Over the last few years, the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Jefferson Health (SKCC) has successfully integrated population science — a field of research focused on improving public health on a broad scale — into its existing five cancer research programs through the creation of a mechanism known as TIPS, short for Transdisciplinary Integration of Population Science. How is TIPS significant for the field of cancer research?
Whereas other National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers often have a stand-alone population science research program, TIPS successfully integrates population scientists across the SKCC’s current research programs, increasing collaboration among clinical, basic, and population science researchers. These scientific collaborations, happening inside and outside of the lab, hold the potential to maximize efforts to reduce disease risk, incidence, and death from cancer on both a local and national scale.
TIPS is led by Grace Lu-Yao, PhD, Associate Director of Population Science at the SKCC and a well-recognized cancer epidemiologist with expertise in outcomes research. Her research findings on cancer surveillance, screening, and treatment for prostate cancer have provided benchmark references that facilitate decision-making in cancer treatment.
TIPS investigators — including faculty members from Jefferson as well as SKCC consortium member Drexel University — primarily identify as population scientists or engage in population-based research alongside clinical and laboratory-based researchers and have a strong secondary focus in cancer risk, prevention, and/or control. TIPS investigators close the gap between discovery and the goals of accelerating cutting-edge population science and help build impactful community outreach/education interventions. TIPS also helps set SKCC-wide priorities for research centered on the Greater Philadelphia area, emphasizing disparities as well as genetic and behavioral factors influencing cancer risk.
In addition, TIPS members provide mentoring to a large number of medical students, pre-doctoral students, and postdoctoral fellows, helping the next generation of researchers in cancer health services research and outcomes research.
TIPS will be holding its annual retreat on Monday, September 17 at the Cira Centre in Philadelphia. This day-long retreat will feature various speakers and aims to create new avenues of collaboration for all those who attend.