CCQTP Program Curriculum

All CCQTP fellows are required to take the following courses:

  • HPM 766:  Making Equity a Priority in Cancer Care Quality (Samuel)
    This 3-credit hour course examines recent work on defining, measuring, and improving cancer care quality, with special emphasis on inequities along the cancer care continuum for prioritizing equity in cancer care quality. Cancer care inequities according to race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geography will especially be highlighted. This course serves as a foundation for the CCQTP program and, as such, is directly linked to the program’s objectives. Fall.
  • HPM 767:  Disseminating Evidence and Innovation in Cancer Care (Powell)
    This 3-credit hour course introduces the concepts, theories, and methods of disseminating evidence-based interventions and innovations to improve quality in cancer care. The course also examines methods for conducting rigorous research on dissemination and implementation. Examples from the literature and from faculty members’ own research are used to illustrate successful and unsuccessful attempts to disseminate scientific knowledge and evidence-based practices in cancer care at the individual, organizational, and community level. The course describes and examines the effectiveness of common approaches to dissemination including informational strategies, social influence approaches, inter-organizational approaches, and community approaches. The course gives special emphasis to the facilitators and barriers of dissemination to underserved populations. Given the multidisciplinary nature of the course’s content, other faculty members share their experiences disseminating evidence and innovation, and their expertise in researching dissemination. This course equips CCQTP program participants with the knowledge they need to design, deploy, and evaluate interventions to improve cancer care quality. These competencies are essential for translating cancer care quality research into everyday clinical practice. Spring.
  • HPM 794: PRO Measurement and Research (Reeve) Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) include measures of health status, quality of life, and satisfaction with healthcare. This 3-credit hour course provides an overview of the PRO measurement and research field, and discusses how to design and evaluate a PRO measure and best practices for integrating PRO in clinical research and healthcare settings. Emphasis is on patient reported outcomes in cancer care. Spring.

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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