Dr. Kate Elfer Uses a Training Rotation at NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health to Learn about Sex and Gender in Research
October 4, 2022
In June 2022, Dr. Kate Elfer, fourth-year fellow with CPFP and third-year fellow with Interagency Oncology Task Force (a program between FDA and NCI), started working with NIH’s Office of Research on…
In June 2022, Dr. Kate Elfer, fourth-year fellow with CPFP and third-year fellow with Interagency Oncology Task Force (a program between FDA and NCI), started working with NIH’s Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) through a part-time training rotation. A training rotation is a temporary position, part-time or full-time, where the fellow joins another laboratory, office, or agency to gain additional skills and knowledge not available through their primary appointment. Dr. Elfer works under the mentorship of Dr. Sarah Temkin (associate director for clinical research) and Dr. Elizabeth Barr (social and behavioral scientist administrator).
In their fourth year with CPFP, Dr. Elfer began considering how to best utilize their remaining time in the fellowship. Their work at the Food and Drug Administration involves researching methods of measuring performance between humans and artificial intelligence algorithms in digital pathology. “I realized that many of my research teams were very one-dimensional in composition and thinking—we’re engineers, mathematicians, and algorithm developers. Frequently, I’d attend a presentation for a diagnostic algorithm for breast, cervical, or other women’s diseases, and the development research team would be men. I knew there were other factors in the data and analysis to consider but was unsure how to identify and use them,” Dr. Elfer says. Through their training rotation with ORWH, they have received training in using sex as a biological variable and have initiated a research project to integrate sex and gender research within their current work. They also are integrated into ORWH’s Clinical Research Section by assisting with developing future research questions and participating in the office’s journal club.
In addition, Dr. Elfer has pursued experiences in the career development and education work of ORWH. These experiences included participation in NIH-wide working groups, such as the Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers, in which they would “learn by listening.” Through these meetings, they have learned about conducting portfolio analyses and constructing funding proposals. Dr. Elfer plans to use these skills to plan their future research program as they transition to an independent research position.
The CPFP is always looking for additional opportunities to connect our fellows with new professional experiences. If you are interested in offering a training rotation to a Cancer Prevention Fellow, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NCI Global Health Interest Group
July 5, 2022
In commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day, the NCI Fellow’s Global Health Interest Group (GHIG) will host a virtual panel on diversity, equity and inclusion in global health. This event…
In commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day, the NCI Fellow’s Global Health Interest Group (GHIG) will host a virtual panel on diversity, equity and inclusion in global health. This event aims to provide an opportunity for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) community to engage in dialogue with global health experts on specific actions that we can take and issues we should be sensitive to around equity in global health research and practice.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Global Health
Date: July 19th, 2022
Time: 9:00-10.30AM (EDT)
“It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.” -Nelson Mandela
Our panelists, Dr. Arachu Castro, Dr. Evelyn Gitau, Dr. Ravi Kannan and Dr. Laetitia Rispel and GHIG fellow moderators, will facilitate a discussion on actions that the broader public health community can take to enhance equity and justice in global health research and practice. Attendees will learn about the panelists’ career trajectories in global health, the role of early career scientists in advancing global health equity and the panelists’ perspectives on ways that NIH can continue its commitment to reducing inequities in collaboration with partners locally and globally. Through deep discussion, attendees will gain an understanding of the challenges scientists face when implementing global health equity initiatives.
The NCI Global Health Interest Group (GHIG), established in October 2021, is a fellow-led NCI interest group aimed at facilitating learning and networking among fellows interested in global cancer research and control with a particular emphasis on work in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The group is open to all fellows (postbaccalaureate, predoctoral, postdoctoral, and clinical), across NCI, with interests in global cancer research and control with an emphasis on work in LMICs.
GHIG was founded by CPFP fellows Drs. Waruiru Mburu and Margarita Correa-Mendez with the vision to promote collaboration and knowledge-sharing between fellows, across NCI divisions, engaged or interested in issues of global cancer research and control. Current group leadership includes CPFP fellow Dr. Percy Guzman. With the guidance of GHIG Advisors, Mishka Kohli Cira, M.P.H.; Sudha Sivaram, Dr.PH., M.P.H.: and Lymarie Maldonado-Báez, Ph.D., M.S.; the NCI GHIG supports its members’ professional development in topics such as scientific communication, leadership, and career planning. As well as collaborate with NCI-CGH to provide guidance and input on CGH-led research, trainings, and partnership activities for fellows. The GHIG organizes and facilitates trans-disciplinary global oncology seminars, trainings, and networking opportunities with experts in the field. The first global health equity virtual panel titled, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Global Health, will be held on July 19, 2022, and is open to the NIH-wide community.
