Faculty Career Enhancement Programs

The Stephenson Cancer Center (SCC) and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) sponsor numerous programs to enhance career development for cancer researchers. These programs provide mentorship, support and specialized training in research methods to help junior faculty move to career independence. A couple of SCC- and OUHSC-sponsored programs have a specific focus on career development for faculty from populations underrepresented in biomedical, behavioral and populations research.

Stephenson Cancer Center Programs

SCC Early-Stage Investigator Mentorship
SCC is committed to supporting the careers of early-stage investigators as they progress to independence in their respective fields of cancer research. Senior members within SCC research programs routinely mentor early-stage investigators in developing career pathways and grant applications. Early-stage investigators regularly present their research in program meetings and at the SCC’s Annual Cancer Research Symposium. Early-stage investigators are mentored and supported to pursue career development awards from the NIH (K awards), ACS, DOD, and other national sponsors. They have prioritized no-cost access to SCC Shared Resources and other services, including scientific / technical writing and grant submission support, to facilitate their projects. Early-stage investigators are encouraged to speak with their program leaders to find out more information.

NIGMS P20: Mentoring Translational Cancer Research in Oklahoma
The goal of this NIH-funded Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) is to enhance cancer research and infrastructure in Oklahoma. To accomplish this goal, the program supports four Promising Junior Investigators (PJIs), each of whom are paired with a mentoring team of NIH-funded scientists. The PJIs work on an independent research project, funded by the COBRE grant, with the goal of submitting an NIH or other national peer-reviewed grant at the end of their terms.

American Cancer Society – Institutional Research Grant (ACS-IRG)
The American Cancer Society offers Institutional Research Grants as block grants, providing seed funding for newly independent investigators to initiate cancer research projects. The intent is to support these junior faculty researchers in obtaining preliminary results that will enable them to compete successfully for national research grants. The Stephenson Cancer Center was awarded an ACS-IRG grant in 2020.

Annual Cancer Research Symposium
Stephenson Cancer Center hosts an annual Cancer Research Symposium that provides an interactive forum for cancer center members, other interested researchers, and students from a variety of disciplines to share their research. Faculty and students have the opportunity to submit proposals for oral and poster presentations. This one-day event now features more than 250 faculty and students attendees and provides excellent opportunities for networking and initiating collaborations.

OU Health Sciences Programs

Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resources (OSCTR)
The OSCTR is an NIH-funded infrastructure and faculty development program designed to: 1) serve as a catalyst to facilitate clinical and translational research; 2) improve health for underserved and underrepresented populations living in rural areas; 3) provide clinical and translational research training and infrastructure to junior investigators; 4) expand opportunities for IDeA states and communities to participate in clinical and translational research; and 5) improve the overall health of Oklahoma’s citizens. The OSCTR supports numerous programs designed to facilitate student and faculty career development (see below).

Masters in Clinical and Translational Science (MS-CTS)
The goal of the MS-CTS program is to prepare health professionals to become competent in the methodological foundations and conduct of clinical and translational research, including qualitative and quantitative research methods, clinical and translational research process and design, informatics, effective oral and written communication, human research ethics and responsible conduct of research, cultural competency, research management, and professionalism and career development.

Translating Practice into Research (TPIR) Trainee Program
A part of the OSCTR, the TPIR trainee program is a unique one-year (September - August) education and mentoring program for practicing healthcare professionals, clinical investigators, and basic scientists offering a broad and practical curriculum for understanding clinical research methods, research collaborations, and statistical analysis. The goal is to produce clinicians and scientists who have the ability to translate their clinical observations and ideas for improving practice into practical and feasible research projects. The TPIR program consists of four components: 1) two 1-day, in-person workshops; 2) 10 online education modules; 3) scheduled conference calls with TPIR faculty; and 4) a mentored research project.

NIMDH R25: Addressing Health Disparities among Oklahoma Minority Rural Communities through Clinical Research Education and Career Development
The overall goal of this program is to facilitate the education of participants from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research to pursue clinical research, translational and/or patient-oriented research, or population health research particularly on diseases that disproportionately impact minority, rural, and health disparity populations. Initial training includes: didactic program courses for skill development in clinical and population health research; completing a thesis research project focused on health issues in underserved populations; earning a MS degree in Clinical and Translational Science; funding provided for up to two years. Phase II training involves a mentored research experience and funding provided for up to three years.

NIGMS P20: Oklahoma – IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (OK-INBRE)
Research Project Investigator Awards

The NIH-funded IDeA Program broadens the geographic distribution of NIH funding for competitive biomedical and behavioral research by enhancing the research capabilities of institutions in eligible states. The OK-INBRE’s Research Project Investigator (RPI) awards seek to enhance biomedical research at institutions in the OK-INBRE network. Proposed projects must align with one of the research themes of the OK-INBRE program: Cancer, Developmental Biology, or Infectious Diseases. Full-time, tenure-track faculty at OUHSC or the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) are eligible. Awards are anticipated to be funded at up to $100,000 per year in direct costs for a 2.5 year project period.

OUHSC Faculty Leadership Program (FLP)
The scope and complexity of faculty roles at a contemporary Academic Health Center are demanding. The FLP affords faculty a structured approach to acquire and apply new skills and to refine existing ones through a longitudinal series of highly interactive small group seminars led by faculty and administrators. Participating faculty acquire and practice the skills to balance their roles, attend to personal and professional responsibilities, and make good career decisions in order to engage as strong team members and take on leadership opportunities.

Contact Information

Education, Training and Career Enhancement Core
OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center
E: SCCCRTEC@ouhsc.edu