Current CCQTP Student Profiles

See Past CCQTP Student Profiles

Photo Credit: Devin Hubbard

Photo Credit: Devin Hubbard


Name:
William Calo
Post-Doctoral
Expected Graduation: September 2016

Educational Background:
PhD, Management and Policy Sciences, The University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX, 2014
JD, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR, 2010
MPH, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR, 2005

 

Prior Work Experience:
2010-2014:
Research Fellow, The University of Texas School of Public Health, Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, Houston, TX
2008-2010: Project Manager, University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Cancer Center, San Juan, PR
2005-2008: Research Assistant, University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Cancer Center, San Juan, PR

Professional Interests:
Dissemination & implementation research, public health law research.

Why did you choose UNC’s Cancer Care Quality Training Program (CCQTP)?
I chose CCQTP because it focuses on training that crosses and integrates different research disciplines, which is key for fellows with diverse backgrounds and research interests.

In one sentence, describe your experience at UNC.
UNC provides a unique environment to participate in collaborative, productive, and multidisciplinary cancer research.

What has been the most valuable piece of knowledge you have learned in the CCQTP to date?
Develop skills and expertise required for a successful career in cancer research; for example, writing for publication and managing all phases of research interventions.

Why does the CCQTP format work for you?
It is a great opportunity to develop a tailored curriculum to master fundamental concepts and methods on cancer care quality, and to gain mentored research experience under the guidance of well-renowned scientists in the field. All these experiences will help me to launch an independent career in cancer research.

Describe a typical term.
A typical term for me includes working on two research projects and writing manuscripts. I also attend weekly seminars and one course per semester.

What do you like best about the CCQTP?
The opportunity to work in multidisciplinary research teams to improve cancer care quality across the cancer care continuum.

Describe the interaction you have with the faculty in the CCQTP.
The faculty are very supportive, we meet regularly to discuss my progress. They also encourage individual creativity and provide research opportunities to foster professional growth.

How do you manage your time—work/family/school balance?
The training program is flexible, allowing a perfect balance between my fellowship duties and my family.

What is the greatest value added from the CCQTP?
The CCQTP provides outstanding training and mentoring for my individual needs, allowing career progression. In addition, I have had the opportunity to develop and lead research activities based on my own interests.

Is there anything you would like to tell a prospective student about the CCQTP?
I would encourage everyone interested in cancer care research to apply; the opportunities for professional growth provided by the CCQTP are limitless.

What are your plans and goals after the CCQTP?
I plan on obtaining a faculty position or a public health scientist position at a federal agency.


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Katherine Cools

Name: Katherine Cools
Post-Doctoral

Educational Background:
Zoology, Biomedical Science, University of Oklahoma 2004-2009
MD, University of Oklahoma 2009-2013

Prior Work Experience:
2013 – Present:
Resident, UNC Department of Surgery, Chapel Hill, NC

Professional Interests:
Quality of life in hepatopancreaticobiliary (HPB) cancers.

Why did you choose UNC’s Cancer Care Quality Training Program (CCQTP)?
The Cancer Care Quality Training program offered me the ability to pursue research in a collaborative fashion at UNC. It has also allowed me the opportunity to partner with not only my surgical faculty at UNC but other clinicians and researchers on campus. With this program, I am also able to pursue my Master of Science in Clinical Research in the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

In one sentence, describe your experience at UNC.
I have been blessed with a rich clinical experience at UNC hospitals as a General Surgery Resident and I look forward to pursuing and extending my research interest onto the UNC campus side.

What has been the most valuable piece of knowledge you have learned in the CCQTP to date?
Collaboration is key!

Why does the CCQTP format work for you?

It allows me to work on my clinical research projects while also helping further develop research skills.

Describe a typical term.
This is my first term at the CCQTP. I am doing course work towards my Master of Science in Clinical Research in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. I am also working on various clinical research projects.

What do you like best about the CCQTP?
I enjoy the freedom the program gives to allow me to explore various research topics while still giving me the support needed to be an effective scientist.

Describe the interaction you have with the faculty in the CCQTP.
The faculty are always willing to help give guidance in research projects, questions and career goals.

How do you manage your time—work/family/school balance?
There is a lot of flexibility in my work schedule allowing me the ability to shift my schedule around for work, school and home life.

What is the greatest value added from the CCQTP?
Giving me tools to become an effective clinical researcher.

Is there anything you would like to tell a prospective student about the CCQTP?
This is a great program that will help you grow your research interest and will give you enriched collaborative experience.

