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. 2015 Dec 14;10(12):e0144880.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144880. eCollection 2015.

Independent Association of Postdoctoral Training With Subsequent Careers in Cancer Prevention

Free PMC article

Independent Association of Postdoctoral Training With Subsequent Careers in Cancer Prevention

Jessica M Faupel-Badger et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article


The purpose of this study was to examine the career paths of alumni from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program (CPFP), a structured in-house postdoctoral training program of 3-4 years duration, and specifically what proportion of the alumni were currently performing cancer prevention-related activities. The analyses here included 119 CPFP alumni and 85 unsuccessful CPFP applicants, all of whom completed postdoctoral training between 1987-2011 and are currently employed. Postdoctoral training experiences and current career outcomes data were collected via online surveys. Differences between groups were assessed using chi-square and Fisher's exact test p-values and subsequent regression analyses adjusted for differences between the groups. Compared to 15.3% of unsuccessful CPFP applicants, 52.1% of CPFP alumni (odds ratio [OR] = 4.99, 95% confidence interval [95% CI): 1.91-13.0) were currently spending the majority of their time working in cancer prevention. Among those doing any cancer prevention-focused work, 54.3% of CPFP alumni spent the majority of their time performing cancer prevention research activities when compared to 25.5% of unsuccessful applicants (OR = 4.26, 95% CI: 1.38-13.2). In addition to the independent effect of the NCI CPFP, scientific discipline, and employment sector were also associated with currently working in cancer prevention and involvement in cancer prevention research-related activities. These results from a structured postdoctoral training program are relevant not only to the cancer prevention community but also to those interested in evaluating alignment of postdoctoral training programs with available and desired career paths more broadly.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: K. Raue, ST, AM, and MS are employees of Westat, Inc. This does not alter the authors' adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

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Grant support

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health Evaluation Set-Aside Program. NIH Staff provided input on the survey questions but did not participate in the collection of data. Westat staff analyzed the data and provided an anonymized dataset to NIH staff for regression analysis.