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Kyle Clark, a second-year medical student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently returned from the Cancer in Under-Privileged, Indigent, or Disadvantaged (CUPID) Summer Translational Oncology Program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
The program accepts upcoming second-year medical students from across the country. For seven weeks, students work in an intensive, structured, laboratory-based research environment and present their research in a symposium at the end of the program.
“I was excited to be selected by Johns Hopkins and to participate in the program during the summer,” Clark said.
Clark’s research focused on selecting appropriate patients in the pediatric oncology unit for referral to genetics. Clark said the literature shows that about 10 percent of pediatric oncology patients have an underlying genetic predisposition for their cancer. “Not only that, it turns out half of those patients are not noticed by the treating physician,” he said. “I researched how Johns Hopkins can improve genetic referral for this cancer population.”
Clark and fellow student researchers attended daily lectures on cancer and cancer disparities over the course of the program. “I learned many things about cancer and how cancer treatment and management can possibly improve the lives of cancer patients,” Clark said.
Clark’s favorite experience while in the program was a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with members of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS). During the meeting, Clark and fellow students met with cancer survivors to hear their stories and experiences. They also met with representatives at the federal level, which allowed Clark to meet with Representative Bradley Byrne of Alabama’s first congressional district, as well as Senators Luther Strange and Richard Shelby of Alabama.
Clark recommends the program to any medical student interested in research and oncology. “It was a great experience, and I learned so much.”
For more information about CUPID, click here.
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