Traditionally, postdoctoral training programs largely have focused efforts within a single discipline or closely related fields. Yet, addressing the complex questions around cancer prevention and control increasingly requires the ability to work and communicate across disciplines in order to gain a perspective that encompasses the multilevel and multifaceted issues involved with this public health issue. To address this complexity, a transdisciplinary training program was implemented to cultivate the professional and scientific development of the postdoctoral fellows in Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine's Division of Public Health Sciences and NCI-funded centers (Community Networks Program Center and Transdisciplinary Research in Energetics in Cancer Center). Fellows are matched with primary mentors and assemble a multidisciplinary mentoring team. Structured programs support the transition of fellows from disciplinary trainees to independent transdisciplinary scholars and provide exposure to multiple disciplines. This article describes the training program, challenges encountered in implementation, solutions to those problems, and the metrics employed to evaluate the program's success. The goal of the program is to train emerging investigators in the conceptual bases, language, and practices that underlie a transdisciplinary perspective on cancer prevention and control research, to create an infrastructure for continued cross-discipline dialogue and collaboration, and to develop disseminable strategies for such training.
Keywords: Cancer prevention and control; Postdoctoral training; Transdisciplinary.