The CUPID Summer Translational Oncology Program is 10-week NCI-funded laboratory-based research experience designed to introduce medical students to oncology. The program is jointly administered by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHU), Indiana University School of Medicine (IU), and Ohio State University College of Medicine. The mission of this program is to address the impending shortage of practicing oncologists within the US, and to cultivate an interest in cancer treatment and research among medical students who have not yet fully defined their career plans. Students who are interested in both research and health care disparities, and who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to community service are invited to apply. Students may select their preference of location in Baltimore, Maryland, Indianapolis, Indiana, or Columbus, Ohio, or they may agree to apply to all sites. The number of fellowships at each of the sites is limited and admission will be highly competitive. One important goal of the program is to reach out to students at institutions that are not affiliated with an NCI-designated cancer center. Accordingly, such students will be prioritized.
Each student is matched with a research mentor who will oversee the student’s laboratory activities for the duration of the program. Individual lab assignments are made by the program’s co-directors, following review of each accepted student’s application materials. Laboratory mentors are volunteers who have been selected based on their enthusiasm for the mission of the program, and their willingness to devise a well-defined translational research project that can be completed during the program’s timeframe.
Another key feature of the program is the didactic lecture series, which runs for seven weeks during the program. One hour lunchtime lectures are delivered simultaneously to all sites via a live videoconference. Specific topics include the molecular basis of cancer, the pathophysiology of common types of cancer, cancer diagnosis and therapy, cancer epidemiology and biostatistics, horizons in cancer research, future opportunities in the oncology workforce and cancer health disparities. The course varies from year to year, depending on speaker availability and the integration of new speakers and topics, and also by any new developments in cancer research and care.
The students will experience the clinical side of oncology by participating in one half-day rotations with physicians on the medical, surgical, pediatric, and radiation oncology clinical services. Students may shadow clinical faculty members on both inpatient and outpatient services. Preceptors are selected on the basis of their ability to engage students and participate on a volunteer basis to provide a range of perspectives on cancer care. Students may schedule additional time with clinical rotation mentors (e.g. in surgery) as time allows within the program time period.
Other program activities include a weekly journal club and a closing symposium at which students present their projects and research findings. To help build a broad professional network, students from all sites will participate in a two-day joint conference in Washington, DC that is focused on cancer-related advocacy and policy.
While students from any US medical or osteopathic school may apply, students at schools that are not affiliated with an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center will be prioritized for admission. A list of all comprehensive cancer centers and their university affiliations may be found here: https://www.cancer.gov/research/nci-role/cancer-centers.
* See specific program location.