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Fellowship in cancer prevention and control

The fellowship in cancer prevention and control is an NCI-funded T32 postdoctoral training program at VCU Massey Cancer Center that will equip trainees to become future leaders in cancer prevention and control (CPC).

This two-year training program is individually tailored and multidisciplinary. It offers a core curriculum in the science and practice of conducting CPC research, individualized training opportunities and mentorship through research experience. Areas of research broadly include behavioral cancer prevention and control and health services/outcomes research.

Specific opportunities include (but are not limited to):

  • Cancer communication, including the use of social media and digital/mobile health
  • Cancer health disparities
  • Cancer health care economics
  • Cancer survivorship and outcomes research
  • Community-engaged research
  • Health behavior research, tobacco control and cancer screening

We are looking to fill three postdoctoral positions immediately, starting fall 2018.

Application requirements

Candidate should have a Ph.D., M.D. or M.D./Ph.D. by the start of the fellowship and a commitment to a career as a cancer prevention and control researcher. In addition, candidate should have demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff and student environment or commitment to do so as a postdoc at VCU. Candidate MUST have a green card or U.S. citizenship.

Please submit the following in support of your application:

  • A recent curriculum vitae including previous research experience, both didactic and practical
  • A personal statement describing the reason for seeking research training, specific research interests and how the fellowship will contribute to future career plans in cancer prevention
  • At least two letters of recommendation, including one from a training director or doctoral committee chairperson/advisor

Application review will begin immediately and continue until the positions are filled.

Interested candidates should complete the online application at: https://www.vcujobs.com/postings/80000. Please include CV, cover letter and three references.

For information or questions, email the program director:
Bernard Fuemmeler, Ph.D., M.P.H., at Bernard.Fuemmeler@vcuhealth.org.


HeadshotMoriah P. Bellissimo, Ph.D.

Moriah P. Bellissimo, Ph.D. is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in health sciences from Georgia State University and a Ph.D. in nutrition and health sciences from Emory University. Her research focuses on understanding the role of diet, exercise, and metabolism on body composition and fat distribution, which strongly influence metabolic disease development. Prior to joining the NCI-funded T32 program at VCU’s Massey Cancer Center, she earned a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and food science from Georgia Southern University where she was a member of the indoor volleyball team. She also completed a dietetic internship and master’s degree at Georgia State University while investigating relationships between dietary intake and energy balance with body composition in professional athletes. Her initial doctoral training explored implementing a United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and evaluating the effectiveness of recreational sports for cardiovascular risk reduction. She gained extensive training in clinical and translational nutrition research through her dissertation work. This project focused on clinical investigations in working adults and patients with cystic fibrosis linking body composition and fat distribution with nutritional and bioenergetic metabolism. Her research integrates state-of-the-art techniques such as high-resolution metabolomics, extracellular flux analysis, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy to profile metabolism related to health outcomes. Under the mentorship of Dr. Greg Hundley at the Pauley Heart Center, she will study the role of nutrition and body composition on metabolism in individuals undergoing cancer treatment and cancer survivors. The goal of this work is to inform targeted, nutrition-focused therapies that promote health and mitigate cardiovascular risk in this population.


HeadshotDevon C. Freudenberger, M.D.

Devon C. Freudenberger, M.D. is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the NCI-Funded T32 Cancer Prevention and Control Research Training Program in the Department of Surgical Oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center. Dr. Freudenberger’s primary clinical and research interests are in intra-abdominal malignancies. Particularly, Dr. Freudenberger is interested in intra-abdominal carcinomatosis, a malignant process where cancer disseminates throughout the abdomen, and its treatment, cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal extracorporeal chemotherapy (CRS/HIPEC). She is interested in the outcomes and health disparities associated with the disease and treatment. She is under the guidance of Dr. Jose Trevino, Surgeon-in-Chief of the Massey Cancer Center, and Dr. Bernard Fuemmeler. Dr. Freudenberger received her medical degree from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and is completing her general surgery residency at VCU Health.


