Expanded Oncology Summer Internship Program Targets Increased Workforce Diversity

73 Students from 15 Schools Set to Participate in 2024 Program
May 6, 2024

Today the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) announced four additional medical schools have been selected to participate in the Society’s Oncology Summer Internship (OSI) Program.

Launched in 2021, the OSI introduces rising second-year medical students primarily from populations underrepresented in medicine (UIM) to the field of oncology.1 The immersive program, which is part of ASCO’s efforts to strengthen and diversify the oncology workforce, began as a cohort of five schools and has expanded each year since. For 2024, 73 students from 15 medical schools will participate in a hybrid curriculum developed by ASCO and the participating school’s internship leaders.

“It's been exciting to witness this program's success in sparking medical students' interest in oncology,” said ASCO President Lynn M. Schuchter, MD, FASCO. “ASCO is dedicated to diversifying our physician workforce through this internship and hearing students' firsthand experiences about its impact on them has been truly inspiring.”

During their four-week clinical internships, students participate in daily shadowing to experience a day in the life of an oncologist and join weekly networking and social events hosted by their school to connect with their cohort, community, and local mentors.  To prepare the students for their clinical internship, ASCO hosts the students at its Annual Meeting in Chicago for an interactive orientation session and provides them with a comprehensive Oncology Essentials series of video modules and resources.

“Growing up, I never had a female, Hispanic physician,” said Amanda Rivas, a 2023 OSI participant and student at the University of Michigan Medical School. “It was not until I entered my mid-twenties that I noticed residents who looked like me or shared the same cultural background. I would love for this experience to come full circle by being a physician who would be involved with a program like ASCO to help recruit minority students to enter fields that do not have enough cultural representation.”

Students who expressed interest in the OSI were selected by site leaders based on various criteria, including the strength of their application, personal statements on their future training and career goals, as well as their overall motivation for participating in the program. Up to five students were chosen by each institution to be funded by ASCO with some institutions electing to fund additional students independently to expand their cohort beyond five students.

The four schools who have joined the OSI cohort beginning this summer are: The University of Colorado School of Medicine, University of California San Diego School of Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and Weill Cornell Medicine. They join these 11 returning schools: Baylor College of Medicine, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson, UCSF School of Medicine, University of Kansas School of Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

The OSI is supported by Conquer Cancer, The ASCO Foundation. Student participants receive a stipend to support their full engagement in the internship program and a travel stipend to attend the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago the year following their OSI participation. Each participating medical school also receives funds to supplement the costs of hosting the internship.

The program application was open to all U.S. medical schools with an associated cancer center, oncology department/division, or accredited oncology fellowship training program. Schools were selected based on ability to meet the program requirements, their demonstrated commitment to raising awareness of the oncology workforce which may result in expanded opportunities within the field, as well as the strength of their plan for supporting their students’ oncology interests during the OSI and beyond. ASCO will announce the next call for applications for the OSI in Summer 2025.

Learn more about ASCO’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan and additional efforts to diversify the oncology workforce at asco.org/equity.



1. For this program’s purposes, UIM refers to individuals from racial and ethnic groups including Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders; individuals with disabilities; and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. In addition, our definition of UIM recognizes that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; those with impacted life experiences, such as discrimination, socioeconomic status, historically underserved, or otherwise individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be demonstrated to be underrepresented by the applicant’s institution.

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