What are your plans and goals after the CCQTP?
After the CCQTP, I will finish my last two clinical years of general surgery training at UNC. I hope to pursue a fellowship in hepatopancreaticobiliary (HPB) surgery after residency. Ultimately, I want be an attending HPB surgeon and clinical researcher at an academic center.


hester_laura_ccqtp15_lowres

Laura Hester

Name: Laura Hester
Pre-Doctoral
Expected Graduation: Spring 2017

Educational Background:
AB, Biology and Geography, Dartmouth College 2005-2009
ScM, Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University, 2009-2011
PhD University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2013-Present

 

 


Prior Work Experience:
5/2006-9/2006 and 3/2007-5/2007:
Histologist, Cancer Prevention Laboratory at Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO
6/2008-9/2008: Evaluation Intern, Global Health Council, White River Junction, VT
9/2007-6/2009: Administrative Intern, C. Everett Koop Institute, Hanover, NH
10/2009-8/2011: GIS Analyst, Department of Health Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
8/2011-8/2013: Oak Ridge Institutes for Science and Education (ORISE)/CDC Evaluation Fellow, Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
8/2013-8/2014: Graduate Research Assistant, GlaxoSmithKline, Durham, NC
5/2014-5/2015: Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

Professional Interests:
Quality care of comorbidities during cancer treatment/survivorship, access and adherence to cancer maintenance treatment, hematological cancers, improving internal validity of observational cancer treatment studies among older adults.

Why did you choose UNC’s Cancer Care Quality Training Program (CCQTP)?
The CCQTP provides valuable training and mentoring for my dissertation and links me with clinicians and cancer research networks through seminars, tumor boards, and conferences.

In one sentence, describe your experience at UNC.
UNC has provided me with beneficial mentorships, motivating research opportunities, and high-quality coursework.

What has been the most valuable piece of knowledge you have learned in the CCQTP to date?
Through the CCQTP, I have learned that quality of cancer care is about more than the suitability of cancer treatment or cancer-specific outcomes; cancer care quality is about improving the overall care of a patient starting before cancer diagnosis and continuing through treatment and survivorship.

Why does the CCQTP format work for you?
The CCQTP format lets me conduct my dissertation research independently while giving me the resources and mentorship I need to make sure I’m on the right track.

Describe a typical term.
As a pre-doctoral fellow, my typical term includes 1-2 courses per week suggested by the CCQTP and 3-4 seminars or tumor boards per week. While not in classes or seminars, I work on my dissertation. My term may also include travel to an out-of-state conference.

What do you like best about the CCQTP?
The CCQTP’s diverse seminars and courses provide me with an opportunity to learn about improving cancer care quality through the lens of researchers in medicine, health policy, health behavior, and statistics. My research has benefited from exposure to perspectives outside of my field.

Describe the interaction you have with the faculty in the CCQTP.
One of the CCQTP faculty supports my dissertation work and provides valuable ideas for improving my dissertation aims and methods. I also attend seminars led or attended by other CCQTP faculty where I learn their thoughts on cancer care quality research.

How do you manage your time—work/family/school balance?
Completing a dissertation is just like a job. I am trying to follow basic rules of time management, which include doing the most important tasks first, saying “no” to non-essential projects, sleeping at least 7 hours per night, and starting on projects early. At the beginning of the week, I also make sure to set aside hours for exercise, friends, and personal time.

What is the greatest value added from the CCQTP?
The ability to collaborate and learn from researchers in cancer care outside of my field.

Is there anything you would like to tell a prospective student about the CCQTP?
The program benefits from the perspectives of students with diverse public health and clinical perspectives. I would encourage all pre-doctoral students interested in cancer care quality to apply to the CCQTP.                                                                                    

What are your plans and goals after the CCQTP?
I would like to use my CCQTP experience in a role as a cancer health services researcher for a governmental organization or as a cancer pharmacoepidemiologist in industry.


Alecia Slade

Alecia Slade

Name: Alecia Slade
Pre-Doctoral
Expected Graduation: Spring 2018

Educational Background:
BA, Sociology, UNC Chapel Hill, 2006
MSW, UNC Chapel Hill, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

Prior Work Experience:
2008 – 2009: Program Coordinator, Period of Purple Crying, Center for Child and Family Health, Durham, NC
2009 – 2011: Health Services Research Specialist, Durham VA Medical Center, Durham, NC
2011 – 2014:
Institutional Review Board Coordinator, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD

Professional Interests:
Implementation Science, Organization Determinants of Implementation/Innovation Effectiveness, Minority Research Recruitment, Cancer Care, Cancer Disparities.

Why did you choose UNC’s Cancer Care Quality Training Program (CCQTP)?
I chose UNC because it offers a unique opportunity to collaborate on multidisciplinary research, provides generous funding and opportunities for engagement in scholarly activities and offers mentorship which will help me in my academic and scholarly pursuits.

In one sentence, describe your experience at UNC.
Everyone has been kind, supportive, and most importantly collaborative during my time at UNC.

What has been the most valuable piece of knowledge you have learned in the CCQTP to date?
I have learned about the breadth of cancer care research that is occurring across campus and the many on-campus resources that are available to support research activities.

Why does the CCQTP format work for you?

