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 students’ cancer research knowledge and skills through cross-disciplinary, faculty- and peer-mentored research training experiences. 
  • To enhance students’ career preparation by providing cancer education and career development curriculum through faculty- and peer-led courses, workshops, seminars, and career coaching and mentoring. 
  • To increase the understanding of the research and clinical aspects of cancer and the importance of science education among students and teachers, parents/caregivers and families of ACTION students, and general community members through impactful outreach activities in students’ communities.
fixes empty view field issue
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 also have peer mentors who will provide mentorship on navigating the research environment and conducting experiments, understanding academic programs and coursework, and the importance of participating in career development events and programs. The peers will also provide general personal and professional advice, share experiences, and serve as role models. We will also form a peer-to-peer mentoring network in which peer mentors and ACTION students will meet formally at least once per month as a group and more informally as desired. Students will also obtain didactic cancer education and participate in outreach activities. 

Within the academic year our students will be expected to dedicate at least 15 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.

Outreach activities will be extensive and focus on enhancing the community’s understanding of cancer to help address the cancer disparities in Appalachian Kentucky and convey the value of a science education in general, and, more specifically, the value of pursuing a biomedical career in a supportive environment. The outreach activities will focus specifically on three target audiences:

  1. Students and teachers. 
  2. Parents/caregivers and families of ACTION students. 
  3. General community members. 

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.

NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - A Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

Markey Cancer Center is designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center – a distinction that recognizes our commitment to accelerating precision cancer research and care to patients. We are the first and only NCI-Comprehensive Cancer Center in Kentucky, and one of 57 in the nation.