All CCQTP fellows are required to take the following courses:
- HPM 765/EPID 772: Cancer Prevention and Control Research 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: Equity in Cancer Care Quality (Samuel)
- HPM 767: Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (Gilkey)
- HPM 772: Economic Evaluation in Healthcare (Wheeler)
Required Coursework in Professional Development/Writing for Research and Grants
Trainees are required to take a professional development course focused on writing for research and grants. Predoctoral trainees generally take EPID 994/HPM 994 (Dissertation Proposal Writing), DPOP872 (Proposal Writing) or EPID 725 (Grantwriting), and postdoctoral trainees may take EPID 804 (Design of Clinical Research) or EPID 805/6 (Clinical Research Skills). These courses emphasize developing a research proposal that reflects trainees’ understanding of how their proposed study fits into the field more broadly, is methodologically sound, and is conducted in an ethical manner. Successful completion of this requirement involves the trainee demonstrating competency in critical thinking, critical literature review, oral and written communication, ethical research conduct, and all aspects of study design, data collection, and analytic methods. Trainees develop and hone skills required to write and orally present grant proposals and to constructively contribute to peer reviews. Proposal development requires students to synthesize an array of substantive and methodological concerns in order to propose an informative, realistic, and scientifically sound study. In addition to grantsmanship, these courses offer broader professional development content including information on identifying funding opportunities, working in groups, and giving and receiving criticism. There are also non-credit grant writing groups and other professional development offerings available through the CTSA.
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.
For those trainees focusing on applied clinical quality, attendance at clinical tumor boards in the hospital is facilitated. 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. This was initially a requirement of the CCQTP, but is now elective.
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.