CCQTP gives me access to faculty mentorship which is crucial for finishing my dissertation and solidifying my career goals.  It also allows me access to additional coursework and training which is helpful for rounding out my experiences at UNC. And of course, having protected research time is invaluable to me.

Describe a typical term.
I am in my first semester of the program, so I will be attending one class and attending tumor board meetings one day a week.  Otherwise, I will be working on my dissertating research.

What do you like best about the CCQTP?
The financial support and mentorship.

Describe the interaction you have with the faculty in the CCQTP.
So far, faculty in the CCQTP have been helpful with the development of my research aims for my dissertation proposal.

How do you manage your time—work/family/school balance?
I try to treat school as a 9-5, but also make time for family, friends and physical activity – which are all important to me.  Participation in the program allows me flexibility in how I structure my day, leaving time for my other interests – including participation on other research studies and publications.

What is the greatest value added from the CCQTP?
Protected research time.  Being able to focus on my dissertation research is going to help me complete the program in a timely manner.

Is there anything you would like to tell a prospective student about the CCQTP?
Apply!  The program embodies all of the things that will be helpful for beginning/continuing your research skills. It helps you develop skills in being a good mentee and a good mentor, exposes you to the wide variety of cancer care research that is occurring on and off campus, and allows you to focus on your work.

What are your plans and goals after the CCQTP?
I hope to become a cancer care researcher in a government agency, contract research organization or an academic institution.  Hopefully, my dissertation research will lead me to some clear “next steps” to research cancer care disparities and implementation science.


Angela Stover

Angela Stover

Name: Angela Stover
Post-Doctoral
Expected Graduation: 2018

Educational Background:
BA in Psychology and Sociology, Westminster University, 1998
MA in Research Methodology, University of Pittsburgh, 2002
PhD in Public Health/Health Behavior, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2015

 

 

 

Prior Work Experience:
1998-2010: Research Program Coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

My training and interests focus on the measurement and application of patient-reported outcomes (PRO) to improve cancer care. This focus builds on my 12 years of research experience at the University of Pittsburgh in PRO scale development and a Master of Arts in Research Methodology. I was a co-investigator with Paul Pilkonis (PI) and developed 6 PROMIS (Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System) measures funded by the National Institutes of Health (U01-AR052155). These PROMIS item banks assess emotional distress and sleep disturbance and are intended for use across a variety of health conditions.

Professional Interests:
My research interests are in two areas: 1) Implementing symptom questionnaires into clinical workflow for oncology; and 2) testing symptom questionnaires as indicators of the quality of care received for chemotherapy.

Why did you choose UNC’s Cancer Care Quality Training Program (CCQTP)?
The training I am receiving from CCQTP will be instrumental as I continue developing my research interests into career development and (R01) awards. Having access to CCQTP’s multidisciplinary network of mentors and specialized training in quality of care has increased the caliber of my research and, in turn, opportunities for publications, independent extramural funding, and a tenure-track faculty position.

In one sentence, describe your experience at UNC.
UNC is a collaborative and collegial environment and CCQTP is no exception.

What has been the most valuable piece of knowledge you have learned in the CCQTP to date?
Always ask. There are many resources available in HPM, Lineberger, and the larger campus.

Why does the CCQTP format work for you?
My goal during the CCQTP postdoctoral fellowship is to continue developing my research niche into an independent research program that I will lead as a faculty member. CCQTP provides a way for me to work with clinicians, who are key to my research aims. I also have access to the network of CCQTP mentors if specific issues arise and for collaboration. CCQTP mentors are available in at least 10 departments.

Describe a typical term.
I spend the majority of my time conducting research with the Cancer Outcomes Research Program at Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Usually I am writing papers or grants and overseeing studies. During the fall and spring semesters, I give guest lectures. I typically travel every 2-3 months for conferences and meetings.

What do you like best about the CCQTP?
My research aims are multidisciplinary and CCQTP gives me strategic access to clinician mentors in different departments. CCQTP has also opened doors for me for other training opportunities. For instance, I am receiving long-distance training in implementation science and grant writing from the “Mentored Training in Implementation Research for Cancer” (MT-DIRC) at the University of Washington in St. Louis.

Describe the interaction you have with the faculty in the CCQTP.
I meet with my mentor twice a month and as needed. He is very open to emails, even when traveling. I meet with other CCQTP faculty as needed for grant applications and papers.

How do you manage your time—work/family/school balance?

I manage my time around the different research projects I am involved in and prioritize from there. Physical activity is also a priority for me so I added my gym schedule as appointments on my calendar. I also make time for family and friends.

What is the greatest value added from the CCQTP?
In addition to providing protected time and pilot funds to conduct my research aims, CCQTP provides an academic context that enriches my work, and will prepare me for a faculty position and my own independent research program.

Is there anything you would like to tell a prospective student about the CCQTP?
There are so many exciting opportunities within CCQTP and they want to support you.

What are your plans and goals after the CCQTP?
Tenure-track assistant professor position and a K award.


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