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.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.