To join the NCI Global Health Interest and/or to be added to the Listserv, please email NCIGHIG@NIH.GOV
Center for Cancer Research (CCR) Health Disparities Flex Award Winners Drs. Alexandra Harris and Brittany Lord
April 8, 2022
Cancer Prevention Fellows, Drs. Alexandra Harris and Brittany Lord, together with their mentors, Drs. Stefan Ambs and Gretchen Gierach, were awarded the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) Health…
Cancer Prevention Fellows, Drs. Alexandra Harris and Brittany Lord, together with their mentors, Drs. Stefan Ambs and Gretchen Gierach, were awarded the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) Health Disparities Flex Award for their proposal, “Investigation of the immune microenvironment landscape in tumor and normal breast tissues from women of African ancestry through an integrated single-cell and computational pathology approach.” The CCR Health Disparity Awards are a new category under the CCR Flex Program. This intramural funding mechanism funds high-risk, high-impact projects focused on reducing cancer health disparities. The team will use a multi-pronged approach to characterize the spatial transcriptomic architecture and chromatin accessibility at the single-cell level, both pre- and post-tumor development. The proposed work can offer insight into etiological factors that may contribute to both the development and the aggressive characteristics of breast tumors in women of African descent.
To learn more about the CCR Health Disparities Flex Award, visit here.
CPFP Fellow Dr. Kate Elfer Accepted into the 2022 Cohort of the Sallie Rosen Kaplan Fellowship for Postdoctoral Women Scientists in Cancer Research
March 14, 2022
Third year Cancer Prevention Fellow, Dr. Kate Elfer, was accepted into The Sallie Rosen Kaplan (SRK) Postdoctoral Fellowship for Women Scientists’ 2022 cohort. The SRK fellowship is a highly…
Third year Cancer Prevention Fellow, Dr. Kate Elfer, was accepted into The Sallie Rosen Kaplan (SRK) Postdoctoral Fellowship for Women Scientists’ 2022 cohort. The SRK fellowship is a highly competitive, unpaid, annual, one-year program that provides additional mentoring opportunities, networking, seminars, and workshops to help prepare NCI’s female and non-binary postdoctoral fellows for the competitive nature of the job market and help them to transition to independent research careers.
As someone who never had a non-male research mentor, Dr. Elfer is extremely grateful that the program has connected her with Dr. Romina Goldszmid (Earl Stadtman Investigator, CCR), a secondary mentor who she hopes can help her navigate some of the issues unique to being a woman in a male dominated field. Dr. Elfer remains thankful to her primary preceptor, Dr. Brandon Gallas (FDA/CDRH/OSEL/DIDSR), for giving her the time and space to grow as a researcher by applying to the SRK program.
The SRK program’s goal to assist women and nonbinary postdocs on their path to independence was particularly meaningful to Dr. Elfer, who saw this program as an opportunity to ready herself for her transition to an independent research career. “Over the last year, I have established my research projects and what training and resources are available to me as a Cancer Prevention and Interagency Oncology Task Force fellow. I believe the SRK helps complete my training experience as a CPFP fellow by focusing on the “soft-skills” needed for success: emotional intelligence, leadership, self-reflection, goal identification, and building a support network. The SRK program provides the mentorship, the coaching, and the skills to achieve my dream of becoming a leader in STEM education.”
The 2022 cohort consists of twelve highly impressive women researchers, all sharing the common experiences of having confidence, drive, and passion impacted negatively solely based on their gender. Dr. Elfer believes the program is already helping them build up the skills and resources within themselves to fulfill their dreams.
To learn more about the 30-week SRK Fellowship, visit Cancer Training at the NCI.
Fellows Advisory Board Leaders Receive NCI Director’s Award
February 14, 2022
The annual NCI Director’s Awards recognize exceptional individual and group performance or special efforts in support of NCI’s biomedical research mission. This year at the NCI Director’s Awards…
The annual NCI Director’s Awards recognize exceptional individual and group performance or special efforts in support of NCI’s biomedical research mission. This year at the NCI Director’s Awards ceremony hosted on February 14, 2022, Cancer Prevention Fellows, Drs. Derek Brown, Alexandra Budenz, Ian Buller, Michelle Doose, Sydney O’Connor, Heather Platter, Esmeralda Ramírez-Peña, Naoise Synnott, and Jacqueline B. Vo were honored with NCI Director’s Emerging Leader Awards. This achievement was well-earned through their leadership of the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program’s (CPFP) Fellows Advisory Board (FAB) during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This FAB leadership group was nominated by CPFP’s Learning & Development Specialist, Ms. Ann Maxson, and CPFP’s Director, Dr. Lisa Signorello, for spearheading innovative opportunities for fellows to develop skills and community during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2020, as the NIH community transitioned to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this group of emerging leaders swiftly and selflessly volunteered to serve in leadership roles on the FAB. They were quick to recognize the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their fellow colleagues and to ramp up activities to serve them. They developed strategic programming for building virtual community and advocating for the needs of the fellows, for advancing the fellows’ scientific and professional development, and for promoting their professional networking. In these efforts, they cumulatively hosted dozens of innovative events that aimed to offset and ease the pandemic’s effects on fellows. They served as exemplary role models as they motivated and empowered NCI trainees to achieve and connect during a time of great uncertainty. Their empathy, vision, and commitment to their colleagues was a true demonstration of their outstanding leadership abilities.