Skip to main content

Evidence shows that the quality of cancer care in the US is not what it could be. Quality problems exist for all major forms of cancer and span the cancer care continuum from early detection and screening, diagnosis and treatment, care of survivors, and palliative care. Moreover, significant variations in cancer care quality exist across practice sites, geographic regions, and patient populations.

Improving cancer care quality will require clinician and non-clinician scientists to work collaboratively in multidisciplinary research teams that span the fields of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, information science, public health, and social work. To work together effectively, clinician and non-clinician scientists will need education and training that not only spans traditional disciplinary and specialty boundaries, but also provides the skills and experience needed to collaborate in team-oriented research environments.

Program Description

The Cancer Care Quality Training Program (CCQTP) offers pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training to clinician and non-clinician scientists who wish to work in multidisciplinary research teams to improve cancer care quality across the cancer care continuum. The CCQTP recruits 1-3 pre-doctoral and 1-3 post-doctoral candidates per year who have an explicit interest in conducting research on cancer care quality. The program offers pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees:

  • A specialized curriculum that fosters a multidisciplinary understanding of cancer care quality.
  • Mentored research experience focused on cancer care quality.
  • Career development experiences that enhance professional skills and build professional networks.

The program is co-administered through the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Department of Health Policy and Management, and draws upon the collaborative, productive, multidisciplinary cancer research community at UNC-Chapel Hill. Thirty-five faculty members from 11 departments in the Schools of Public Health, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Social Work participate as teachers and mentors.

To learn more about the applicant criteria and procedures, choose one of the links below:

The CCQTP is committed to training a diverse cadre of clinician and non-clinician scientists. Individuals from under-represented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

What Is Cancer Care Quality?

The CCQTP focuses on understanding and improving the quality of cancer care services provided in the United States.

Other training programs at UNC-Chapel Hill focus on cancer epidemiology, cancer prevention and control, and quality of health care services more generally.

Quality refers to “the extent to which health services for individuals and populations increases the likelihood of desired health outcomes and is consistent with current professional knowledge” (Institute of Medicine, Crossing the Quality Chasm, 2001).

Quality of care means “providing patients with appropriate services in a technically competent manner, with good communication, shared decision making, and cultural sensitivity.” (Institute of Medicine, Ensuring the Quality of Cancer Care, 1999)

Poor quality cancer care can result from:

  • Overuse: or provision of service in circumstances where potential harm exceeds possible benefit
  • Underuse: or failure to provide a service that would have produced a favorable outcome for the patient
  • Misuse: an avoidable complication occurs that prevents the patient from receiving full potential benefit

Quality problems can occur anywhere along the cancer care continuum (see Figure). Although the Figure implies a more linear progression in cancer care than most people experience, it offers a useful way of thinking about the many potential quality problems that could arise in the provision of cancer care services.