HeadshotCarrie A. Miller, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Carrie A. Miller, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a fellow in the NCI-funded T32 postdoctoral training program in cancer prevention and control research at VCU Massey Cancer Center. Miller recently completed her Ph.D. in social and behavioral sciences at the VCU School of Medicine. Her dissertation was facilitated by a Susan G. Komen predoctoral training fellowship and focused on the effects of providing average risk adults with colorectal cancer risk assessment results. She also obtained a Master of Public Health degree from VCU in 2013. As part of her master's program, Miller assisted with an evaluation of the colorectal cancer screening behaviors among community-dwelling residents of southeast Virginia and spent one month in South Africa helping to conduct a community-engaged research project. She has been honing her research skills for nearly two decades. Prior to attending graduate school, she worked in a variety of clinical research roles in the academic and private sectors.

Miller's overarching research interests involve the intersection of health and social, behavioral and psychological factors. She is particularly interested in health promotion and preventive services within cancer prevention and control. She is currently working with Bernard Fuemmeler and Sunny Kim on projects related to cancer communications, social media and mobile/digital health. She looks forward to contributing her expertise to these projects and enhancing her research skills and professional repertoire as a T32 CPC fellow.


HeadshotJean Reading, M.A.

Jean Reading, M.A., is a predoctoral fellow in the NCI-funded T32 training program in cancer prevention and control at VCU Massey Cancer Center, mentored by Jessica LaRose, Ph.D. Broadly, her research interests include the design and implementation of lifestyle interventions for the prevention and treatment of obesity. Within that overarching area of interest, she is specifically interested in the dissemination of evidence-based lifestyle interventions into real-world settings—including the use of technology and implementation in clinical care settings. Reading has published a systematic review of physician trainings related to weight loss communication with patients; examined gender differences in exercise preferences among young adults within the context of weight control programs; and is conducting a secondary data analysis of young men and women’s performance in a technology-driven behavioral weight loss trial. Her dissertation involves a pilot randomized clinical trial to determine the preliminary efficacy and feasibility of a low touch lifestyle intervention to reduce adiposity among young men, coupled with semi-structured interviews to refine the recruitment and intervention protocol.

Reading received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2012) and a Master of Arts degree in Applied Psychological Research (2014) from Pennsylvania State University. Prior to beginning her doctoral training, she worked as a Research Project Manager at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine in the Department of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine. Reading began her doctoral training in the Department of Health Behavior and Policy in 2016, and is currently a doctoral candidate.


Alumni

HeadshotElizabeth L. Adams, Ph.D.

Elizabeth L. Adams, Ph.D., was a fellow in the NCI-funded T32 postdoctoral training program in cancer prevention and control research at VCU Massey Cancer Center. Her primary research interest included the development and dissemination of family-based interventions designed to prevent childhood obesity. She was particularly interested in how parenting practices shape multiple health behaviors (physical activity, eating, sleep patterns) in childhood and how these health behaviors impact weight trajectories across development. She worked with Massey researcher Melanie Bean in the Healthy Lifestyles Center at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU on projects related to the school food environment on children’s dietary intake and adolescent obesity treatment interventions. Prior to coming to VCU, Adams completed her Ph.D. in nutritional sciences at the Pennsylvania State University. During her doctoral training, she received a USDA-funded seed grant to explore within-family parent and infant sleep patterns on feeding practices during early infancy. Adams also earned a B.S. in exercise physiology from the University of Florida in 2013 and an M.S. in kinesiology from the University of Connecticut in 2015.

Current status: Elizabeth Adams, Ph.D. is currently assistant professor at the University of South Carolina, School of Public Health.


HeadshotKerri-Anne Mitchell, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Kerri-Anne Mitchell, Ph.D., M.P.H. was a fellow in the NCI-funded T32 postdoctoral training program at VCU Massey Cancer. Her core research interests included patient-centered care and communication, cancer disparities, and outcomes research and evaluation. Under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Brown, she explored how novel patient engagement and patient-provider communication strategies can be used to identify and incorporate patient priorities into cancer care decision-making. Dr. Mitchell’s goal was to improve the efficacy and timeliness of the implementation of patient priorities leading to improved care outcomes among vulnerable patient groups. She received her doctorate in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health) School of Public Health in 2018 with minors in Biostatistics and Healthcare Management. While pursuing her doctorate she engaged in both independent and collaborative research projects at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center related to understanding patients’ perspectives of their care and defining patient-centered care for cancer patients. At UT Health, she contributed to projects focused on promoting cancer screening in minority populations and employee wellness.

