Long-term follow-up is needed to evaluate the impact of short-term cancer research programs on the career trajectories of medical and graduate students. Participation in these programs may be crucial in fostering the next generation of cancer research scientists. This report presents the career outcomes and research productivity of 77 medical and public health students with 25 years of tracking data following their participation in a summer cancer research training program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 1990–1998.
Drs. Luz (Aly) Padilla and John Waterbor, from the department of epidemiology at University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health collaborated with researchers from other institutions for this investigation. Of 64 summer trainees with contact information, complete survey responses were received from 55 (86.0 percent) individuals. Over half reported clinical care of cancer patients and 18.2 percent stated that they were engaged in cancer research. Literature searches confirmed that 23.4 percent (18/77) of trainees have published cancer research papers.
The authors concluded that future studies should explore the optimal timing of short-term post-baccalaureate academic cancer training experiences to identify participant characteristics and institutional factors that influence career choices and determine research productivity.