Appalachian Career Training in Oncology (ACTION) Program

The Markey Cancer Center’s Appalachian Career Training in Oncology (ACTION) Program offers Appalachian Kentucky high school and undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Kentucky the opportunity to gain cancer research, clinical, outreach and education experiences that will enrich their interest in pursuing a biomedical career with a focus on cancer-related careers. ACTION was created in 2016 through a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) supplement and has been funded as an NCI Youth Enjoy Science program since 2018. 





 To be eligible for the ACTION program, students must be one of the following:

  • Enrolled in a high school within Appalachian Kentucky as a freshman, sophomore, or junior beginning in August 2022
  • A current 12th-grade student at a high school within Appalachia Kentucky accepted as an incoming freshman for the fall 2022 semester at the University of Kentucky.
  • A current University of Kentucky freshman, sophomore or junior.

View the map below to see which counties are eligible for prospective ACTION Program students.

Please find application forms and details for application windows below.

  • ACTION Program Undergraduate and High School applications will be available on Friday, December 3, 2021, at 5 p.m.
    • Undergraduate Applications will be due Friday, March 25, 2022, by 5 p.m.
    • High School Applications will be due Friday, May 13, 2022, by 5 p.m.

Application Forms and Recommendations

Please take note of the key ACTION Program dates for high school participants below.

ACTION Program Saturday Session Schedule 2022-2023

Monthly Saturday Sessions

  • September 17
  • October 8
  • November 19
  • December 10
  • January 21
  • February 18
  • March 18
  • April 15
  • May 13

* Unless special times are announced, monthly sessions will begin at 10am and end by 4pm.

ACTION High School Summer Residential Program Dates

  • Saturday, June 10, 2023 (Move-In Day)
  • Saturday, July 15, 2023 (Closing banquet/Move-out)

In preparation for the ACTION summer program, high school participants must review and return certain documents such as permission forms, photo waivers, a student contract and more.

These forms are due by May 1st.

Nathan Vanderford

Nathan Vanderford, PhD, MBA

H174 Chandler Hospital 
Lexington KY 40536-0293

Phone: 859-323-2622 
Twitter: @nlvanderford





Chris Prichard

ACTION Program Coordinator
Phone: 859-323-4780
Cell: 606-207-1055




If you wish to schedule a meeting with the program coordinator to learn more about the ACTION Program, please use the following link:

program badge

ACTION Program Badge

Participants that complete the ACTION Program will be awarded an ACTION Program Completion Badge. This digital badge signifies the totality of participants’ work in the program and their preparedness to address the cancer disparities in Appalachian Kentucky by pursuing cancer-related careers and conducting impactful community outreach to enhance cancer awareness across the region.   

Upon completion of the program, Chris Prichard will email participants a final survey to complete followed by downloads of the digital badge for personal and professional use.

Markey Cancer Center is NCI-designated

The UK Markey Cancer Center was first designated by the National Cancer Institute in 2013 – a distinction that recognizes our extraordinary ability to provide world-class care for our patients. We are the only NCI-designated cancer center in Kentucky and one of only 71 in the nation.