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Requirements of the Oncology and Related Health Disparities Pathway

There are six requirements that the participants in the Oncology and Related Health Disparities Pathway must fulfill:

  1. Participate in the Oncology Forums—a series of monthly meetings that serve as the principal setting for all Pathway participants to understand and discuss the relevance of oncology and related health disparities to medicine. These monthly forums are attended by students during all four medical school years. These also provide a means for interaction between students at different points in their medical school experience as they explore oncology topics in both basic science and in the clinic. These Forums will include journal clubs for students led by faculty mentors as well as discussions of student research and clinical cases where the most up to date advances in oncology are presented. Each Forum meeting will focus on a particular topic within the scope of the Pathway. Students will attend a total of 6 Oncology Forums with a total of 18-24 over all four years of medical education.

    For the forums, the pathway will leverage existing SCCC meetings that involve (incomplete list):

    I) Site Disease Group specific cancer clinical trials development (bi-weekly)
    II) Sylvester Precision Medicine Molecular Tumor Board (monthly)
    III) The two protocol review committees (Medical and Social Behavioral: biweekly)
    IV) Oncology Grand Rounds
    V) Annual Sylvester/Zubrod Research Day
    VI) Weekly Sylvester Distinguished Lecture Series
    VII) Various tumor boards (weekly)

    The pathway will provide 6 oncology forums (lunch time lectures) every year and these will be focused on more basic concepts and will generally reflect the steps and decisions that guide the clinical management of patient with cancer. For example, the first lectures will be based on defining cancer. Subsequent lecture will then move to 1) diagnosis 2) the treatment options 3) deciding on a management plan and 4) following a patient through therapy/surgery, etc. The pathway series will finish up with screening for recurrence and survivorship. We will plan for a 3-year rotation of forum content to minimize overlap but still ensure that core concepts are always presented. For example, in the first year, diagnosis can be presented from the point of view of a radiologist. In the second year, we can have a pathologist present their approach to diagnosis. This will keep the content unique but still cover the basic principles related to cancer care.

    For the 1st year students, it would be best for the student to try and attend all the forums. If they cannot attend a forum or two, a possible alternative is to attend two clinical meetings to replace each forum. These clinical meetings would include weekly tumor boards and oncology grand rounds, bi-weekly site disease group and PRMC meetings and monthly precision medicine tumor board or distinguished cancer lectures. As a student moves toward the final years of medical school, there will be more emphasis on the clinical meetings as opposed to the forums. Specifically, for the junior students, we will emphasize the forums and for the senior students, we will emphasize the cancer-focused clinical meetings and seminars.
  2. Attend 1 seminar per semester on topics related to oncology. These can be seminars sponsored by the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Hematology and Oncology as well as seminars sponsored by the Division of Surgical Oncology and selected seminars in the Radiology, Pathology, Interventional Radiology and Radiation Oncology. Students will summarize each seminar and provide this write-up to the Pathway Director. Forms for the write-up are attached. Students will attend and provide reports for 8 seminars total (2 in year 1; 2 each in years 2, 3 & 4). *Students may attend additional seminars/SCCC clinical activities and submit reports to make up for deficits in attendance of Oncology Forums.
  3.  Choose a mentor by May 1 of the first year and plan a summer research project that will be performed between the first and second years of medical school (approximately 5-6 weeks, although students are welcome to continue laboratory work contingent upon their available time and mentor permission). Mentors are to be members of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

    (Faculty mentors/Forum participants and their areas of research/clinical expertise are listed below and are available on the updated Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center website.)

    One distinguishing feature for the Oncology pathway may be that although a laboratory experience would be ideal, other experiences including participating in cancer screening or analyzing epidemiologic cancer data with an investigator will also be an option. Having more diverse options for a research experience will allow for a larger number of students to be accommodated in this pathway.
  4. Document at least 3 examples of clinical cases observed directly by the Pathway participant during the clinical clerkships in the 3rd and/or 4th years of medical school involving a patient with cancer and how up to date approaches were utilized therapeutically in the treatment of the patient. Documentation consists of a write up of the case, including a brief exposition of the particular case. These cases may be discussed during the monthly Oncology Forums. Forms and an example for the write-up are attached. While appropriate cases involving oncology can be found in many required and elective clinical rotations, students are encouraged to participate in Hematology/Oncology, Surgical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Interventional Radiology, Pediatric Oncology, or other suitable rotations in the 3rd
    and/or 4th years.
  5. All student participants in the Pathway are expected to meet yearly with the Pathway Director to assess compliance with the Pathway requirements.
  6. In the four years of the Pathway, each participant is expected to accumulate a portfolio which contains, at minimum, an extended abstract of a clinical or basic research project performed (approximately 5 pages, see attached forms and
    example), log of attendance at the Pathway Forum meetings, documentation of relevant clinical cases observed, and a log of Pathway-relevant seminars attended.

