UK HealthCare

Opportunity Open for Appalachian Students Interested in Cancer-Focused Careers

Scotty Farmer, UK medical student
ACTION Program participants

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 9, 2021) — Appalachian Kentucky high school and undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Kentucky who are interested in pursuing a cancer-focused career have the opportunity to gain cancer research, clinical, outreach and education experiences.

The Appalachian Career Training in Oncology (ACTION) Program, run by the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, is taking applicants to join the two-year program, funded by the National Cancer Institute. ACTION is designed to focus on the research and clinical aspects of oncology and educate students on how to engage and make a difference in their communities through outreach and engagement.

Kentucky is home to some of the highest rates of cancer incidence and mortality in the country, and that problem is further concentrated in the Appalachian region of the state. This makes the program more personal for many applicants.

“Many of us are personally affected by cancer. ACTION aims to train students from Appalachian Kentucky who have deep connections to the region and the disease to be the next generation of cancer health care providers and researchers,” said Nathan Vanderford, director of the ACTION Program. “We also prepare our students to be change agents now by having a positive influence on their families, friends and communities related to cancer awareness, risk factors and healthy behaviors.”

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

  • Enrolled in a high school within Appalachian Kentucky as a freshman or sophomore 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.

Applications are now live for those interested in the ACTION Program. Undergraduate applications are due 5 p.m. Friday, March 25, 2022. High school applications are due 5 p.m. Friday, May 13, 2022.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.