment in hematopoietic cell transplant patients. Dr. Jim has served as a research mentor or co-mentor to five undergraduate students, seven graduate students, three post-doctoral or clinical fellows, and three visiting international scholars. She will be the Primary Mentor for a new post-doctoral fellow starting in August 2013.
Susan McMillan, PhD, ARNP, FAAN, Distinguished University Professor, Thompson Professor of Oncology Nursing, USF College of Nursing; Senior Member, MCC Health Outcomes and Behavior Program. Dr. McMillan area of research expertise is palliative care and end-of-life care. She is also Director of Oncology Nursing in the USF College of Nursing Graduate Program where she teaches classes at the master’s and doctoral levels and supervises dissertations in her areas of expertise. During the past 10 years, she chaired 20 dissertation committees and 28 master’s thesis committees. Dr. McMillan has also mentored a post-doctoral trainee in behavioral oncology. Since 1996, Dr. McMillan has been a leader in the interdisciplinary USF Center for Hospice, Palliative Care and End of Life Studies (which she founded) that includes both faculty and students. Dr. McMillan is currently principal investigator of an R01 study focusing on symptom management in persons with cancer.
Cathy Meade, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor, USF Department of Oncologic Sciences; Senior Member, Health Outcomes and Behavior Program. Dr. Meade’s areas of expertise are health disparities, cancer communications, and community-based participatory research. Since joining Moffitt in 1995, she has served on numerous master’s theses and doctoral committees in the fields of nursing, public health, and anthropology, and has been instrumental in the development of novel research training programs. For example, in 1999, she created the infrastructure for Project LINK, an NCI-funded training program aimed at underrepresented high school and undergraduate students. To date, a total of 42 LINK students have gone on to graduate research and/or medical training programs. Dr. Meade also led the NCI-funded Cancer, Culture and Literacy Institute from 2001-2006, which provided education, training and mentoring activities designed to increase understanding of culture and literacy in cancer prevention and control science. A total of 86 doctoral prepared researchers from a wide array of disciplines, (e.g., medicine, nursing, psychology, and epidemiology) were trained in this program. Dr. Meade currently co-leads the NCI-funded (U54) Tampa Bay Community Cancer Network, which is designed to reduce cancer-related health disparities in the tri-county Tampa Bay area. A critical component of TBCCN is the training of health disparity researchers using community-engaged approaches. A total of 11 junior investigators have taken part in TBCCN’s Community-Based Research Training Institute, including three R25T-funded post-doctoral fellows.
Gwendolyn Quinn, PhD, Professor, USF Department of Oncologic Sciences; Senior Member, MCC Health Outcomes and Behavior Program. Dr. Quinn’s research focus is patient-physician communication, biomedical ethics, and the use of social marketing to improve health communications and promotions. She has trained over two hundred students in applying the principles of social marketing and qualitative research to health communications, with a focus on reproductive health, fertility preservation and cancer, cancer-related health disparities, and promotion of oncology clinical trials. She has also supervised numerous graduate students in the design and analysis of qualitative studies. Dr. Quinn has served on twelve doctoral committees in public health, anthropology, and nursing. She regularly teaches social marketing in the College of Public Health and Clinical Problem Solving in the College of Medicine. She is currently the principal investigator of an NIH-funded R25E to train nurses to improve communication skills about reproductive health and cancer and a LiveStrong grant to examine institutional documentation of communication about fertility risk. She also directs the Outreach Core for the Ponce (Puerto Rico) School of Medicine and MCC U54 Partnership Grant and is the principal investigator for two bioethics grants to examine community and researchers perceptions of biobanking and rapid tissue donation.
Richard Roetzheim, MD, MPH, Professor, USF Department of Family Medicine; Senior Member, MCC Health Outcomes and Behavior Program. Dr. Roetzheim’s area of research expertise is primary care and cancer. Since joining the USF faculty in 1988, he has served as a mentor for 12 medical students, four public health students, and two post-doctoral fellows conducting community-based research in behavioral oncology. He has served on doctoral dissertation committees for five PhD candidates. He is currently principal investigator of an NIMHD-funded planning (P20) grant that supports the USF/MCC Center for Equal Health, the focus of which is transdisciplinary approaches to understanding and addressing cancer-related health disparities.
Vani Simmons, PhD, Associate Professor, USF Departments of Oncologic Sciences and Psychology; Assistant Member, MCC Health Outcomes and Behavior Program. Dr. Simmons's research interests include the development of smoking cessation and relapse prevention interventions for special populations including cancer patients, college students, and ethnic minorities. Her research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, Florida Biomedical Research Program, March of Dimes, and the University of South Florida Area Health Education Center. Dr. Simmons has been actively involved in mentoring, including supervising numerous undergraduate research interns and clinical psychology graduate students in conducting tobacco research with special populations. She is currently the principal investigator of an R01 to test the efficacy of a smoking relapse-prevention intervention for cancer patients.
Brent Small, PhD, Professor, USF School of Aging Studies; Senior Member, MCC Health Outcomes and Behavior Program and Biostatistics Shared Resource. Dr. Small’s area of research interest is aging and cancer. He also has considerable experience with graduate level instruction in statistics, with special emphasis on modern approaches to longitudinal data analysis. In addition, he has experience with supervising graduate students in the statistical analysis of health outcomes data. Dr. Small has received a number of teaching awards at USF, and has served on 26 dissertation committees, 5 as major professor. Dr. Small has published extensively on cancer and cognitive performance, including reports that used innovative statistical methods to describe longitudinal changes in outcomes. He is a co-investigator on a number of NCI and American Cancer Society grants, including ones that examine cognitive outcomes in prostate cancer patients and among hematopoietic stem cell recipients.
