, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 409-419
Date: 17 Jun 2011

Career Development Needs Assessment in Cancer Prevention and Control: Focus on Research in Minority and International Settings

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Abstract

This study was conducted as a needs assessment to inform the development of an educational program designed to provide mentorship and skills supporting careers in cancer research, with a focus on domestic minority populations and international settings. The objectives were to determine: (1) the level of interest among trainees in careers in cancer research and (2) preferences and constraints constituted by potential components, features, and duration of the proposed extramural training program. The target populations were participants and directors of federal training programs in cancer research, specifically (1) trainees in the NCI—K01, K07, and K08 programs, as well as the Department of Defense (DoD) Breast and Prostate Control Programs and (2) PIs of NCI R25 training programs and federally designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers. We developed, piloted, and administered electronically a survey to elicit perspectives of trainees’ career development needs and preferences. Response rates from each training group exceeded 65%, with the exception of the K08 trainees (49%). The proportion of cancer research trainees who are interested in careers that include research on US minority groups was 70% of K01 trainees, 72% of K07 trainees, 45% of K08 trainees, and 75% of DoD trainees. A substantial percent of these trainees indicated their plans also include cancer research in international settings: 60% of K01s; 50% of K07s, 42% of K08s, and 87% of DoD trainees. Trainees identified substantial interest in a program that would provide the following: mentoring, manuscript writing skills, collaborative research in special populations, financial support, and focused modular courses. This study offers encouraging evidence of interest which focused in extramural education to augment skills facilitating cancer-related research in special populations.