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15th Annual Fellows’ Training Symposium: Summary of Day One

, by Jennifer K. Loukissas, M.P.P.

The DCEG fellows gathered in the Joseph F. Fraumeni, Jr., M.D., Conference Room and via WebEx for the Annual Training Symposium. The theme was "It Takes a Village - The multifaceted approach to ending cancer as we know it.” The morning began with a series of presentations from a panel of distinguished scientific leaders, Monica Bertagnolli, M.D., Director, National Cancer Institute, Dr. Robert A. Winn, Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center, and Meredith Shiels, Ph.D., M.H.S., senior investigator in the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch. 

Part scientific presentation part trainee advice, Dr. Shiels gave an overview of her research and her career journey. She talked about her discoveries about the changing patterns in cancer risk in individuals with HIV and her descriptive epidemiology portfolio, which most recently was on display at the AACR Annual Meeting. Read more about her paper describing opportunities to achieve the Cancer Moonshot. 

Playing on the theme of ‘it takes a village,’ she spoke eloquently about the multiple villages that have supported her, from family to scientific mentors.

Dr. Winn’s presentation on structural factors that influence the inequities in cancer risk and outcomes generated a lot of discussion and interest;  he too offered advice based on his career journey. Dr. Bertagnolli gave a motivational and inspiring talk about the nature of leadership in cancer research. She emphasized her desire to support each of the trainees as they make their careers and help to discover the causes of cancer and the means of prevention. Following the presentations, the speakers answered questions from the fellows. 

The afternoon brought an opportunity for fellows to present posters on their research and reconnect. The symposium was hybrid, with about a third of participants attending in person. 

The 2023 DCEG Fellows' Symposium Planning Committee was comprised of Jacob Edelson, M.S., Patricia Erickson, M.P.H, Fangya Mao, Ph.D., Kyra J. W. Mendez, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., Erica S. Stephens, B.A., and Rohit Thakur, Ph.D., and supported by Dominiqua M. Griffin, Ph.D., N.C.C., Jackie Lavigne, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Cara Murray from the Office of Education.