Program Components

Didactic Curriculum

The K12 curriculum accommodates the varying needs and flexibility required for effective patient-oriented research and emphasizes multidisciplinary collaboration. The didactic curriculum aligns training efforts throughout City of Hope and integrates educational and scientific technology to increase efficiency and educational impact, while providing a forum for multi- and interdisciplinary education in clinical and translational research.

The use of technologically advanced, user-friendly, web-based platforms enables K12 scholars to view instructional content, easily collaborate with other educators or scholars, evaluate performance and access a multitude of learning resources with a great degree of flexibility.

Currently, K12 course lectures are captured on video and archived on the Clinical Investigation Training Program (CITP) Learning Management System, providing a portal for scholars to review lecture materials on demand (a supplemental resource since they are required to attend class lectures).

The current City of Hope K12 core curriculum is based on a modified quarter system, beginning with fall, then winter, spring and summer. It trains scholars in statistical design and the development, oversight and analysis of clinical investigation, These are indispensable tools for a successful career in human subject research. In addition to mastering the essentials of trial or study development and methodology, scholars are also provided with crucial fundamental knowledge on human subject protection, responsible conduct of research, good clinical practice and building consent forms. The “hands-on” approach detailed throughout the curriculum also develops the scholars’ proficiencies in scientific writing and communication.

Career Development Plans

Each K12 scholar develops an individual Career Development Plan with his or her mentor that includes an education plan. This Career Development Plan includes specific areas of interest and can consist of elective courses at City of Hope, as well as at other institutions. Jonathan Espenschied, M.D., and Joanne Mortimer, M.D., review the Career Development Plan with the scholar, which is then presented to the Advisory Committee for final approval.

Research Seminars and Career Development Activities

Scholars also continue their training experience throughout their tenure by attending research seminars and participating in multidisciplinary journal clubs, tumor boards, disease-site research meetings and City of Hope comprehensive cancer center program retreats, as well as expanding their specific supervised clinical research. Scholars’ activities are carefully assessed during all aspects of the training period, with quarterly reports of their research progress submitted to the Advisory Committee, and regular meetings with Mortimer and Espenschied.


Developing a successful cancer research career requires strong relationships with mentors and a research team. Each scholar will select both a clinical and a laboratory mentor upon entrance into the program. The Advisory Committee will review each new scholar’s selected mentors and may recommend different or additional mentors based on the scholar’s proposed research proposal, career goals and educational plan. The mentors will work on a daily basis to supervise the scholar’s research program, evaluate his or her progress, and serve as role models.

Evaluation Plan

A summary of the evaluation plan including processes and milestones is shown below.

Activity Timing Milestones/Goal K12 Membership
Scholar Selection One month prior to entry in program Selection of new scholars; Review of mentors; Review of translational research proposal; additional recommendations for research proposals, training, and coursework. Advisory Committee
Orientation Immediately after selection of scholars Meeting with PI/PD to review K12 expectations, career goals, educational plan, and mentor/scholar responsibilities. PI/PD, scholars, mentors
Progress Report Quarterly Written assessment of scholar progress by both mentors. Scholars, PI/PD, mentors
Scholar presentations Quarterly meetings (each scholar presents every 6 months) Scholar presentations to Advisory Committee and mentors; Advisory committee provides written critiques of scholar presentations and progress. Advisory Committee, scholars, mentors, PI/PD
Feedback to and from scholar After Quarterly presentations PI/PD review and Advisory Committee critiques and discuss any potential problems or barriers to scholar’s success; PI/PD, Advisory Committee
Feedback from scholar PI/PD, scholars
Review of scholar progress by both mentors after meeting with scholar. Mentors, scholars
Annual review Yearly Review of progress of all scholars and approval to continue in Program. Advisory Commit