The objective of this competing renewal application for the Cancer Care Quality Training Program (CCQTP) is to train additional clinician and non-clinician scientists to work collaboratively in multidisciplinary research teams to improve cancer care quality. The need for an expanded scientific workforce engaged in cancer care quality research is evident. Poor quality cancer care in the forms of overuse, underuse, and misuse exists for all major forms of cancer and occurs across the cancer care continuum. Moreover, significant variations in cancer care quality have been found across practice sites, geographic regions, and patient populations. Given the complexity of cancer itself, and the multidisciplinary nature of cancer care, efforts to improve cancer care quality within the constraints of a single discipline or specialty are likely to produce partial solutions or limited effects. In the past fie years, opportunities for improving cancer care quality through multidisciplinary research have substantially increased. To respond to these opportunities, we must increase the scientific workforce engaged in cancer care quality research and train this workforce to function effectively in multidisciplinary research teams. Over the next five years, the CCQTP will train 10 clinician and non-clinician scientists who have not only the passion to improve cancer care quality, but also the knowledge, skills, and experience to do so in multidisciplinary research teams. To accomplish this goal, the CCQTP will recruit outstanding pre-doctoral and post-doctoral candidates from diverse disciplines and provide them with a specialized curriculum and hands-on research experience that leverages the faculty and research resources that are uniquely available at UNC-Chapel Hill. In its first four years of operation, the CCQTP has received far more applications than available positions. Four post-doctoral fellows and six pre-doctoral fellows have participated in the specialized curriculum and engaged in mentored research projects in cancer care quality. Consistent with the program's multidisciplinary focus, fellows have come from a variety of disciplines and specialties, including social work, health behavior, decision science, health economics, nursing, sociology/organization studies, and health services research. Of the four post-doctoral fellows, two have completed their training and are now employed in academic settings. Of the six pre-doctoral fellows, one has completed her training with a doctoral degree in Year 2 and two others will complete their training with doctoral degrees in late Year 4. One of these two will move into a post-doctoral fellowship, while the other will be employed in an industry setting. CCQTP fellows have been productive scholars. In Years 1-4, fellows and their mentors collaborated on 28 publications, 14 of which the program participant served as first author. In Years 6-10, the CCQTP will add a multidisciplinary seminar in comparative effectiveness research to the specialized curriculum and connect fellows with newly developed data resources, training opportunities, and intramural (pilot) funding programs available at UNC-Chapel Hill to support cancer care quality research.
The Cancer Care Quality Training Program (CCQTP) is relevant to public health because the preparation of new clinician and non-clinician scientists to work in multidisciplinary research teams to improve cancer care quality could have a positive impact on the lives of cancer patients, survivors, and their families. Thus, the CCQTP is relevant to the NCI's mission to conduct, fund, and support research that leads to improved cancer health outcomes for all.
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