The primary aim of this proposal is to improve the quality of life for oncology patients by educating a cohort of oncology professionals who have the knowledge and skills to act as leaders for the safe and evidence-based integration of complementary therapies into conventional oncology care, education, and research. The quality of life of cancer survivors is negatively affected by symptoms resulting from cancer biology and cancer treatment. Treating these symptoms has often proven difficult, as there is both a lack of treatments for certain symptoms, and inadequate integration into clinical practice of some evidence-based treatments. Complementary therapies offer potential treatments for cancer symptoms and around 46% of cancer patients already use some type of complementary therapies to improve their quality of life. Despite the high utilization of complementary therapies by cancer patients and the growing body of evidence on these therapies, there are currently no training programs for oncology professionals. Consequently, there is a critical need to provide programs in evidence-based complementary cancer therapies to help fill this gap. This proposal seeks to enhance the clinical and leadership skills of oncology professionals through the following Specific Aims: 1. Develop an interdisciplinary short-course in evidenced-based integrative oncology; 2. Train 100 integrative oncology leaders (25 participants per course x 4 courses = 100) via the short-course developed in aim #1; 3. Create partnerships between oncology leaders and complementary practitioners (who provide the majority of complementary oncology services) within their communities (~25 community-based complementary partners per year {one per oncology leader} for a total of 100 over 4 years); 4. Evaluate the impact of this short-course by measuring the process and the outcomes of the various educational activities over the course, and measuring the implementation and outcomes of the capstone projects initiated by participants at their home institutions after completion of the program; and to 5. Disseminate the findings through peer-reviewed journals, presentations at professional meetings, and through both conventional and integrative oncology networks and associations. A variety of evidence-based educational strategies (courses, web-based and print media) will be used to achieve the largest impact and to enhance project sustainability. Extensive process and outcome evaluation strategies will be used to measure the effectiveness of these educational efforts.

Public Health Relevance

There are over 13 million cancer survivors in the US today and the majority of these cancer survivors are utilizing complementray therapies at some time after their cancer diagnosis. Despite the high utilization of complementary therapies by cancer patients and the growing body of positive and negative evidence on these therapies, there are currently no training programs for oncology professionals to prepare them to evaluate the evidence and use of complementary modalities and limited integration of evidence-based complementary treatments into oncology practice. This proposal would train 100 oncology professinals to become integrative oncology leaders in their communities and home institutions, thus helping to provide better integration of care and improve the quality of life of cancer patients.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Education Projects (R25)
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Subcommittee I - Transistion to Independence (NCI)
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Korczak, Jeannette F
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University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Family Medicine
Schools of Medicine
Ann Arbor
United States
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