The Ovarian Cancer Academy 2015-2020: A Team-Based Science Approach

Principal Investigator: MAIHLE, NITA J
Program: OCRP
Proposal Number: OC140582
Award Number: W81XWH-15-1-0428
Funding Mechanism: Ovarian Cancer Academy Dean and Assistant Dean (Leadership) Award
Partnering Awards: OC140582P1
Award Amount: $911,600.00


In this application, one scientist, Nita J. Maihle, Ph.D., and one physician-scientist, Douglas A. Levine, M.D., who have highly synergistic skill sets propose to participate as a new Dean and Assistant Dean, respectively, for the Ovarian Cancer Research Program-sponsored Ovarian Cancer Academy. They propose training activities and curricula that will help Early Career Investigators (ECIs) develop defined priorities and effective ways for achieving those priorities; help ECIs appreciate and experience the value of "team-based science"; and help ECIs find ways to value and integrate the ideas and energy of consumer advocates into the ovarian cancer research process. We propose to train ECIs how to communicate these new ways of conducting ovarian cancer research to their peers, including to the broader ovarian cancer research community, as well as to future generations of ovarian cancer investigators, through formal leadership training. Finally, with the help of experts in program evaluation (Dr. Lara Stepleman, Co-I; Co-Director GRU Education Innovation Institute), we propose to institute methods of both trainee and program evaluation at this early stage in the development of this virtual Academy -- to not only document the potential benefits of this new way of approaching investigator training, but also to generate the data necessary to continuously shape the future of this Academy into the most high-impact training program it can be. To achieve these goals we specifically propose to:

1. Facilitate communication and collaboration among all of the ECIs, their designated mentors, and the ovarian cancer research and patient advocacy communities.

2. (A) Design and implement a curriculum to foster the scientific maturation of ECIs, and (B) develop and administer a leadership curriculum that will promote not only the professional success of ECIs, but also ideals such as respect for and cooperation among diverse scientists and consumers to forge a new culture within the ovarian cancer research community that overcomes barriers such as its exclusivity, small size, fragmentation, and narrow scope.

3. Develop and measure specific metrics of ECI career progression to determine the success of this training program in promoting sustained contributions to the field of ovarian cancer research and to improved patient care. The results of these program evaluation studies will be used to continuously improve the curriculum and methods used in this Academy.

By achieving these aims, Academy ECIs will have improved their knowledge of best practices in running and funding a productive research laboratory and will have developed a roadmap for the next phase of their career. They will have developed an appropriate mentorship team to guide them during next phase of their career, and they will have an increased understanding of what it is to be a good mentor themselves. They will have developed a greater appreciation of the benefits of team-based science approaches and will have a commitment to conducting truly transformative research that has the greatest potential to impact the care and treatment of ovarian cancer patients. They will have improved their collaborative research skills and will have experienced the important role that consumer advocates can play in the research process. They will have an expanded appreciation of the scope of funding sources available to support ovarian cancer research. They will be expert written and oral communicators -- both within their profession and to the public. They will be experts in setting priorities and time management, and they will find personal satisfaction in their work, based on their scientific and career progress, the successful establishment of productive professional relationships, and their ability to maintain a reasonable work/life balance. In sum, they will be outstanding leaders for and ambassadors within the ovarian cancer research community. Finally, the Academy as a whole will be more visible to both the public and within the professional ovarian cancer community because of the development of an external facing Website as well as improved programs to promote outreach, as well as public and professional education. Through these aims, ECIs will become "change agents" who will work together to transform the ovarian cancer research community into an engine that will "go beyond a cure for ovarian cancer."