Cancer Research Career Enhancement

The training programs at the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center (UNMCCC) match HS through junior faculty with outstanding research or clinical mentors. Mentors have broad research interests and are engaged in basic cancer research to clinical translation with relevance to our catchment area. Trainees are drawn both regionally and nationally.

Angela Wandinger-Ness, PhD, Associate Director for Education, Training & Mentoring

The overall, long-term objective of the UNMCCC Cancer Research Career Enhancement Core is to motivate diverse trainees through culturally relevant training to assume careers in basic cancer research and translational science.

To accomplish this goal, UNMCCC focuses on:

  1. immersive cancer research experiences and culturally relevant curricula that develop science efficacy and identity among high school to undergraduate students,
  2. interdisciplinary community to translational research engagement among graduate students to faculty,
  3. professional skill building and mentorship in effective communication, scientific writing, management and leadership in accordance with career stage.

Based on unique demographics, UNMCCC training programs aim to disseminate activities and programs proven to benefit workforce diversification through resource sharing of curricular materials. Research training and career development activities take place at UNM, UNMCCC and reach communities statewide. Training opportunities capitalize on a wide array of available resources. Outstanding Shared Resources offer training and access to cutting edge technologies. A Director’s Seminar Series features nationally recognized speakers who serve as inspirational role models, provide advice and guidance and create opportunities for inter-institutional collaborations. Partnerships with other NIH-funded programs for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students both at UNM (MARC, McNair, PREP, IMSD, RISE) and through inter-institutional partnerships (INBRE, NCGR, q-bio) enhance interdisciplinary training opportunities. Workshops, seminars and retreats draw trainees nationally and internationally and offer skill- and team-building opportunities.

Activities and career tracking are supported by a central office, and evaluated by Senior Leadership, an internal Advisory Committee and an external evaluator. Surveys of stakeholders and career tracking provide outcomes data and assessment used for continual program improvement. Collectively, the UNMCCC training programs contribute to shaping the face of a diverse faculty and student body educated in cancer research and clinical translation. UNMCCC trainees will productively contribute to tackling the significant education and health needs of underserved communities locally and nationally.