About the ACTION Program

The MCC 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 cancer-focused career.

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 education intervention since 2018. 

On this page, you will find information about the program's goals, outreach efforts and more. For more information, consider visiting the additional pages to the right.





  • To develop participants’ cancer research knowledge and skills through cross-disciplinary faculty-mentored research training experiences.
  • To enhance students’ cancer-focused career preparation by providing didactic cancer education and career development mentoring through faculty-led courses, workshops, seminars, and career coaching and mentoring.
  • To conduct outreach activities in participant communities to increase the understanding of the research and clinical aspects of cancer and the importance of science education among universities; primary and secondary school groups; civic organizations; health care providers; and the families and communities of our student participants.
  • To evaluate program progress and impacts, focusing on longitudinal participant data (including tracking progression of participants through their academic and professional careers) and outreach activity efficacy.
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Markey’s ACTION Program Hosts Successful Inaugural Summer Residential Program

Students will be paired with a research faculty mentor who will provide an enriching research experience and with a clinical faculty mentor who will provide a clinical perspective on cancer. Students will obtain didactic cancer education and participate in outreach activities. We will also form a peer-to-peer mentoring network in which current UK graduate students and ACTION students will meet formally at least once per month and more informally as desired. Within the academic year our students will be expected to dedicate at least 10 hours per week to the program, and during the summer, students will dedicate 40 hours per week.

Ultimately, we will create an atmosphere of career development, lifelong learning, and sustained mentorship that will be focused on training the next generation of cancer researchers, education/prevention experts, and/or clinicians or other healthcare providers.

Participants of the ACTION Program will work with program personnel to provide cancer research and clinical cancer education information to Appalachian Kentucky residents. The outreach activities will focus specifically on three target audiences:

  1. Middle school, high school and undergraduate students.
  2. Parents and families of the ACTION participants.
  3. Teachers, community members and civic leaders.

Through involvement in outreach activities, ACTION participants will be trained to become change agents in their communities related to enhancing cancer-related literacy throughout Appalachian Kentucky.

Have a question you aren't finding an answer to?

Download our Frequently Asked Questions guide (PDF, 0.1 MB)

For further inquiries, please email ACTION Program Coordinator Chris Prichard.

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.