The TCI Clinical Encounter Program for PhD Students in Cancer Biology: a Feasibility Pilot

Alexander M. Real, Jenny J. Lin, Janice L. Gabrilove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Clinical rotations are often not included in graduate-level cancer biology curricula; however, basic insight into clinical oncology is often crucial for developing translational research that addresses unmet needs with the potential to benefit cancer patients. We describe a needs assessment, design, implementation, and descriptive evaluation of an oncology-specific pilot clinical encounter program developed for PhD students in the Cancer Biology Training Area (CAB) in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) and Tisch Cancer Institute (TCI) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS). Prior to the development of this pilot program, CAB students, in years 2–5 + , were surveyed to determine their interest in a structured clinical experience. Seventeen out of thirty-one students responded (55%) to the survey. Of those seventeen respondents, fifteen (88.2%) expressed that exposure to cancer patients in the clinical setting would be useful for their pre-doctoral biomedical science and cancer biology training and indicated an interest in participating in the clinical encounter program. Based on these responses, a three-session clinical encounter pilot program was designed. Two separate cohorts of 5 students participated in this pilot program. During a formal debrief, following the clinical experience, students commented on the resilience of patients and the importance of research on clinical decision making, and reported that they found the experience motivational. Five out of 10 students responded (50%) to a post-program assessment survey; all five respondents answered that they would recommend the clinical encounter program to their peers. While limited in size and scope, this pilot TCI Clinical Encounter Program proved feasible and has the potential to enrich and inform the experience of PhD students pursing advanced degrees in a cancer biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-140
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Cancer biology
  • Clinical exposure
  • PhD training


Dive into the research topics of 'The TCI Clinical Encounter Program for PhD Students in Cancer Biology: a Feasibility Pilot'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this