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Session Formats

The scientific program for the Workshop consists of five educational formats to serve a variety of didactic needs:

  • Protocol Development Group Sessions are daily group (3-4 faculty and 7-9 students) sessions that allow each participant to developsa concept sheet for a clinical trial protocol and, through extensive mentoring, crafts the design and writing of the protocol before the end of the Workshop. These sessions constitute the core activity of the Workshop and allow participants to apply the lessons being learned in the didactic sessions to their own research and receive detailed critiques of their protocols from experienced clinical investigators.

  • Lecture Sessions focus on specific topics of interest to all participants. These sessions provide participants with an essential overview of the field and of the principles of design and conduct of high-quality clinical trials. Lectures provide a comprehensive overview of clinical research, including statistical methodologies, informed consent, genomics, immunologic endpoints, patient-reported outcomes, and investigator responsibilities.

  • Small Group Discussion and Special Interest Sessions on special topics such as laboratory correlates, cancer genomics, imaging endpoints in clinical trials, and measuring immunologic outcomes. These sessions cover topics that are either essential to the success of many different kinds of clinical trials or offer an opportunity for in-depth discussion on topics of special interest to clinical investigators. Attendance at each session will be limited to maximize dialogue and facilitate the educational experience.

  • Office Hours provide time for individual counseling and advice on protocol and career development.

  • Career Sessions are held on career-path topics of interest to Fellows and Junior Faculty investigators accepted to the Workshop. The faculty will devleop these topics once the participants are selected in order to cover the most relevant topics. Previous sessions have focused on careers in industry, surgical oncology, pediatric oncology, and radiation oncology.

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Comments from 2017 Workshop Participants:


"Amazing experience - the most educational and inspiring experience of my residency. Inspiring and brilliant community. Wonderful, kind PDG leaders that guided us throughout the process and helped optimize our study design. The gold standard course for learning about clinical trial design."

"This was the best training experience I ever had. Fantastic mentors and colleagues. I didn't think it was possible to learn so much in less than a week! Thank you all so much!!"

"This was a wonderful opportunity. I never imagine I could get this much done in a week - write a full protocol, get feedback to improve my design and write it again, meet this many people and enjoy the scenery and zip lining at Vail! What I learned here will stay with me for life."

"The conference was spectacular!! I learned a tremendous amount about clinical trial design, and I'm confident that I now have the foundation needed to move forward in my career."

"This is THE best workshop or conference among all that I have ever attended throughout my entire career. Faculties were truly motivating and open to any questions or feedback. Having an opportunity to talk to mentors and other faculties during the office hour or small group sessions changed my view of career development."

"This was one of the best experiences of my entire residency training and I would recommend this course to any young faculty member or trainee."