Susan Vadaparampil, PhD, Professor, USF Departments of Oncologic Sciences and Community and Family Health; Associate Member, MCC Health Outcomes and Behavior Program. Dr. Vadaparampil’s research focuses on the influence of patient and provider factors on risk reduction behaviors associated with newer advances in cancer prevention and control. She currently serves as principal investigators for an R21 focused on increasing uptake of genetic counseling among recently diagnosed breast cancer patients, an ACS grant to assess the impact of genetic counseling and testing in a large cohort of African American women with early onset breast cancer, and an R01 to examine recommendation of HPV vaccination in a national sample of U.S. physicians. She also serves as co-principal investigator on an R25 to improve communication regarding reproductive health issues with adolescent and young adult cancer patients. These projects provide excellent opportunities to train the next generation of cancer prevention and control scientists. Dr. Vadaparampil has been involved in numerous training initiatives for post-doctoral trainees and junior faculty. She co-leads the Training Core of the NCI-funded (U54) Tampa Bay Community Cancer Networks Partnerships Grant and is a Mentor in the Training/Career Development Core on the NCI-funded Ponce (Puerto Rico) School of Medicine and MCC U54 Partnership Grant. Since joining MCC, Dr. Vadaparampil has served as a member of two thesis committees and three dissertation committees. She also mentored a post-doctoral fellow funded by this R25T who recently joined the faculty at the University of Florida and will mentoring another R25T funded post-doctoral fellow who starts August 2013. In recognition of the quality and quantity of her mentoring activities, Dr. Vadaparampil was just named MCC’s 2013 Research Educator of the Year.
C.3. Resources and Facilities
The University of South Florida (USF) is among the largest universities in the U.S., with a student population greater than 47,000. In 2012, the university granted 2,732 master’s degrees, 271 PhD degrees, and 146 MD degrees. The Carnegie Foundation currently classifies it as a Research University-Very High Research Activity (RU/VH) and Community Engaged institution. All members of the training faculty hold academic appointments at USF. These faculty members belong to four different colleges within the university (Arts and Sciences, Nursing, Medicine, and Behavioral and Community Sciences), reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of our training program.
The Moffitt Cancer Center (MCC) is a private, not-for-profit institution established by the Florida legislature with a mission focused entirely on cancer care, research, education, and prevention. Since its founding in 1986, MCC has been the focal point for cancer-related interests and activities at USF. More than 4,000 employees, including over 300 faculty physicians and scientists work at MCC. It is the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center based in the state of Florida. MCC first received a P30 Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) Award and NCI designation in 1997. This grant was most recently renewed in 2011. MCC includes a 206-bed hospital that admitted over 9000 patients in 2012, an Ambulatory Services Center that recorded over 328,000 outpatient visits, a 36-bed bone marrow transplant program, a variety of research programs, a comprehensive cancer screening program, an active community education division, and affiliations with several national cooperative groups (e.g., SWOG, RTOG, GOG, and NSABP). In 2012, MCC researchers obtained over $70 million in external peer-reviewed funding from a variety of sources including the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society and the Department of Defense. MCC ranks 23rd in total dollars awarded by
NCI. It accrued 3,799 patients onto intervention trials in fiscal year 2011, including 1,067 patients to therapeutic trials. For all clinical trial types, total accrual to all trials was 19,752.
As a free-standing cancer center, the Center Director, Dr. Sellers, has full authority over resources including faculty recruitment, space and planning. There are over 160 research faculty split roughly in half between physician-scientists and PhD faculty in the Basic and Population sciences. Resources include 14 shared resources including sequencing, flow cytometry, analytic microscopy, molecular genomics, biostatistics, cancer informatics, survey methods, proteomics, and chemical biology. There are 274,189 net square feet dedicated to research.
With regard to its scientific activities as funded by the P30 CCSG, MCC is organized into five research programs: Cancer Biology and Evolution, Chemical Biology and Molecular Medicine, Immunology, Experimental Therapeutics, Cancer Epidemiology, and Health Outcomes and Behavior. The Behavioral Oncology Post-Doctoral Training Program draws extensively on the resources and faculty of the Health Outcomes and Behavior Research Program. This research program is led Thomas Brandon PhD, who is a Mentor for the training program and it is overseen by Paul Jacobsen PhD, who is Associate Center Director for Population Science and the Program Director for this training program. The scientific goals of the Health Outcomes and Behavior Research Program are to: 1) understand the determinants of behaviors that lead to prevention and early detection of cancer and develop effective methods of promoting those behaviors; 2) understand and improve patients’ quality of life throughout the disease course; 3) identify clinical practices and health outcomes that can inform efforts to improve the quality of cancer care; and 4) understand and address the determinants of cancer-related health disparities. The program is comprised of 25 members from four
colleges and seven departments at USF representing a wide variety of disciplines. Fourteen members of this research program serve as Mentors in the training program. The Health Outcomes and Behavior Research Program was rated as Exceptional during the most recent Cancer Center Support Grant Review in 2011.
Members of the Health Outcomes and Behavior Research Program are able to draw on the resources provided by 13 shared resources (scientific cores) at MCC. Program members are particularly frequent users of the Biostatistics Core, which provides consultation and assistance with statistical aspects of research design and analysis, the Survey Methods Core, which provides consultation and assistance with the design of survey tools and the collection and analysis of survey data, and the Cancer Informatics Core, which assists with electronic data collection and assemblage and management of large datasets.