The Society of Urologic Oncology (SUO) recently convened a Symposium on Clinical Research and Clinical Trials in conjunction with their annual meeting in 2019. Why? Previous work from the SUO identified the lack of structured education in clinical research and clinical trial design and participation as a significant weakness for many physicians graduating from the Society of Urology Oncology accredited fellowships. Ultimately, what drives this dialogue is superior patient care. Their fundamental premise: Urologic Oncologists can benefit more patients and have a superior influence through clinical research by advancing the state of knowledge used to inform the care of patients well beyond current practice and clinical research.
Setting up Young Urologic Oncologists for Success in Clinical Research
Dr. Stephen Boorjian, Mayo Clinic, offered his perspective and advice for the young urologic oncologist’s research success in this last presentation at the Symposium on Clinical Research and Clinical Trials. Dr. Boorjian highlighted that most newly graduated (Young) urologic oncologists are not enrolling their patients in clinical trials despite an interest in research. This represents a challenge. Hence, his presentation followed two tracks including 1) maximizing research training during fellowship and 2) identifying jobs which can facilitate post-fellowship research success, reported author Christopher J.D. Wallis.
Fellowship-based Research Training
The Mayo Clinic doctor first emphasized the importance for young urologic oncologists to find a fellowship program that aligns with their individual interests and abilities. He emphasized that exposure to other areas of expertise, such as biostatistics and basic science, can be instrumental in facilitating research education and ultimate success. Once a research institution is selected, the lecturer emphasized the importance of finding the right project. The project must be of interest to fellow, faculty mentor and it must be feasible. It must fall into the “lifecycle” of a clinical project. This approach should be considered throughout one’s career. Moreover, Boorjian highlighted the critical importance of skill development—stating that ongoing acquired skills development (including biostatistics, clinical trial design, etc.) drives value.
He emphasized that the young urologic oncologist should understand the clinical trial process at one’s institution. Why? To better understand the process of trial design and conduct. Get involved; express interest and open up a network for further collaborations. And on the latter point, be present and network. In real time and via social media interaction and via peer-reviewed publications. TrialSite News likes to say “Life is a contact sport,” as is business and research.
The First Job
The urologic oncologist’s first job should be driven by one’s understanding of one’s self and what the individual provider/researcher seeks to achieve. Plan and prioritize and factor in research from the start. This leads to more clarity around the identification of institutions and organizations to potentially join. As the job search process commences, operate from a plan and rational for what is needed to achieve research goals as the young urologic oncologist navigates the process from interview to negotiation. Ensure important factors such as protected research time to start-up money or other resources are on the table—be able to defend whey these are needed for the researchers to be successful.
Clinical Trial Success: Three Requisites for the young urologic oncologist
These three requisites include 1) infrastructure 2) time and 3) mentorship. For the young urologic oncologist to be successful in a research-inclusive career, these three elements needs to be offered by the hiring institution.
Call to Action: Interested in reading more? Check out the source written by Christopher J.D. Wallis MD, PhD, FRCSC, Twitter: @WallisCJD from the 20th Annual Meeting of Society of Urologic Oncology (SUO), December 4-6, 2019, Washington, DC.
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