HDFCCC Staff Resources

UCSF Cancer

A variety of career development opportunities exist for UCSF and HDFCCC Employees. If you are interested in going back to school to further your career, the Bay Area offers many healthcare professional programs. See below for common healthcare careers, local programs, and funding opportunities.

CREST Program Logo

CREST Program

Applications Due Date Extended to July 1, 2024 at 8am

The Clinical Research Staff Research and Exploration to Facilitate STEMM Training (CREST) Career Development Program supports clinical research staff who plan to pursue additional training in STEMM professions. 


Progress in basic and translational cancer research continues each year. New discoveries are continually being translated into better cancer prevention and care. However, there are still specific groups within the population, most notably in racial and ethnic minorities, that are disproportionally affected by cancer and are not benefiting equally from the new discoveries (AACR Cancer Disparities Progress Report 2020). The UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (HDFCCC) is committed to reducing cancer health disparities through a variety of means, including creation of the Clinical Research Staff Research and Exploration to facilitate STEMM Training (CREST) Career Development Program.


The CREST Program prioritizes support for Scholars committed to advancing health equity in cancer research and cancer care. Recognizing that many of our clinical research staff plan to pursue additional training in science, technology, engineering, math, or medicine (STEMM), the CREST Program has been established to support clinical research staff who are on this path. Understanding how difficult it can be to apply for graduate or other healthcare professional school while working full-time, CREST Scholars have 20% protected time (equivalent to one day a week) to participate in professional development, career exploration and a mentored research experience (maintaining regular clinical research staff duties 80% time). Positions that are eligible to apply are:

  1. Assistant Clinical Research Coordinators, Clinical Research Coordinators, Senior Clinical Research Coordinators, and Protocol Project Managers who work on cancer clinical research projects
  2. Supervisors, Data Safety and Monitors/Auditors, Regulatory Specialists, and Protocol Development Specialists who work on cancer clinical research projects


The HDFCCC CREST Career Development Program consists of the following elements:

  • Individual Development Plan (IDP): Scholars will complete an IDP which outlines short-term career goals and a plan for achieving them. Scholars will also identify a mentoring team (research mentor, career mentor, peer mentor) to guide career development via quarterly meetings.
  • Mentored Research Project – All Scholars will complete a cancer-focused mentored research project. The research mentor must be a HDFCCC member (associate or full) but does not need to be in the Scholars home disease group/Site Committee. All Scholars will submit an abstract for presentation at a national or international meeting and will present their work at an annual research symposium for HDFCCC Clinical Research Staff.
  • Career Exploration - Scholars will have the option to explore career options through several means, including: 1) attending career panels and networking events; 2) shadowing clinical faculty and staff; and 3) reviewing archived career videos (interviews with HDFCCC staff/faculty who have pursued oncology-focused careers)
  • Access to a career development funds- Scholars may apply for up to $2500 to support application fees, course tuition, test preparation fees, etc.


In addition, Scholars will have access to HDFCCC-wide activities for clinical research staff:

  • Professional Development Activities: Career development activities include a) personal statement writing workshop; b) mock interviews for medical school, physician assistant, and nurse practitioner school; c) admissions panel (characteristics of successful candidates—HCP schools)
  • Exposure to cancer research -Scholars may attend the annual HDFCCC Clinical Research Staff Retreat as well as a panel convened each year comprised of clinical research staff who have performed mentored research projects.
  • Be working a regular schedule of five, 8-hour days
  • Have at least completed their probationary period and are in good standing (i.e., received at least a “meets expectations” on last performance evaluation)
  • Desire to pursue STEMM higher education and/or healthcare professional school (including medical, dental, pharmacy, or nursing)
  • Interest in advancing health equity in cancer research and cancer care
  • Can commit to at least 12 months of participation in the CREST Program    
  • Desire to engage in a mentored research project
  • Positions that are eligible to apply are:

    • Assistant Clinical Research Coordinators, Clinical Research Coordinators, Senior Clinical Research Coordinators, and Protocol Project Managers who work on cancer clinical research projects

    • Supervisors, Data Safety and Monitors/Auditors, Regulatory Specialists, and Protocol Development Specialists who work on cancer clinical research projects

Award Amount and Terms

CREST Scholars will be released from their regular job duties one day a week for one year. On that day they are expected to participate in the mentored research and other career development activities that they outline in their Individual Development Plan (IDP). The remaining 4 days of the week will be devoted to their regular job duties. The day that is devoted to CREST activities will be fully supported, i.e., there will be no impact on your salary for participation in this program.

