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Gillibrand, Higgins announce 5-year, $1.4m award for summer cancer research programs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute

by jmaloni

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Fri, Jun 13th 2014 08:35 pm
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Federal funding supports clinical internships to provide hands-on cancer research and oncology experiences to college and medical students

Program includes partnership between RPCI and Howard University

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins today announced $280,332 in 2014 funding for Roswell Park Cancer Institute's summer research experience programs in cancer sciences and oncology in Buffalo. This federal funding, part of a five-year, $1.4 million allocation, will be used to engage college and medical school students in research and clinical internships.

"It is critical that we continue to invest in cutting-edge, life-saving cancer research," Gillibrand said. "While cancer continues to claim lives, with the right investments in prevention, diagnosis and treatment, families will have the tools and resources needed to combat this terrible disease. I am pleased Roswell Park Cancer Institute will be able to use this funding to give students and educators a first-hand experience in cancer research, igniting the potential for future advancements."

Higgins added, "The work underway at Roswell Park Cancer Institute both in treatment and research is inspiring and exciting. Engaging rising students in this state-of-the-art discovery and care provides not only a quality learning opportunity for students, but an opportunity for the nation to prepare future lifesaving pioneers."

"Every year, about 40 college, medical and physician-assistant students spend their summers at Roswell Park getting an introduction to oncology and medical research. For many, it's the start of a career pathway in oncology research or clinical care," said Richard Hershberger, Ph.D., M.B.A., chief academic officer at Roswell Park. "The federal funding announced today makes it possible for us to extend our 60-year tradition of providing these real-world, hands-on opportunities for the next generation of cancer researchers and care providers. It's an incredibly important piece of the education continuum, and one that grows more critical as our aging population requires more clinicians and researchers to provide cancer care and develop new therapies."

Roswell Park Cancer Institute will use the federal grant from the National Cancer Institute to provide research and clinical internships for 20 undergraduate students and 20 medical and physician-assistant students for eight to 10 weeks during the summer months. The funds will support lab supplies, attendance at a science retreat, travel to local biotech companies and professional conferences as well as programming costs. During the programs, participants are able to choose their specialized research area and are paired with a mentor. The sessions are concluded with presentations by participants on their summer research work.

The federal grant also supports, in part, a partnership between Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Howard University in which honors students meet online weekly for three semesters with Roswell Park faculty to discuss research in preparation for their summer internships. 

Roswell Park Cancer Institute was founded in 1898 and is America's first cancer center. It was one of the first centers in the nation to be designated by the National Cancer Institute as a "comprehensive cancer center," and remains the only such center in upstate New York. In addition to serving as an education and research facility, Roswell Park Cancer Institute is a comprehensive diagnostic and treatment center.

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