Dr. Mitchell received her Master of Public Health in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from Florida International University in 2010 and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis in 2007. She hopes that her work will help to inform policy and practice changes that improve providers’ ability to comprehensively support cancer patients with varying needs and values, and as a result improve their care experiences and outcomes.

Current status: Kerri-Anne Mitchell, Ph.D., M.P.H., is currently assistant professor at Austin College Public Health Program.


HeadshotBonny Morris, R.N., M.S.P.H.

Bonny Morris, R.N., M.S.P.H., was a fellow in the NCI-funded T32 training program in cancer prevention and control at VCU Massey Cancer Center, mentored by Bernard Fuemmeler, Ph.D, M.P.H. Her primary research interests are in rural cancer control and care delivery. As a pre-doctoral fellow, Morris has examined rural cancer survivorship and care delivery strategies through qualitative studies on patient portal use, a systematic literature review of health technology use in rural populations, semi-structured interviews and qualitative analysis of treatment discontinuation in rural and urban breast cancer survivors, and a secondary analysis of electronic medical records and health claims data examining radiation treatment non-adherence in rural and urban cancer patients. Her dissertation involves a mixed methods approach to understanding treatment non-adherence among rural cancer survivors.

Morris received a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007. She received a Master of Science in Public Health degree jointly from the Departments of Epidemiology and Environmental and Occupational Health at Emory University in 2009, where she was a NIOSH fellow and trained at the American Cancer Society. As a cancer epidemiologist, she pursued a career at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she was assistant director for the NC-LA Prostate Cancer Consortium. As part of her career development plan to pursue research in cancer control and care delivery, she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from George Washington University in 2011 and became credentialed as a registered nurse and a certified Oncology Nurse Navigator. She serves as chief executive officer of the non-profit organization Take the Fight to Cancer. Morris began her graduate studies in the Health Behavior and Policy department at VCU in 2016.

Current status: Bonny Morris, R.N., M.S.P.H., was awarded a prestigious NCI F99/K00 predoctoral to postdoctoral fellow transition award, Doctoral Candidate, Health Behavior and Policy, VCU.


HeadshotNicole Nicksic, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Nicole Nicksic, Ph.D., M.P.H., was a fellow in the NCI-funded T32 postdoctoral training program in cancer prevention and control at VCU Massey Cancer Center. Nicksic’s primary research interests are in tobacco prevention and control. She is particularly interested in electronic cigarette advertising and use behaviors among youth. She is currently working with Andrew Barnes and Thomas Eissenberg on projects related to determinants of youth tobacco behaviors amenable to federal and state tobacco regulations, as well as the influence of regulatory environments on youth tobacco use. Nicksic earned her B.S. in clinical laboratory science and sociology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 2008. She worked as a medical technologist in a hospital laboratory in Milwaukee, WI, before beginning her graduate studies in epidemiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at the Austin campus to earn a M.P.H. in 2013 and Ph.D. in 2016.

Current status: Nicole Nicksic, Ph.D., M.P.H., is currently research director of Biostatistics, Cancer Support Community, Philadelphia, PA.


HeadshotArnethea L. Sutton, Ph.D.

Arnethea L. Sutton, Ph.D., was a fellow in the NCI-funded T32 postdoctoral training program in cancer prevention and control at VCU Massey Cancer Center. Sutton's primary research interests were in cancer disparities, cancer genetics, survivorship and community engaged-research. She was particularly interested in developing interventions that seek to improve the quality of life of Black cancer survivors. She worked with Vanessa B. Sheppard on projects related to endocrine therapy initiation and persistence in breast cancer survivors, genetic cancer risk assessment uptake in Black and Latina women, and male cancer survivors. Sutton received a B.S. in clinical laboratory sciences from VCU in 2006, an M.S. in clinical laboratory sciences from VCU in 2006, and a Ph.D. in health-related sciences from VCU in 2017.

