Cancer prevention postdoctoral fellowships have existed since the 1970s. The National Cancer Institute facilitated a meeting by a panel of experts in April 2013 to consider four important topics for future directions for cancer prevention postdoctoral training programs: (i) future research needs; (ii) underrepresented disciplines; (iii) curriculum; and (iv) career preparation. Panelists proffered several areas needing more research or emphasis, ranging from computational science to culture. Health care providers, along with persons from nontraditional disciplines in scientific training programs such as engineers and lawyers, were among those recognized as being underrepresented in training programs. Curriculum suggestions were that fellows receive training in topics such as leadership and human relations, in addition to learning the principles of epidemiology, cancer biologic mechanisms, and behavioral science. For career preparation, there was a clear recognition of the diversity of employment options available besides academic positions, and that programleaders should do more to help fellows identify and prepare for different career paths. The major topics and strategies covered at this meeting can help form the basis for cancer prevention training programleaders to consider modifications or new directions, and keep them updated with the changing scientific and employment climate for doctoral degree recipients and postdoctoral fellows.
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