community scientist institute

Community Scientist Institute

Cancer is the leading cause of premature death before the age of 65. As the early onset and diagnosis of cancer continues to increase, we need more community voices involved to develop new ways to reduce the cancer burden.


This six-week course delivered through the Continuing Education Program at The City College of New York is designed to introduce the concepts and skills to individuals who are interested in developing community-relevant research. The course is specifically designed to engage community members in addressing the cancer burden in New York City. Cancer is the leading cause of premature death before the age of 65.

As the onset and diagnosis of cancer continues to increase, we need more community voices involved to develop new ways to reduce the cancer burden. Individuals are expected to attend in-person sessions on Saturdays and review the course material online for each module prior to the next class.

Course Objectives

  • Present an overview on cancer and the cancer burden
  • Introduce the principles of research, including study design and protocol development
  • Provide essential training in the skills to become more involved in community-relevant research
  • Increase diversity in workforce for clinical and public health research

Course Principles

  • No prerequisites
  • Hybrid program with recorded material and on-site Saturday workshops
  • Networking and resources for graduates after training

After completion of these core modules, participants will be able to:

  • Serve on IRBs and as community research advocates on grant applications
  • Obtain clinical research skills to become community research advocates

Course Outline

*Subject to Changes*

Module 1: Introduction to Cancer and Why Community Scientists are Essential (Week 1)

  • Patterns of Cancer Diagnoses and Mortality
  • Role of cancer in overall life expectancy and premature mortality
  • Cancer risk reduction
  • Social Determinants of Cancer
  • Community level vs individual level
  • Smoking and environmental exposures
  • HPV and Hepatitis vaccines
  • Physical activity and weight gain
  • Sun Safety
  • Alcohol and binge drinking
  • Diet and Cooking Methods
  • Intro to Biosimilar Medicine
  • Precision Medicine
  • Biospecimens for Research
  • Personalized Medicine & Targeted Therapies
  • Genomics in Cancer
  • Pathology and Tissue Research
  • Targeted Therapies
  • Cancer Terminology
  • Genetics (germline vs random/sporadic mutations)
  • DNA repair
  • Tumor suppressors vs. oncogenes
  • Initiator vs Promoter
  • Cancer Development

Module 2: Cancer Research (Week 2)

  • How Disparities in Cancer Diagnoses Impact Health Equity
  • Resources on Cancer Disparities and Health Equity
  • What is Community Based Participatory Research?
  • What is Comparative Effectiveness Research?
  • What is Research Advocacy?
  • Research Advocacy in Translational Science
  • How Patient Advocates Contribute to Cancer Research
  • Utilizing Social Media and the Internet for Research and Education
  • Deficit Model vs. Dialogue Model

Module 3: Clinical Trials (Week 3)

  • What is a Clinical Trial? (Phase I, II, and III)
  • Why are Clinical Trials Important?
  • Phases of Clinical Trials
  • Drug Discovery and Development
  • Drug Approval and Labeling
  • Placebos in Cancer Clinical Trials
  • Human Subjects and Ethics
  • IRB Protocols & Case Studies
  • What is Informed Consent?
  • Finding a Clinical Trial
  • Participating in A Clinical Trial: Questions for Healthcare Team
  • Patient Safety in Clinical Trials
  • Barriers to Enrollment in Clinical Trials and Health Empowerment
  • Health Insurance and Coverage of Clinical Trials

Module 4: Clinical Research Training- Part I (Week 4)

  • What is Community Translational Research?
  • The Scientific Method
  • Develop a Research Question
  • Testing a Hypothesis
  • Basic Laboratory and Pre-Clinical Studies
  • Translation of Laboratory Findings to Human Studies
  • Observational Designs vs. Clinical Trials
  • Incorporation of Statistics in Research

Module 5: Clinical Research Training- Part II (Week 5)

  • How to Recruit and Retain Subjects for a Clinical Trial
  • Community Engagement
  • Best Tools for Collecting Data
  • Why Quality and Accuracy Matters
  • How to Publish Research Finding

Module 6: Career Development Workshops (Week 6)

  • The Interview: Tips for Success
  • Cover Letters: How to Impress Your Potential Employer
  • Navigating STEM Job Boards
  • Networking Skills

Last Updated: 10/13/2022 16:23