Building Capacity in Implementation Science for Cancer Prevention and Control Through a Research Network Scholars Program

J Cancer Educ. 2021 Jul 9;1-10. doi: 10.1007/s13187-021-02066-3. Online ahead of print.


Building capacity of researchers and practitioners in the dissemination and implementation (D&I) of evidence-based interventions is greatly needed to improve cancer prevention and control. A diverse workforce trained in D&I science is critical for improving cancer outcomes and reducing cancer-related health disparities. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN) Scholars Program aimed at training students, researchers, and practitioners in D&I for cancer prevention and control launched in 2021. The purpose of this paper is to describe the creation of the training program, curriculum, and evaluation plans, and to present the baseline results and lessons learned. CPCRN investigator and partner input and formative interviews (n = 16) with assistant professors, postdoctoral fellow, doctoral and undergraduate students, and a program manager guided development of the program. Twenty of 24 applicants were accepted into the inaugural year of the program. The majority of accepted scholars identified as female (80%) and were graduate students (50%). Thirty-five percent were of racially diverse backgrounds. Most self-rated their previous D&I experience and competencies at a beginner level. The multi-step approach used for development of this training program and lessons learned will be helpful for others collaborating on preparing the research and practice workforce in D&I science.

Keywords: Cancer disparities; Implementation science; Mentorship; Professional development; Research network; Training.