University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

History of the UPCI International Academy

Hillman Cancer Center

With contributions from the UPCI, Bayer Material Sciences, and grateful patient families, The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute International Academy was instituted in the Summer of 2009 to encourage students’ interest in cancer careers, instill knowledge of cancer biology and clinical care, and develop their research and communication skills. The eight-week program was launched with five students who attended a series of cancer biology lectures presented by a UPCI clinician/researcher, a biology professor, and a University of Pittsburgh medical student. The program curriculum also included presentations from clinicians and researchers from across UPCI disciplines focusing on clinical care, career options, and career preparation. Students were led on tours of a variety of clinical and research facilities at the UPCI and UPMC Shadyside. Daily programming for each student required spending time conducting laboratory research in a UPCI lab with an assigned UPCI faculty mentor and postgraduate student. At the conclusion of the program, students gave oral and poster presentations at a culminating seminar/reception at the UPCI.

In the summer of 2010 we were excited to develop new collaborations with the University of Pittsburgh Health Careers Program and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which provided students with additional opportunities for learning and peer interaction. The program was expanded to include ten local students (rising juniors and seniors) and two from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Supported in part by a supplement from the National Cancer Institute to our Cancer Center, these students had eight weeks of didactic and experiential learning at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, including a trip to the NCI in Bethesda, MD.

In 2011 we have expanded our program to include opportunities in pediatric oncology at the Lawrenceville campus and in systems biology and biomedical informatics in our Oakland campus, with a planned total of 24 students to be distributed throughout these three campuses.

The UPCI International Academy received support again in 2012 from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Bayer Material Sciences, the Queen's Hospital of Honolulu, the UPCI Volunteer Office, and the National Cancer Institute to provide research opportunities for 28 local and national high school rising seniors. With the newly funded Doris Duke Foundation Academy for Clinical Research, the UPCI Academy collaborated with Pitt STEER, VA-CHERP, the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative, MWRI Internship, Pittsburgh Public Schools, SciTech Academy, the Fund for Advancement of Minorities through Education (FAME), the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and the University of Pittsburgh's Office of Diversity and Office of Science Education Outreach.

About the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute

Founded in 1984, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) is the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in western Pennsylvania. As the preeminent institution in the region for the delivery of cancer care, the conduct of basic and translational research, and the education of the next generation of cancer researchers and physicians, UPCI is exceptionally well positioned to contribute to the global effort to reduce the burden of cancer. With more than 625 research faculty members specializing in disciplines ranging from cancer prevention and early detection to novel therapeutic discovery, survivorship, and end of life care, UPCI maintains a broad strategic vision and comprehensive approach to understanding and defeating cancer. In addition, UPCI is internationally recognized for its leadership in the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of this devastating disease.

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