A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Cancer Genetics Career Development Program (CGCDP)

Cancer Genetics Career Development Program (CGCDP)
The City of Hope NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center is offering an innovative Cancer Genetics Career Development Program (CGCDP) providing interdisciplinary training focused on cancer genetics and cancer prevention control research. The Traineeship, which is a mentored faculty position with a very competitive salary, will be open to only three applicants per year.
Program Description
This rigorous two-year program melds broad-spectrum mentored didactic and research training with graduate coursework in clinical cancer genetics, oncology, biostatistics, epidemiology, research methodology, clinical training and a research project , which may be in basic science or translational and clinical investigation.

Areas of research include:
  • Clinical Trials in Cancer Prevention and High-Risk Surveillance
  • Population Genetics
  • Genetic Epidemiology and Carcinogenesis
  • Basic Molecular Genetics
  • Clinical and Behavioral Outcomes
  • Health Services Research
  • Biomedical Informatics
  • Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Molecular Pathology
The program has the advantage of extensive clinical research resources through an established prospective Hereditary Cancer Registry and City of Hope’s Cancer Screening & Prevention Program (CSPP).

Trainees will be able to have mentors from multiple, complementary disciplines; mentorship will be tailored to each Trainee’s individual needs.

Program graduates will receive:
  • Master’s degree from University of Southern California
  • Specialty Program Certificate from City of Hope
  • Qualification for the NIH Loan Repayment Program
  • Possible future NCI research support opportunities
Who Should Apply
  • Physician candidates will have completed a fellowship in Oncology or Clinical Genetics specialties
  • Doctoral Nurse candidates will have had some experience in the fields of medical oncology or clinical genetics
  • Other Postdoctoral candidates including, social scientists and clinical psychologists, interested in pursuing psychosocial and behavioral outcomes research in the emerging fields of clinical cancer genetics and genomics, public health and epidemiology, or a related field candidates will have completed a fellowship in Oncology or Clinical Genetics specialties
Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, as required by the NCI-funded training grant supporting this position.

Academic Requirements

Within City of Hope's Cancer Genetics Career Development Program (CGCDP), course work, seminars, workshops and lectures are designed to:
  • Broaden trainees' understanding of the full spectrum of cancer genetics, oncology and epidemiology
  • Reinforce fundamentals of applied clinical and research methodology
  • Establish a solid foundation for cross-disciplinary clinical and research activities
The primary mentor and the Executive Committee monitor trainees’ academic progress and fulfillment of required course work and special projects. The academic curriculum is comprised of new courses and lecture series tailored specifically for the CGCDP and formal collaboration with established City of Hope and University of Southern California educational programs. Trainees are also required to attend and complete coursework for each of the lecture series and seminars included in the  sample Weekly Traineeship Clinical and Academic Calendar .
Overall, the CGCDP provides for:
  • Eight hours of experiential training
  • Ten hours academic coursework
  • Four hours of interdisciplinary clinical conference work weekly, with protected time for research and interdisciplinary rotations
Trainees will have a minimum of 18 hours of direct research experience or training every week. Year two curriculum centers on completion of cancer prevention and control research projects and preparation of research proposals, advanced course work and thesis requirements for obtaining a Master's degree.
Curriculum Overview
The curricular components described below are developed specifically for CGCDP to address the unique need for integrated multidisciplinary knowledge and skills in cancer genetics. In addition to the inter- and cross-disciplinary didactic content of these materials, the curriculum incorporates practical, hands-on synthesis of newly acquired knowledge and skills, refinement of research design and implementation skills, and ensures genetics professionals are apprised of the most current developments in this rapidly evolving field. The following are the curriculum components:
  • Clinical Cancer Genetics Course
  • Cancer Genetics Working Group
  • Topics in Clinical Cancer Genetics
  • Methods in Cancer Genetics Epidemiology Research
  • Clinical Investigation Training Program
  • Interdisciplinary City of Hope Educational Activities

Research Requirements

City of Hope's Cancer Genetics Career Development Program (CGCDP) promotes a dynamic exchange of information and ideas and a strong team-oriented approach to cancer genetics research.

To fulfill their CGCDP research requirements, trainees must:
  • Choose a topic for research (with assistance of primary mentor) and select one or more cross-disciplinary mentors to assist in project design and implementation by week ten of the first traineeship year.
  • Develop a project outline and timeline for completion by the first academic quarter and research progress reports on a quarterly basis thereafter. These are reviewed by the primary and cross-disciplinary mentor(s) and Executive Committee to allow for direction and guidance in completion of the project.
  • Present work before a traineeship conference, held at completion of the first traineeship year.
  • Second-year Fulfillment Requirements for Physician Trainees: Complete a second year of traineeship focused on additional research experience and crystallization of career development plans in cancer prevention and control research.
  • As part of the thesis requirements, prepare a grant proposal (PHS398 format), with the preliminary results section generated through a research project conducted by the trainee with the guidance of the research mentor. Intramural peer review by thesis committee staff and/or extramural review as a proposal submitted to the NIH, such as the Cancer Prevention, Control and Population Sciences Career Development Award (K07).
  • Depending on the individual trainee's prior experience and accomplishments during the traineeship, they may be appropriate candidates for the NCI Transition Career Development Award (K22) as a bridge to independent research leadership posts. The Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23) is also a possible pathway for Trainees who show exceptional promise in clinical research.
  • All trainees can choose project mentors from a wealth of intra- and extra-mural researchers, all of whom have ample mentorship experience and funding to support the trainee.
  • Appropriately qualified trainees with more significant prior research experience may seek a research project grant (R01).
  • Additionally, second-year trainees will assume the role of Chief Trainee, providing continuity and peer mentorship for subsequent first-year trainees, which includes continued research activities for thesis development and coursework leading to Master’s degree qualification, as well as teaching duties and curriculum development.

