T32 Clinical Cancer Epidemiology Training Program (CCETP)


The Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics (DBEI) and the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC), in collaboration with the Division of Hematology-Oncology of the Department of Medicine and the Division of Oncology of the Department of Pediatrics, all at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM), propose to continue an innovative, rigorous, and successful two- to three-year training program for investigators in cancer clinical epidemiology.

Objectives of the program 

  1. Train clinicians to be rigorous, independent academic investigators able to use a wide range of epidemiological methods to address clinical cancer research questions using a variety of designs.
  2. Provide closely mentored research experiences with faculty preceptors in clinical epidemiology, biostatistics, and cancer.
  3. Strengthen the links between traditional epidemiology and cancer research. Didactic training is provided through the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology (MSCE) program which provides regular feedback to the directors of the training program (CCETP) to maximize the progress of each fellow. The CCEB has been actively involved in teaching and research focused on clinically-oriented and community-based epidemiology and biostatistics since 1978. Learn more about the Cancer Research Training and Education at Abramson Cancer Center at Penn Medicine.

The focus of the program

The two-year training program is focused on the completion of a rigorous mentored research thesis project. The thesis is based on the long-term research interests of the fellow, designed in a grant proposal format, executed, analyzed, and written up as first author manuscript(s). The principal concepts necessary for rigorous research are taught in courses of fundamental epidemiological methods, cancer and molecular epidemiology, and biostatistics, elective courses relevant to the trainees’ methodologic interests; journal clubs and clinical research conferences conducted by participating faculty, the DBEI, ACC, and adult and pediatric oncology divisions; extensive independent readings; and instruction in the responsible conduct of research. 

Strengths of the program 

  1. The history of successful research training programs in the DBEI, ACC, and adult and pediatric oncology divisions, including this training program.
  2. The collaborative links among faculty with interests in clinical research in cancer.
  3. The comprehensive course offerings and research programs that are available to trainees.
  4. An extensive set of experienced faculty with successful training records. In addition, numerous existing large databases that can be used for research projects and training; a broad array of specialized analytic capabilities available for clinical studies employing methods of clinical epidemiology, and the commitment of faculty to collaborative research and training, combine to provide an ideal environment for this training program.

Finally, the PSOM promotes an academic environment in which basic and clinical research is encouraged and viewed as attractive career paths for physicians.

Who should apply?

The program will consider physicians, nurse investigators, and graduates of veterinary, dental, nutrition, and clinical psychology programs. Applicants who have shown a research interest and commitment to an academic career in cancer clinical epidemiology are most competitive for admission. Cancer clinical epidemiology fellowships are awarded only to those who have been approved by the Program Directors and have been accepted for admission into the MSCE program.

Penn places a high value on diversity and seeks talented students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds, including individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Penn does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, or status as a disabled or Vietnam Era veteran in the administration of its educational policies or any other University administered program. Women, minorities, the disabled, and the disadvantaged are especially encouraged to apply to Penn’s educational training programs, including those managed by the DBEI including the CCETP.

Program Directors

karen glanz penn Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH

Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH is George A. Weiss University Professor, Professor of Epidemiology and Nursing, Director of the UPenn Prevention Research Center and the Center for Health Behavior Research, and a CCEB Senior Scholar. She is a behavioral and social epidemiologist and has served as MPI for the CCETP since 2019.  Her research program focuses on cancer prevention and control, and cuts across key conceptual and methodological areas including applying theories of health behavior, testing interventions and strategies to increase their implementation in practice, and new health communication technologies. Current and recent cancer-related research focuses on skin cancer prevention, colorectal cancer screening, and reducing disparities in screening and cancer clinical trials.  Dr. Glanz is currently on the NIH Council of Councils Working Group on Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (BSSR) Integration.  She served on the NHLBI Advisory Council (2017-2021) and was on the federally-appointed Task Force on Community Preventive Services for 10 years. Her scholarly contributions consist of more than 500 journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Glanz is senior editor of Health Behavior: Theory, Research, and Practice (Wiley/Jossey-Bass Inc.), a widely used text now in its fifth edition. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2013. Dr. Glanz is the PI of an active R01 and of a large foundation-funded community trial, in addition to her leadership roles in the NCI-designated Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) and the NIH/NCATS-funded Penn-CHOP CTSA.

In addition to her research experience, she serves as Associate Director for Community-Engaged Research, and Co-Leader of the Cancer Control Program at the ACC. She is also Director of the Community Engagement and Research Core (CEAR Core) of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT). She has served as a research mentor for over 30 pre- and postdoctoral trainees and was previously PI on an NCI-funded R25 training grant.

