CCQTP Program Curriculum

All CCQTP fellows are required to take the following courses:

  • HPM 765/EPID 772:  Cancer Prevention and Control Seminar
    This longstanding course provides an interdisciplinary overview of cancer prevention and control research with an emphasis on projects and activities from perspectives of epidemiology, health policy and management, and health behavior. Appropriate research design and methodologies are covered.  Sessions feature student presentations and class discussions based on assigned readings.  Discussions build on the presentations and readings and often feature a guest speaker/moderator with expertise in the particular content area being covered.  The course is offered every fall semester, and CCQTP trainees are required to take this course once during their training, for a total of 3 credits.
  • HPM 769:  Cancer Outcomes Research Seminar
    This course is directed by Drs. Basch and Wheeler and consists of a weekly seminar for fellow/trainees and faculty interested in cancer outcomes research. This unique seminar draws a variety of speakers with expertise in areas germane to the CCQTP.  This includes prominent external speakers (funded by the Cancer Center) and UNC speakers.  All of the EAB members have been speakers in this seminar in the past.  There are also brief presentations about data resources and analytic techniques, pertinent Cancer Center core facilities, mock study sections, panels of policy makers, and presentations by representatives of government and funding agencies.  Each week, Drs. Wheeler and Basch, along with other CCQTP faculty, contextualize the topic for trainees.  This 1-credit seminar offers students the opportunity to learn from leaders in the CCQTP and more broadly, and culminates in a “trainee showcase” at the end of the semester on a topic of each student’s choosing related to cancer outcomes research.  It is offered every semester and CCQTP trainees are required to attend at least one full year (2 semesters for a total of 2 credits) but can continuously attend throughout their program participation.

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.

Elective Course Options

  • HPM 762: Quality of Care (Weinberger)
  • HPM 766: Making Equity a Priority in Cancer Care Quality (Samuel)
  • HPM 767: Implementation Science in Health (Powell)
  • HPM 772: Techniques for the Economic Evaluation of Health Care (Wheeler)

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.

Additional 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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