City of Hope Training History

City of Hope’s faculty has provided postdoctoral training for more than 40 years. As an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, City of Hope provides an organizational framework to stimulate interactive research between investigators, and shared facilities are developed to enhance innovative interdisciplinary research projects.

Basic programs within the City of Hope infrastructure include:
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Carcinogenesis
  • Immunology
  • Virology and Gene Therapy
  • Hematological Malignancy Host and Environmental Determinants of Cancer Susceptibility
  • Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics
  • Clinical Cancer Genetics
Each of these programs is represented among the CGCDP faculty. This well-documented history of collaboration among scientists of different disciplines assures that CGCDP trainees will have multi-disciplinary didactic training and experience an integrated approach to clinical cancer genetics research.
Significance of NCCN Affiliation
City of Hope is a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of 21 of the world's leading cancer centers located throughout the U.S. The goals of NCCN are to provide the highest quality of cancer care to the greatest number of patients, to advance the state of the art in cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment, and to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of cancer care delivery.

City of Hope is one of five member institutions participating in a new NCCN project aimed at establishing a database of patients with a new diagnosis of breast cancer. The purpose is to evaluate outcomes and patterns of breast cancer care at member institutions.

The data center of the NCCN is housed in City of Hope’s Department of Information Sciences. At the clinical level, there are active Traineeship programs in Surgical Oncology, Medical Oncology and Hematology, and Hematopathology. The Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research and the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation offer the joint Hematology-oncology Fellowship Program. This four-year program involves both didactic and “hands-on” experiences in biostatistics, clinical investigation, basic science and basic and translational research. The CGCDP utilizes key elements of this K12 curriculum.

In basic sciences, training is conducted in the areas of molecular biology, molecular genetics, protein chemistry, molecular immunology, virology and molecular pharmacology. There are currentlynearly 150 postdoctoral fellows in City of Hope laboratories.

Clinical Training Requirements

The Cancer Genetics Career Development Program (CGCDP) at City of Hope is structured to emphasize self-efficacy learning, with the Cancer Screening & Prevention Program Network (CSPPN) serving as the central arena for progressive, integrated clinical training. Each trainee will be required to participate in cancer risk assessment, counseling, testing, case management, and follow up for a minimum of four patients per calendar month (48 or more patients annually). Level of active participation in cases will be staged as follows:
  1. Initial period of case observation
  2. Increasing interaction and active participation during the session and in follow up activities
  3. Primary clinical involvement and full case responsibility
Trainee participation will be within a supervised setting with close mentorship at each level. Progression to full-level case responsibility will be determined on an individual basis through mentor-directed performance evaluations. Full case participation includes:
  • Pre-counseling case review
  • Entry of family and patient history data into Progeny database
  • Genetic counseling
  • Psychosocial assessment
  • Enrollment of candidate patients and families into the hereditary cancer registry protocol
  • Chemopreventive, epidemiological and behavioral research trials as appropriate
  • Participation in test results disclosure and risk management follow-up visits
  • Additional longitudinal case management
Trainees will be required to present each case seen at the weekly interdisciplinary Clinical Cancer Genetics (CCG) Working Group. Each trainee must also complete a case logbook comprised of a comprehensive summary of 25 cases and pass an oral exam related to three of these cases prior to completion of the program.



Program Training Plan and Curriculum

The traineeship is comprehensive in nature, and as such, combines rigorous academic requirements and research requirements with ample hands-on clinical training experience.

A working relationship between each Cancer Genetics Career Development Program (CGCDP) trainee and his or her primary mentor is established at the start of the training period. Trainees are funded for two years to allow for maturation of cancer prevention and control research projects and preparation of research proposals, advanced course work and thesis requirements for obtaining a Master’s degree. Continued research traineeship beyond the two-year period will be encouraged and is dependent upon successful competition for career development or independent research awards. TheAdvisory Committee will make recommendations for extension of traineeship and institutional commitment of appropriate space will be secured.

Training is centered on three main categories of integrated interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary experience:

Academic : formal multidisciplinary course work, seminars and lectures
Experiential : mentored multi-site clinical training; participation in clinical case review conferences; enrollment and management of patients in the clinical setting
Mentored cross-disciplinary research project (core requirement): Cancer genetics is a new and evolving discipline wherein the research focus may be clinical (interventions/outcomes, behavioral), basic (genetic epidemiology, molecular biology), or translational
Clinical Cancer Genetics
The City of Hope Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics is committed to being a national leader in the advancement of cancer genetics, screening and prevention, through innovative patient care, research and education.

Contact Us
  • 800-826-HOPE (4673)
  • For more information about the Cancer Screening & Prevention Program, call 626-256-8662, ext. 2.
CCG Newsletter: Closing the Loop
View the current issue: CCG Newsletter
Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope is internationally  recognized for its innovative biomedical research.
City of Hope is one of only 41 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country, the highest designation awarded by the National Cancer Institute to institutions that lead the way in cancer research, treatment, prevention and professional education.
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