The Strategic Plan: Cancer Research at UCSF in 2030

What will cancer research at UCSF look like in 2030? To answer this question, the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center recently undertook an audacious scientific strategic review process, which included a thorough examination of existing research programs and initiatives, the creation of new thematic task forces representing the full cancer continuum, and surveys and active brainstorming sessions with membership. 

This process led to the HDFCCC Research Mission Statement:

Through discovery, clinical, and population science, we will understand the person and their social and physical environment, understand the tumor, and understand the intervention. We will translate this research into appropriate risk stratification, prevention, screening, diagnosis, interventions, and long-term care decisions, and reduce inequities in cancer care and treatment outcomes.

documentDownload the complete Strategic Plan, or review the individual components below.


I. APPROACH

The Cancer Research at UCSF in 2030 Strategic Planning process began in late 2018. Senior leadership defined three broad groups from which it would be important to coalesce and gather information from: (1) the ten extant CCSG programs; (2) other research initiatives, not funded by the CCSG, some of which were defined during this planning process, but also including important aggregations of researchers such as (a) site committees and (b) developing initiatives; and (3) thematic task forces, which we convened in brainstorming sessions as a new way of aggregating people into task forces that covered the cancer continuum from basic research to prevention to diagnosing to treating to delivering health care.

From August 2018 to September 2019, HDFCCC administration supported membership-wide surveys and brainstorming and information-gathering meetings of the groups described above. Each group produced a brief White Paper report that outlined (1) predictions for 2030, (2) scientific gap analysis (current state of research at UCSF and what is still needed to reach 2030 goals), and (3) summary of themes. 

HDFCCC Scientific Leadership identified the common themes and priorities across all White Papers, which are reflected in the overall framework document. The intent was to ensure all current and anticipated research at UCSF would be represented in the strategic planning process. Importantly, throughout the process, additional inputs included UCSF leadership, department chairs, HDFCCC leadership, the HDFCCC external advisory board, and program advisory boards.

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strategic plan approach

In order to define Center-wide mission, goals, research priorities, and provocative questions around which to provide institutional support, we developed the (1) Transdisciplinary Framework and (2) Patient Experience Perspective Continuum around which to organize the common themes and priorities. Combined into our overall Strategic Plan Framework, it will be used to drive the development of Provocative Questions, around which RFAs and other galvanizing support can be organized to provide tactics (resources, financial support) to drive research forward.

>> Learn more about our approach here.

Transdisciplinary Framework

This framework promotes research questions, teams, and methodology that are cross-disciplinary, based on team science, and translational aligning with a “cells to society” model. Importantly, this merging also defines a “society to cells” pathway, by which the etiology of broader societal and demographic factors may be uncovered.

Patient Experience Perspective (Cancer Continuum)

  1. Individual and Population Health
  2. Disease Characterization
  3. Clinical Response
  4. Survivorship and End-of-Life

II. OUTPUT: STRATEGIC GOALS ACROSS THE FRAMEWORK AT EACH STAGE OF THE CONTINUUM

By combining the Transdisciplinary Framework and the Cancer Continuum structures, we can define goals and research priorities that have the highest impact to drive research forward in a way that directly affects patient care and cancer population health. At each stage of the Continuum, research goals and priorities were identified at each step of the Framework. By defining goals at these levels, we will be able to identify commonalities and define Center-wide strategic plans to support them.

documentIndividual and Population Health
At UCSF in 2030, we will understand the biological, social, environmental, and behavioral determinants of risk, prevention, and disease onset.
 

documentDisease Characterization
At UCSF in 2030, we will understand the tumor and the patient through basic research, clinical research, and population research, in order to inform appropriate risk stratification, prevention, screening, diagnosis, and interventions.
 

documentClinical Response
At UCSF in 2030, we will understand the intervention through basic research, clinical research, and population research, and health outcomes research will assure all people receive timely, affordable, and high-quality care, regardless of who they are, where they live, or where they get their care. 
 

documentSurvivorship and End-of-Life
At UCSF in 2030, we will understand the changes in the tumor and the patient over time and following treatment, through basic research, clinical research, and population research, in order to inform appropriate secondary, palliative, and symptom management interventions.

>> Learn more about strategic goals across the framework of the continuum.

III. OUTPUT: STRATEGIC GOALS ACROSS CENTER

The overlap of the Translational Framework and Patient Experience Perspective Continuum is aligned with how our investigators think about their work, collaborations, and impact on cancer research and care. The organization allows for immediate operationalization of scientific research because it is clear what infrastructure and resources are required to address priority areas defined in each step. This organization also allows the plan to be unique and specific to UCSF, tailored to the research strengths, interests, and future directions of our members.

This overlap defines the HDFCCC Research Mission Statement:

Through discovery, clinical, and population science, we will understand the person and their social and physical environment, understand the tumor, and understand the intervention. We will translate this research into appropriate risk stratification, prevention, screening, diagnosis, interventions, and long-term care decisions, and reduce inequities in cancer care and treatment outcomes.

Furthermore, our organization allows for the concept of HDFCCC-wide Provocative Questions, to be defined, around which tactics can be deployed.

  1. HDFCCC Mission
  2. Overall Goals
  3. Center Research Priorities Across the Framework
  4. Provocative Questions

>> Learn more about strategic goals across the HDFCCC.