I have just returned from Scottsdale, Arizona, where I spent a day at the Lymphoma Research Foundation Clinical Research Mentoring Program (LCRMP). This four-day workshop is designed to teach senior fellows and junior faculty the skills needed to perform clinical research in lymphoma. The program is modeled after the highly successful educational and mentoring programs run by ASCO/AACR and by ASH. The mentees listened to a series of structured talks in the mornings; then, for the afternoon, they broke up into working groups, where they received personal attention from mentors and help in developing research protocols to take back to their home institutions.
The workshop was co-chaired by Andrew Evens of the Rutgers Cancer Institute and Sonali Smith of the University of Chicago. Both have outstanding track records as mentors, and they organized a terrific meeting with excellent topics and speakers.
• Statistics: phase I and II designs (Amylou Dueck, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale)
• Work-life balance discussion (Tom Witzig, Mayo Clinic, Rochester)
• State of the science: lymphomagenesis (Ari Melnick, Weill Cornell Medicine)
• The first 5 years in a faculty position: tips and secrets to becoming a successful young investigator and applying for career development awards (Kami Maddocks, Ohio State University)
• Using your statistician in a clinical team (Matt Maurer, Mayo Clinic, Rochester)
• Answering clinical questions with a clinical database (Brian Link, University of Iowa, and Kerry Savage, British Columbia Cancer Agency)
• How to run a successful protocol/clinical research program (Michael Williams, University of Virginia)
• Epidemiology of the lymphomas (Christopher Flowers, Emory University)
• Advice on choosing a mentor, working with a mentor, and transitioning into serving as a successful mentor to someone else (Ann LaCasce, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)
• How to become involved in the cooperative groups, CTEP, and other collaborative research efforts (yours truly, along with Michael Williams)
• How to maintain your independence and integrity particularly when working with pharmaceutical companies (John Leonard, Weill Cornell Medicine)
• Formulating a career devel-opment plan/research grants beyond CDAs (Flowers and Evens)
• Navigating delays and setbacks in your research (LaCasce)
• Career advice panel discussions (Savage, Williams, and Witzig)
• Tips on creating and delivering an effective presentation (Smith)
• Tips for successful publication of your research (Evens and Williams)
• Integrating laboratory research into a science research program (David Weinstock, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)
• Adolescent/young adult lymphomas: issues in clinical research (Kara Kelly, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, University of Buffalo)
Several of the speakers (including me) spent a single day at the meeting. Eleven of the faculty members were in attendance for the entire program. Kudos to them. Additional kudos should go to the Lymphoma Research Foundation for sponsoring the program, which has been operational for several years now and appears to be a major success.
At one point in my lecture, I listed all of the lymphoma protocols in development in the cooperative groups and the investigators responsible for generating them. It was pointed out to me that the vast majority of the mentees were junior faculty who had previously attended the LCRMP, so keep an eye out in the coming years for the 2018 scholars: Jennifer Agrusa of the Baylor College of Medicine; Elizabeth Brem of the University of California, Irvine; Jennifer Crombie of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Brian Greenwell of Emory University; Shalin Kothari of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute; Ryan Lynch of the University of Washington; Priyanka Pophali of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester; and Patrick Reagan of the University of Rochester.
I am not sure if other disease-specific foundations sponsor programs similar to this one. It would be well worth it if they did; I am convinced that such programs are a great investment in the future.
Until next month …
Brad S. Kahl, MD