CCQTP Program Curriculum

All CCQTP fellows are required to take the following courses:

  • Cancer Care Quality (HPM 766). This course examines the quality of cancer care in the United States and introduces students to the concepts, theories, and methods of measuring and improving cancer care quality.
  • Informed Decision-Making in Cancer Care (INLS 890). This course examines clinical decision-making in cancer care from the perspectives of providers, patients, and families. The course is predicated on the notion that cancer care quality depends on productive interactions between prepared, proactive practice teams and informed, activated patients and families.
  • Disseminating Evidence and Innovation in Cancer Care (HPM 767). This course introduces the concepts, theories, and methods of disseminating and implementing evidence-based interventions to improve quality in cancer care. The course also examines the methods for conducting rigorous research on dissemination and implementation.
  • Developing Proposals for Health Services and Policy Research (HPM 872). This course examines the NIH research review process and outlines some basic principles about how to conceptualize and write fundable research proposals within the investigator-initiated (R01) framework. Students apply these grant-writing principles to produce a research proposal in NIH, CMS, or AHRQ format. Alternatively, program participants can take a grant-writing seminar in their home department (e.g., NUTR 371 or EPID 201).

Non-clinician fellows are encouraged to take Cancer Pathobiology (PATH 225) and Cancer Epidemiology (EPID 770). Clinicians with prior training in oncology may substitute additional coursework in research methods or health services for the required courses in cancer pathobiology and cancer epidemiology. Trainees must include proposals for course substitution in their training plans, and must seek approval from their mentors.

Other Required Curriculum Components

In addition to these required courses, the program’s specialized curriculum includes other, less formally structured education, training, and professional development components.

  • Multidisciplinary Conferences and Tumor Board Meetings. In their first year of training, trainees must attend at least two multidisciplinary conferences and tumor board meetings per month at the UNC Clinical Cancer Center and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. At these conferences and tumor boards, current issues and developments in treatment and care management are discussed. Care planning and coordination for specific patients, and clinical trial eligibility and participation are also discussed. In the second semester, trainees must present a mock-case to their primary mentor in which they describe quality problem in a hypothetical patient’s cancer care and then discuss the clinical, psycho-social, and organizational factors that might have contributed to the problem.
  • Simulated Peer Review of Research Proposals. Post-doctoral fellows must prepare a grant proposal in PHS398 format and submit that proposal for simulated peer review. The program will arrange for a primary and secondary reviewer for each proposal, drawn from program faculty and (if necessary) outside experts. Primary and secondary reviewers will prepare written reviews, and discussion will ensue in a format modeled on an NIH study section. Simulated peer review sessions will typically occur in the spring semester.

Optional Curriculum Components

Trainees are encouraged to attend other seminars and lectures sponsored by the various departments, schools, and centers participating in the program. UNC-Chapel Hill offers a wealth of opportunity for trainees to explore and deepen their knowledge about cancer care quality and research methods.

Trainees are also encouraged to take short-courses and workshops to enhance their methodological and professional skills. The Odum Institute for Research in Social Science, for example, offers many short courses throughout the academic year. Course offerings cover grant writing and proposal development, quantitative methods, qualitative methods, spatial analysis methods, and survey research. Likewise, the Health Sciences Library offers workshops in database searching, bibliographic formatting programs, scholarly publishing, and poster presentations.

Finally, trainees are encouraged to take additional coursework in specific content areas or research methods as appropriate, based on input from their mentors. For example, trainees with prior training in oncology may substitute additional coursework in research methods or health services for the required courses in cancer pathobiology and cancer epidemiology. Trainees must include proposals for course substitution in their training plans, and must seek approval from their mentors.

Under the direction of his or her mentoring team, each trainee develops and conducts research in cancer care quality.

Mentored Research Experience

  • For pre-doctoral trainees, the major research project is the dissertation. However, pre-doctoral program participants will likely participate in other cancer care quality research projects as well. The highly collaborative, productive, and multidisciplinary cancer research community that exists at UNC-Chapel Hill will provide pre-doctoral program participants with many opportunities to become engaged in ongoing cancer care quality research projects. By the end of the mentored research experience, the pre-doctoral trainee will have completed a doctoral dissertation.
  • For post-doctoral trainees, the major research project is a self-initiated one in which he or she serves as principal investigator. The post-doctoral trainee is expected to build a multi-disciplinary team of investigators to support his or her research project. However, he or she will have primary responsibility for all aspects of the project from research question formulation, hypothesis development, study design, data collection/extraction, data analysis, and scientific communication of study findings. The post-doctoral program participant will work closely with this mentoring team to ensure the success of the project. By the end of the mentored research experience, the post-doctoral trainee will have completed a major research project in which he or she served as principal investigator.

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