As a Surgical Oncologist and researcher in the Department of Surgery, I deal on a daily basis with the life altering sequalae of a new cancer diagnosis and the struggles to find effective treatments. While progress has been made, new and innovative strategies are needed as we progress towards the daunting goal of curing the incurable. As an internationally renowned institution in research, clinical care and education, the University of Michigan is poised to not only make progress now, but train future leaders in advancing the cause. Ways to actively engage young people in medicine and research are paramount to our future success.
The way to make progress is not by focusing on the present or past but the future. As such, it is imperative that we encourage our brightest rising stars to consider a career in the sciences. This year, researchers and clinicians from the Rogel Cancer Center will host an event for area high school students and their families highlighting progress and unmet needs in the fight towards curing cancer. Featuring research talks, laboratory tours and interactive booths, the goals of the event are to educate our community about cancer related topics and inspire the next generation of researchers to join the fight.
For One Day Closer 2019, the Rogel Cancer Center invited high school students and their families from across Southeast Michigan to learn about the cutting edge of cancer care and research. 250 registrants participated in laboratory tours, interactive booths, and short research talks. We were also fortunate enough to hear the inspiring story of local cancer survivor, Riley Hafner. 100 volunteers from the Rogel Cancer Center and across the University of Michigan shared aspects of their expertise from DNA structure and practice sutures to single cell migration and nano particles.
Not only did students leave with a better understanding of the breadth of careers available in cancer care and research, but our volunteers were reinvigorated with the importance and impact of their work here at the Rogel Cancer Center. Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive and highlighted the importance of events like One Day Closer in ensuring that the future of cancer research looks bright.
Article by Timothy Frankel, MD and Elise Pfaltzgraff, PhD; Photos by Daniel Suhan.