Current status: Arnethea Sutton, Ph.D. was awarded a prestigious K99/R00 award and is currently working with. Greg Hundley, M.D. and Vanessa Sheppard, Ph.D.


HeadshotSuzanne  Ameringer, Ph.D., R.N.
Associate professor, Family and Community Health Nursing, School of Nursing
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HeadshotKyungeh An, Ph.D., R.N.
Associate professor, Adult Health and Nursing Systems, School of Nursing
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HeadshotDipankar Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D.
Associate professor, Biostatistics, School of Medicine
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HeadshotAndrew J. Barnes, Ph.D.
Associate professor, Health Behavior and Policy, School of Medicine
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HeadshotMelanie Bean, Ph.D.
Assistant professor, Pediatrics, School of Medicine
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HeadshotAlison B. Breland, Ph.D.
Assistant professor & affiliate, Psychology, College of Humanities and Sciences
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HeadshotRichard Brown, Ph.D.
Associate professor, Social and Behavioral Health, School of Medicine
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HeadshotDarlene H. Brunzell, Ph.D.
Associate professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Medicine
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HeadshotJ. Brian Cassel, Ph.D.
Associate professor, Internal Medicine, Hematology-Oncology, School of Medicine
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HeadshotAskar Chukmaitov, M.D, Ph.D., M.P.A.
Associate professor, Health Behavior and Policy, School of Medicine
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HeadshotCaroline  Cobb, Ph.D.
Assistant professor, Psychology, College of Humanities and Sciences
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HeadshotBassam Dahman, M.S., Ph.D.
Associate professor, Health Behavior and Policy, School of Medicine
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HeadshotM. Imad Damaj, Ph.D.
Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Medicine
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HeadshotThomas E. Eissenberg, Ph.D.
Professor, Psychology, College of Humanities and Sciences
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HeadshotBernard F. Fuemmeler, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Professor, Health Behavior and Policy, School of Medicine
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HeadshotMignonne C. Guy, Ph.D.
Assistant professor, African American Studies, College of Humanities and Sciences
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HeadshotNao Hagiwara, Ph.D.
Associate professor, Psychology, College of Humanities and Sciences
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Rashelle Hayes, Ph.D.
Associate professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine
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HeadshotWilliam Greg Hundley, M.D.
Professor, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, School of Medicine
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HeadshotAlexander Krist, M.P.H., M.D.
Professor, Family Medicine and Population Health, School of Medicine
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HeadshotJessica LaRose, Ph.D.
Associate professor, Social and Behavioral Health, School of Medicine
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HeadshotHermine H. Maes, Ph.D.
Associate professor, Human and Molecular Genetics, School of Medicine
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HeadshotSuzanne Mazzeo, Ph.D.
Professor, Psychology, College of Humanities and Science
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HeadshotDonna McClish, Ph.D.
Professor, Biostatistics, School of Medicine
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HeadshotMaghboeba Mosavel, Ph.D.
Associate professor, Social and Behavioral Health, School of Medicine
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HeadshotS. Patrick Nana-Sinkam, M.D.
Professor and division chair, Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine, Internal Medicine, School of Medicine
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HeadshotJohn Quillin, Ph.D., M.P.H., C.G.C.
Assistant professor, Human and Molecular Genetics, VCU School of Medicine
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HeadshotJennifer M. Rohan, Ph.D., L.C.P.
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine


HeadshotVanessa B. Sheppard, Ph.D.
Professor and chair, Health Behavior and Policy, School of Medicine
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HeadshotShumei Sun, Ph.D.
Professor and chair, Biostatistics, School of Medicine
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HeadshotTheresa Swift- Scanlan, Ph.D., R.N.
Associate professor, Adult Health and Nursing Systems, School of Nursing
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HeadshotMaria Thomson, Ph.D.
Assistant professor, Social and Behavioral Health, School of Medicine
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HeadshotDavid C. Wheeler, M.P.H., Ph.D.
Assistant professor, Biostatistics, School of Medicine
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HeadshotMarcia Winter, Ph.D.
Assistant professor, Psychology, College of Humanities and Sciences
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HeadshotHua Zhao , Ph.D.
Professor, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, School of Medicine
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