Improving Multi-site Interaction Through Remote Learning Technology: Report from a Training Program to Increase Underrepresented Undergraduate and Medical Students in Health Disparities Research

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Journal of Cancer Education


Since 2018, we have evaluated the effectiveness of various teaching technologies for training young investigators on translational research in cancer health disparities. The Southeast Partnership for Improving Research and Training in Cancer Health Disparities (SPIRIT-CHD) unites Moffitt Cancer Center and the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. One of the main components of the SPIRIT-CHD is the Cancer Research Education Program (CREP) for training undergraduate and medical students from underrepresented backgrounds. The CREP utilizes a web-based didactic curriculum to engage students at both institutions in biobanking, precision medicine, and cancer health disparities topics. We report experiences from our cross-institutional cancer education program, specifically evaluating the cohorts’ satisfaction and learning gains using various communication technologies and instructional approaches. Trainees completed a survey with questions evaluating the curriculum and technology. Trainees reported satisfaction with the flipped classroom model (FCM) content and overall program (mean score = 3.2, SD = 0.79), and would recommend the program to peers. Yet, despite improved program delivery, trainees felt interaction between the two sites (mean score = 1.5, SD = 0.85) and engagement with faculty (mean score = 2.80, SD = 1.14) could be improved. The technology with the highest reported use was e-mail, with a mean score of 4.6 (SD = 0.52). LinkedIn and Twitter had the lowest frequency of use with mean scores at 1.90 (SD = 0.99) and 1.30 (SD = 1.34). Our study highlights the successes and challenges of remote learning using technology to increase interaction and engagement among trainees and faculty in a multi-site cancer research training program.