Selected Publications

richard aplenc penn Richard Aplenc, MD, PhD, MSCE

Richard Aplenc, MD, PhD, MSCE is the Mai and Harry West Chair in Pediatric Research and Professor of Pediatrics with a secondary appointment in Epidemiology. He is the Chief Clinical Research Officer at CHOP and former Section Chief of Hematologic Malignancies, a CCEB Senior Scholar, ACC member, and a senior member of the Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness at CHOP. Dr. Aplenc also is a graduate of the CCETP and a practicing pediatric oncologist. As the Chief Clinical Research Officer at CHOP, he is responsible for the administrative infrastructure supporting CHOP-based DBEI Faculty in Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Informatics.  Dr. Aplenc has several research areas of interest including cardio-oncology, methodological improvements in adverse event reporting on COG Phase III clinical trials, clinical epidemiology studies in pediatric acute leukemia, and the development of new chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) therapies for pediatric AML. In addition, Dr. Aplenc led the most recently completed Phase III trial for children with AML in the COG and serves as the Vice-Chair of the COG AML Committee. Dr. Aplenc’s funding includes an R01-equivalent on a Leukemia Lymphoma SPORE based on a CD38 directed (CAR) co-developed by Dr. Aplenc and Dr. Saar Gill and a Pennsylvania Department of Health award to identify and remediate disparities in pediatric acute leukemia outcomes. Dr. Aplenc has successfully mentored over 65 pre- and postdoctoral trainees.

Selected Publications

Diversity Advisor

guevara penn James Guevara, MD, MPH

James P. Guevara, MD, MPH will serve as Diversity Advisor to the CCETP. He will review and advise on all training program recruitment activities to ensure that our commitment to diversity translates into a diverse body of trainees. He is Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology, Director of Interdisciplinary Initiatives at PolicyLab: Center to Bridge Research, Practice, & Policy at CHOP, and the Division of Epidemiology Diversity advisor in the DBEI. He is an active clinical researcher and directs a graduate-level course on systematic reviews and meta-analysis and a medical school course on clinical decision-making. He also co-directs EPID 584: Health Disparities Research, a new elective course available to CCETP trainees. His research interests include the organization, financing, and delivery of health care services to children with developmental and behavioral disabilities. He was the PI on a New Connections grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that aimed to identify faculty diversity programs targeted at URM faculty and assess the association between diversity programs and URM representation at U.S. medical schools. He is currently PI an R01 focused on reducing disparities in pediatric care (R01MD011598).

Select Publications

Program Mentors

Core faculty members participating in the CCETP are the directors and the Diversity Advisor. Other faculty members contribute as mentors, content experts, biostatisticians, and/or course directors, and serve as members of the trainees’ mentoring teams.

View all of the Mentors, Content Experts & Biostatisticians


Application Procedure:

How to Apply

For complete instructions, please visit https://www.cceb.med.upenn.edu/admissions

  1. Complete the MSCE Inquiry Form
    After receiving this completed form, the CCEB Educational Programs Office may request additional information regarding an applicant’s credentials.
  2. Cursory Review
    The online inquiry form will be reviewed by members of the Admission Committee. Those who succeed in the cursory review will receive a full application.
  3. Complete and Submit an Application
    • Supporting documents required:
      • Curriculum vitae
      • Letters of recommendation (three)
      • Cover Letter

           The letter should include:

        1. Career objectives
        2. Prior research experience
        3. Area of interest within cancer clinical epidemiology
        4. Training goals for the T32 fellowship 
        5. Proposed mentor (if decided) from the list of existing mentors. 
      • Standardized test scores
        • Graduate Record Exam (GRE), Medical Colleges Admissions Test (MCAT) or Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) scores are required. Prospective students who have completed graduate or professional degrees are not exempt from these requirements.
        • Applicants for whom English is a second language and who have not completed a degree in an English-speaking university must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Exam. TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the date taken.
      • Official Transcripts
        Applicants must submit official transcripts from all undergraduate, graduate and professional schools they have attended.
  4. Complete the Interview Process
    Once all required materials have been received, applicants will be contacted to arrange interviews with two or more epidemiology faculty members.
  5. Application Review
    The Admissions Committee will review applications after interviews have been completed. Applicants can expect to receive admission decisions on or before March 31.

Applications should be submitted as a SINGLE PDF file to: