Cancer Control Research1R13CA142015-01
FUTURE DIRECTIONS IN CANER PREVENTION & CONTROL: WORKFORCE IMPLICATIONS FOR TRAIN
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Recent workforce reports have predicted shortages in a variety of medical subspecialties, including oncology. Workforce problems are compounded by the need for diversity in the health care workforce, which is particularly relevant to cancer as widely recognized disparities exist in cancer health outcomes and the need to translate prevention discoveries into interventions that have a positive impact on such disparities is critical. Notably, no workforce reports have considered the impact of cancer prevention activities on the future burden of cancer or focused on workforce needs in cancer prevention. Cancer prevention plays a significant role in the battle against cancer. Indeed, for the first time since cancer surveillance in the United States began, both incidence and mortality rates have declined in the same year. This results in part from major advances in both treatment and prevention. However, while we must continue improving approaches to cancer treatment, we must redouble our efforts to improve and expand prevention activities and to create novel approaches in cancer prevention to reduce the burden of cancer on our society, including the anticipated impact of a workforce shortfall in medical oncology in 2020. Thus, for now and in the future, to reduce the burden of cancer on the health of the public requires a coordinated plan to ensure the continued recruitment and preparation of a strong and diverse cancer prevention workforce. Until now, because no other public effort has attempted to address workforce issues in cancer prevention, the purpose of the symposium is to stimulate organized discussion from a wide number of knowledgeable stakeholders within cancer prevention, to gather data about the cancer prevention workforce, and to form recommendations for preventing shortages and strengthening the field. The two-day symposium will take place in Houston in the heart of the Texas Medical Center at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, home to the largest center of cancer prevention research and practice in the United States. The meeting will take advantage of the 2009 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Education, also planned for Houston, to bring together experts and other stakeholders in the field of cancer prevention and cancer prevention education, training, research, clinical practice, and policy to discuss and analyze multiple aspects of the cancer prevention workforce. In 2010, a follow-up session will be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of a cancer prevention organization to be named, for presenting the findings of the work developed from the 2009 symposium. The work generated will be summarized in manuscripts and published together in a supplement of the Journal of Cancer Education with recommendations for cancer prevention constituents that together can help us anticipate future problems for the cancer prevention workforce and plan strategies to avoid them. Public Health Relevance: As recent reports have shown, including the 2007 ASCO-AAMC finding that predicted a shortage of medical oncologists in 2020, a great need for action exists to ensure that the future public health workforce is sufficient in numbers and training to meet the future cancer care demands of an aging population. Efforts in cancer prevention could play a major role in reducing such an impact on our health care system, but much information is needed to make certain that the cancer prevention workforce is adequately positioned to achieve this goal. Until now, because no other public effort has attempted to address workforce issues in cancer prevention, the proposed project and symposium will assess the issues related to the recruitment and preparation of the cancer prevention workforce and propose strategies to prevent shortages in the field for the future.