Impact of the Appalachian Career Training in Oncology (ACTION) Program on Undergraduate Participants

Carol D. Hanley, Lauren Hudson, Chris Prichard, Nathan L. Vanderford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Kentucky ranks first in the nation in cancer incidence and mortality. The Appalachian region of the state experiences the highest cancer disparities due to inequities in many social determinants of health. As a strategy for addressing cancer and education disparities in the region, the Appalachian Career Training in Oncology (ACTION) Program at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center engaged 16 Appalachian-native undergraduate student participants annually in cancer-related activities. Students were recruited on an annual basis for the 2-year ACTION program. Entry, mid-point, and exit surveys were administered to participants. Classical test theory and exploratory factor analysis were used to examine the instruments used for program evaluation, whereas repeated measures ANOVA, paired t-tests, chi-squared, and post hoc analyses were used to analyze 6 years of survey data. There was a significant increase in participants’ understanding of cancer-related topics among the entry, midpoint, and exit surveys (p <.001) and a significant increase in comfort with research, clinical, and outreach activities between entry and midpoint and entry and exit (p <.001), but not between midpoint and exit. With respect to research skills and perceptions of the program, increases in mean scores were observed between midpoint and exit, but these increases were not statistically significant (p =.167, p = 223, respectively). ACTION increased participants’ understanding of cancer-related topics; comfort with research, clinical, and outreach activities; and research skills. These data suggest that ACTION has a significant impact on participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-484
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the University of Kentucky’s Appalachian Career Training in Oncology (ACTION) Program [NCI R25CA221765] and the Cancer Center Support Grant [NCI P30CA177558].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s) under exclusive licence to American Association for Cancer Education.


  • Appalachia
  • Cancer research
  • Community outreach
  • Research education
  • Workforce development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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