Evaluation of a Transdisciplinary Cancer Research Training Program for Under-Represented Minority Students

Michael T Halpern, SJ Dodd, Carolyn Y. Fang, YIN TAN, Lin Zhu, Olorunseun Ogunwobi, Grace Xueqin Ma
InSITE 2019  •  2019  •  pp. 099-108
Aim/Purpose: This paper will describe the initial development of systems to evaluate research education activities of a U.S. academic Partnership to train minority students as cancer researchers and provide preliminary data from monitoring Partnership activities during the first six months.

Background: There is increased focus on multidisciplinary/transdisciplinary research training programs. However, few training programs have included detailed evaluations to assess their outcomes and effectiveness.

Methods: The Temple University/Fox Chase Cancer Center and Hunter College Regional Comprehensive Cancer Health Disparity Partnership (TUFCCC/HC Cancer Partnership, or the Partnership) is a recently-initiated center focused on training individuals from under-represented minorities (URMs) as cancer researchers. Evaluation of the training activities involves detailed specification of goals for each of the Partnership’s Cores; objectives for addressing each goal; measures and indicators to determine progress towards each objective; and data sources to provide information for the measures/indicators.

Contribution: This paper will provide important information for evaluation of training programs focused on students from URM populations and development of transdisciplinary research education programs.

Findings: Goals, objectives, measures, and data sources for evaluation of the Partnership’s Research Education Core (REC) were developed jointly by personnel from the REC and the Planning Evaluation Core (PEC) in an iterative process. These measures capture the training activities led by the REC (e.g., number of seminars and workshops), scientific output by trainees (e.g., papers and grants), and ability of the program to meet trainees’ goals and expectations.

Recommendations for Practitioners and Researchers: Evaluation plans for transdisciplinary training programs need to be developed prior to program initiation. Evaluation measures should be jointly specified by training and evaluation personnel, then reviewed and revised in an iterative process.

Impact on Society: This program is intended to enhance diversity among cancer researchers and increase studies to address disparities in cancer care.

Future Research: The PEC will oversee the evaluation of Partnership training activities over the five year period and assist Partnership leaders in ensuring successful outcomes.
academic training, neoplasms, research center, doctoral students, minority groups
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