Leadership Roles and Activities Among Alumni Receiving Postdoctoral Fellowship Training in Cancer Prevention.

Author(s): Nelson DE,  Faupel-Badger JM,  Izmirlian G

Journal: J Cancer Educ

Date: 2019 Jun

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): BRG, OD

PubMed ID: 29492801

PMC ID: not available

Abstract: This study was conducted in 2016-2017 to better understand formal and informal leadership roles and activities of alumni from postdoctoral research training programs in cancer prevention. Data were obtained from surveys of 254 employed scientists who completed cancer prevention postdoctoral training within the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, or at US research institutions through NCI-sponsored National Research Service Award (NRSA) individual postdoctoral fellowship (F32) grants, from 1987 to 2011. Fifteen questions categorized under Organizational Leadership, Research Leadership, Professional Society/Conference Leadership, and Broader Scientific/Health Community Leadership domains were analyzed. About 75% of respondents had at least one organizational leadership role or activity during their careers, and 13-34% reported some type of research, professional society/conference, or broader scientific/health community leadership within the past 5 years. Characteristics independently associated with leadership from regression models were being in earlier postdoctoral cohorts (8 items, range for statistically significant ORs = 2.8 to 10.8) and employment sector (8 items, range for statistically significant ORs = 0.4 to 11.7). Scientists whose race/ethnicity was other than white were less likely to report organizational leadership or management responsibilities (OR = 0.4, 95% CI 0.2-0.9). Here, many alumni from NCI-supported cancer prevention postdoctoral programs were involved in leadership, with postdoctoral cohort and employment sector being the factors most often associated with leadership roles and activities. Currently, there is relatively little research on leadership roles of biomedical scientists in general, or in cancer prevention specifically. This study begins to address this gap and provide a basis for more extensive studies of leadership roles and training of scientists.