Multidisciplinary training with exposure to a broad spectrum of ideas and mentored collaborative research is fundamental to the development of effective cancer prevention and control researchers. Through its specialized core curriculum and mentored research experience, the CCEP focuses on training that crosses and integrates different disciplines. The flexibility in both eligibility and training allows the CCEP to enhance diversity within the field and, at the same time, provide the understanding and language for unifying that diversity.
To prepare pre- and postdoctoral fellows for careers in interdisciplinary and collaborative cancer prevention and control research, the CCEP has six training objectives. Through the Program, fellows will:
- Understand the fundamental issues in cancer prevention and control;
- Develop research expertise by mastering a content area;
- Develop collaborative capability by learning the basic tenets and vocabulary of complementary content areas;
- Become competent in research methods;
- Gain mentored research experience under the guidance of a multidisciplinary team of mentors; and
- Develop professional skills required for successful research careers (such as writing grants, presenting research findings, writing for publication, etc).
As part of their postdoctoral program, physicians, nurses, and other health professionals without masters-level training are expected to pursue an advanced degree (MPH, PhD, or DrPH), primarily at the UNC-CH School of Public Health. Other postdoctoral fellows may also elect to pursue a master’s degree or to begin coursework for a Ph.D. Fellows interested in pursuing advanced degrees from the UNC Chapel Hill School of Public Health or other UNC Chapel Hill programs must separately apply to and be accepted into those programs.
Because the CCEP encourages diversity in background and interests, the Program stresses flexibility in training, especially for postdoctoral fellows. Each fellow enters the Program with an identified mentoring team that includes a primary faculty mentor and additional faculty identified during the application and selection process. For predoctoral fellows, the mentor and mentoring team are principally the dissertation advisor and committee. For postdoctoral fellows, upon entry into the Program, the Training Advisory Committee (TAC) and prospective mentors review each fellow’s prior training, assess the individual needs, and, in collaboration with the fellows, design an appropriate training plan.
Postdoctoral Training Plans
The training plan is key to the evaluation of postdoctoral trainee’s progress. Upon fellows’ acceptance into the Program, the Training Advisory Committee, the mentoring teams, and the fellows develop a training plan. Fellows then annually submit training plans for review, modification (if appropriate), and approval by the Training Advisory Committee. Plans, which are individually tailored to fit each fellow’s needs, generally have three major components: Goals/Objectives, Core Curriculum, Research Experience. Postdoctoral fellows and the mentoring team meet every six months with CCEP leadership to discuss progress.