Scholar Selection Criteria
  • Is a full-time career employee at UCSF, working a schedule of five, 8-hour days
  • In good standing in current clinical research staff role (i.e., receive at least a “meets expectations” on last performance evaluation)
  • Commitment to the CREST Program
  • Contribution to diversity
  • Commitment to advancing health equity in cancer research and cancer care
  • Likelihood of benefiting from participation in the CREST Program (i.e., training elements and timing align with career goals)
  • Readiness to engage in a mentored research project
How to Apply

Submit the following materials as a single PDF document (11pt Arial font, 1.5 line spacing).

  • Personal statement (max 1 page) describing your career goals, previous and/or current research experience, why participation in the CREST Program would be valuable, and an overview of how the 20% protected time would be used (recognizing the plan will be refined after establishing a mentoring committee and completing an IDP). Applicants should also state if a potential research mentor has been identified and if a mentored research project has already begun.
  • Diversity statement (2 - 3 paragraphs) explaining why you think diversity is important in clinical research and how you see yourself (in a current or future role) contributing to diversity, equity and inclusion in cancer research and care. Include current or prior activities in this area, such as working on studies with diverse participants, mentoring diverse trainees, or specialized training, as well as any past experiences or background that has made you aware of inequities and challenges faced by historically underrepresented or economically disadvantaged groups.
  • Current resume/CV.
  • 2-3 letters of recommendation, one must be from a faculty member with whom you are currently working, and one must be from your clinical research supervisor.

Apply Here

Healthcare Professional Career Development Program for HDFCCC Staff

A series of events open to HDFCCC staff who are interested in attending medical school, nursing/nurse practitioner or physician assistant programs. The program consists of online resources plus events and mentoring. Some events/mentoring are open to all and some require that you apply. Please see below for more information. 


Applications now open for the 2024 Cohort.

The Application Essay Mentoring component is to provide mentoring for those who are completing their medical school applications. Participants are paired with a current UCSF Med Student to receive 1x1 mentoring from April to June each year (to coincide with primary and secondary applications). Participants will also be organized into small working groups to work on their essays together and give each other feedback.

Roles and Responsibilities:


  • Contact assigned mentor to determine when and how you will meet (zoom, in-person, etc.)
  • Discuss with your mentor how often you will meet. Consider your schedule, the application deadlines and your mentor’s time. The mentors were told to expect no more than 2-4 hours/month, for April, May and June. Anything different would need to be mutually agreed upon.
  • Be prepared when you meet with your mentor. Have a draft of your essay ready or have specific questions prepared if you need help before starting your draft.
  • Build in time in your meeting for your mentor to read your draft. You can also send it, or specific questions you have, to them beforehand, but given their very busy med student schedules, assume they won’t have much time outside your meeting.
  • Plan to keep your meetings no longer than an hour.
  • Contact Jennifer with questions

Apply Here

Mock interviews are provide for those interested in medical school, nurse practitioner and physician assistant programs. Interviewers are current UCSF faculty, fellows and NPs or PAs. 

Application opens in May, participants are paired with their interviewer in July and interviews take place in August. Space is limited. 

Characteristics of Successful Applicants Panel

June 5, 4pm - 6pm, virtual.

Admission Officers from medical schools, nursing, and physician assistant programs around California present tips on applying to their programs. More info/registration. Open to all

For Advanced Practice Providers

 Collaborative Career Advancement Network (C-CAN)

A career development program for staff who are interested in NP, PA, or CNM training. To learn more about the program email

 [email protected]


Online Resources
Career Path Videos

Career Paths: A Virtual Guide to Healthcare Professional Careers - A portfolio of recorded interviews with UCSF/HDFCCC healthcare professionals from different fields. Learn how they got interested in science/healthcare and their path to their current field.