    The extended abstract contains, at minimum: 1) abstract/summary; 2) brief background to the project, 3) results obtained, and 4) conclusions derived from the project (total length ~ 5pages, see attached forms). This will be submitted as a record of your scholarly activities during the Pathway. It is encouraged that Pathway participants with sufficient completed research participate at the annual Eastern Student Research Forum (ESRF) meeting on the medical school campus or another local, regional, and/or national meeting. Note that formal award of credit for research is not necessarily satisfied by this portfolio; Pathway participants requesting research distinction or research credit toward graduation should consult the Medical Education website and/or Office of Medical Curriculum (Manager of Curriculum Programs) for the requirements. At the time of graduation, and dependent on the successful completion of the activities described above, Pathway participants will be awarded a Certificate of Pathway Completion indicating added qualifications in Oncologic Diseases. In addition, students will be encouraged to submit their research for publication in the Medical Ibis-the yearly medical student organized publication of research accomplishment while in medical school. *Emmanuel Thomas, who is one of the co-leaders of this pathway, is on the ESRF steering committee and the committee that awards research credit and distinction.

Total requirements by Year

Year 1 in Pathway

  1. Oncology Forum (to attend 6 of 6 with possible replacement of missed sessions by attending SCCC clinical meetings)
  2. Four seminars and reports (4 seminars minimum *may attend as many as possible)
  3. One comprehensive written research report.
  4. Research presentation as part of a Oncology Forum

Years 2 and 3 in Pathway

1. Oncology Forums: 3/6 per year (6 total in 2 years)
2. Four seminars and reports total (2 each per year)
3. Four clinical case reports (2 each per year)
4. Clinical case report presentations in an Oncology Forum; cases to be chosen from those
submitted.

*Students may attend additional seminars and submit reports to make up for deficits in
attendance of Oncology Forums.

Student Checklist for Pathway Requirements

  1. Attendance at Oncology Forums (Held monthly September-May). Absence at a Forum must be communicated in writing (e-mail) to the Pathway Director.
  2. Attendance at 2 seminars per year (or a total of 8 seminars). A list of seminars that are suitable for this Pathway will be provided to the Pathway participants. Students who wish to attend other seminars not listed, and have this credited toward their seminar participation, must have permission of the Pathway Director. Students will summarize each seminar in one paragraph on the Seminars form. This document should be provided to the Pathway Director no later than 1 week after the date of the seminar.
  3. Completion of the research project and extended abstract. The research project will normally be completed in the 5 to 6 week period between the MS-1 and MS-2 years. Students will complete the extended abstract, and return to the Pathway Director, no later than the end of the first semester of the MS-2 year. Students are encouraged to continue their research during the Pathway; any additional research documents will be included in the student’s portfolio. Completed research will be reported on at the Oncology Forums.
  4. Completion of case reports on 3 patients (2 in the third year and 1 in the fourth year) with cancer where modern approaches where utilized and of major importance in the outcome of the patient. Case reports should be provided to the Pathway Director and will be discussed in the Oncology Forum.

Administrative Structure for the Oncology and Related Health Disparities Pathway

The Pathway will be administered by three Co-Directors who are members of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer center.

  1. Dr. Kerry Burnstein, Professor of Molecular Pharmacology, will serve as a Oncology Co-Director as the director of the training programs at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
  2. Dr. Craig Moskowitz, Professor of Hematology and Oncology, will serve as a Oncology Co-Director as the director of clinical oncology at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
  3. Dr. Emmanuel Thomas, Assistant Professor in Microbiology and Immunology, will serve as Oncology Co-Director, as a medical school alumni and member of committees related to ESRF and research credit and distinction for medical students. He is also faculty mentor of the medical IBIS and the American Physician Scientist Association (APSA).

The Pathway Co-Directors will be assisted by the Pathway Advisory Committee who also serve on the advisory board for the training programs at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Current Members are Drs. Robert Levy, Ralf Landgraf, Michael Antoni and Sandra Lemmon. The Pathway Directors are responsible for 1) scheduling the Oncology Forums; 2) providing a listing of suitable seminars; 3) ensuring that students have chosen a mentor for research; 4) receiving research reports, seminar summaries, and clinical case reports; 5) chairing the Pathway Advisory Committee meetings; 6) meeting annually with each student to assess progress towards the Pathway objectives.

The Pathway Advisory Committee meets at least 2 times per year and meetings can be held as part of the training and education meetings for the SCCC to 1) choose students who wish to enter the Pathway and 2) assess the progress of students through the Pathway objectives. Pathway Advisory Committee members serve 3-year terms, with staggered replacement of members as needed. The Pathway is supported by partial assistance from Janine Domlesky within the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and additional administrative support by Ms. Sheryl Morrison from the Office of Medical Education.