CaRES Overview

Exit Evaluation to be completed by 2016 CaRES preceptors here!


GREAT NEWS! CaRES has been funded by the National Cancer Institute for 5 more years (Summers 2016 - 2020) thanks to all past CaRES Interns and Preceptors who made CaRES a great success!

For those of you familiar with CaRES: the program is largely unchanged but there are several new features to tell you about.

1) Eligible students: in addition to UAB medical students, graduate public health students, graduate nursing students, and dental students . . . medical students from the University of South Alabama (USA), veterinary students and pharmacy students from Auburn University; and pharmacy students from Samford University, are eligible to be CaRES Interns!

2) Project sites: as in the past, all CaRES projects will be based on the UAB campus or at institutions affiliated with UAB. We are proud to add a new affiliate where cutting-edge cancer research is done: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, AL, where we plan to base two or more projects!

3) Enhanced curriculum: we have replaced our all-day CaRES Career Development Seminar held each July with a CaRES Seminar Series of ten two-hour seminars in June and July. Topics will include student presentations, lectures on career development, and lectures on responsible conduct of research.

4) Mentoring contract: we have replaced our CaRES studentpreceptor agreement form with a mentoring contract that ensures that all CaRES projects will be completed efficiently and in a way that maximizes the learning of each student.

5) Program faculty and staff: Dr. Peter Smith (UAB School of Medicine) joins Dr. John Waterbor as a program director. Dr. Renee Desmond remains Associate Director for student research, Dr. Michael Brooks remains Evaluation Director, Dr. Allison Litton joins us to evaluate new aspects of CaRES, and Ms. Judy Baker remains Internship Coordinator.

For those of you unfamiliar with CaRES or who need a review: below we summarize everything you need to know about the CaRES program, with additional details available elsewhere on our website. Thanks for your interest in the CaRES program!

CaRES is the Cancer Research Experiences for Students program that provides paid summer cancer research internships for UAB medical students and graduate students on the UAB campus or at institutions affiliated with UAB.  CaRES is funded by a generous research training grant (5R25 CA76023) from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and has supported over 540 students since its initial funding in 1999.  Due to federal funding policies only students who are American citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. are eligible to participate in CaRES.

CaRES Preceptors are UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) faculty members who are actively engaged in cancer research. Each January and February these faculty members are invited to submit cancer research project descriptions to the CaRES website. Eligible students schedule interviews with the preceptors of all projects in which they have serious interest and for which they feel they are well-suited in terms of their academic and research backgrounds. The CaRES Preceptors interview as many students as they wish, then they select the students whose background and experience fit best with their research program. Once a faculty member and a student have agreed to work with one another, each should email CaRES Program Director Dr. John Waterbor ( to commit to working together. The student must also attach his or her CV or resume’ so that program eligibility can be verified. The first 40 “self-matches” are funded to do CaRES projects. Typically all CaRES Interns are selected by March 1 although CaRES projects cannot begin until late May.

CaRES Interns are medical students and graduate (master’s or doctoral) students in Medicine, Public Health, Dentistry, Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, and Pharmacy who participate in the program. Recruitment of qualified minority students is emphasized. High school students and undergraduate students are ineligible unless they are incoming medical students or graduate students, and hold a letter of acceptance from the UAB School of Medicine or UAB Graduate School. Students may participate as CaRES Interns in two or more summers.

CaRES Internships can be undertaken in the summer prior to enrollment in medical school or graduate school, in the summer immediately following graduation from medical school or graduate school, or in any summer in between. All CaRES projects last from 6 to 12 weeks (at the discretion of the preceptor) and must start and end within a designated period from late May through late August. Each CaRES Intern is paid $400/week for his or her work, and will be fully paid upon completion of his or her CaRES project and completion of all evaluation surveys. A mentoring contract is completed by each Intern and Preceptor pair before the summer begins, so that each Intern will know what is expected of him or her with regard to project completion.

CaRES Seminar Series is held each summer to allow all CaRES Interns to present the highlights of their research methods and findings to their fellow Interns and to CaRES program faculty. In addition guest speakers present career development topics such as interviewing for research positions and publishing in peer-reviewed journals; while other speakers present responsible conduct of research topics such as protection of human subjects, appropriate handling of research data, and qualifications to be included in the authorship of a paper. There will be approximately 20 hours of seminars (ten sessions of two hours, with possibly a few longer sessions). All CaRES interns are required to attend most or all of the CaRES seminars, as specified each year.

CaRES Presentations are welcomed and encouraged at several regularly scheduled research conferences on the UAB campus, as listed in the table below. Be aware that the dates listed are tentative and may be changed. In addition, Interns should talk with their Preceptors about presenting their CaRES research off campus, at local, regional, or national professional meetings. CaRES has funds to support the travel, per diem, and conference registration for only one student each summer who is given the CaRES Travel Award* for the best CaRES poster presented at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Annual Research Retreat. In the past some CaRES preceptors have supported the attendance of their CaRES students at professional conferences where their CaRES research can be presented.

UAB Research Conference

Tentative Date in 2016

UAB Graduate Student Research Days

March 9-11

UAB Public Health Research and Practice Day

April 6

UAB Health Disparities Research Symposium

April 21-22

CaRES Seminar Series
[Required of all CaRES interns]

Mondays from June 6 through August 15

(except for July 4 holiday)

UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) Annual Research Retreat

[*Travel Award given for best CaRES poster]

October 17

UAB Medical Student Research Day
[Requirement for UAB medical students]

November 4

CaRES Program Evaluation is necessary for continued receipt of funding from NCI . . . and for continuous improvement of the program. CaRES is evaluated in three ways: a mid-summer open-ended survey of all CaRES Interns; at summer’s end by exit evaluation surveys completed by Interns and Preceptors; and longitudinally by tracking Interns to record their career choices and professional accomplishments following graduation. A brief mid-summer evaluation is conducted in order to identify problems or issues that could be resolved quickly, thereby improving the quality of the internship for its remaining weeks. As CaRES projects are completed, all Interns and Preceptors complete exit evaluation questionnaires that measure their satisfaction with the CaRES program and probe for suggestions to improve CaRES. In addition, CaRES longitudinally tracks all Interns for a minimum of five years after internship completion in order to record career choices, citations of peer-reviewed publications, other cancer research achievements, and cancer-related clinical and service activities. CaRES Interns are asked to provide their current contact information, future contact information (if known), and the contact information for parents, other relatives or close friends who will always know their whereabouts, so that CaRES can efficiently track them to collect the data that we need.

CaRES Questions  should be addressed to Program Director John W. Waterbor, MD, DrPH, at the UAB School of Public Health (205-934-7146;; Ryals Building – 227C). 

Thank you for your interest in CaRES!