What is CaRES?

CaRES is the Cancer Research Experiences for Students program that provides paid summer cancer research internships for medical students, other health professional students, and graduate students, for projects done on the UAB campus in Birmingham, or at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama.  CaRES is funded by a generous research training grant (5R25 CA76023) from the National Cancer Institute and has supported over 640 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 (h2obor@uab.edu) 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 about March 1 although CaRES projects cannot begin until May. 

CaRES Interns are medical students, other health professional students, and graduate students in disciplines such as Medicine, Public Health, 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 8 to 15 weeks (as negotiated between intern and preceptor) and must start and end within a designated period from May through 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-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 (“RCR”) topics such as protection of human subjects, appropriate handling of research data, and criteria for inclusion in the authorship of a paper.  In summer 2017 there will be approximately 10 hours of didactic presentations (some in-class, some online) as well as a poster session wherein all CaRES interns will present their research methods and findings.  All CaRES interns are required to attend or participate.    

CaRES Presentations on the UAB campus are welcomed at several regularly scheduled research conferences, as presented in the table below.  Be aware that the dates listed are tentative and may be changed.  Some CaRES preceptors financially support the attendance of their CaRES students at professional conferences where their CaRES research is to be presented.  CaRES has funds to support training-related expenses, including poster preparation for all CaRES students; as well as travel, per diem, and conference registration, for CaRES students who have no other source of support to present their research off-campus at a professional meeting.  Also, each summer the CaRES Travel Award* is given to the CaRES student who presents the poster judged to be the best in the CaRES category at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Annual Research Retreat.

UAB Research Conference Tentative Date in 2017-2018

CaRES Seminar Series
[Required of all CaRES interns]

Weekly meetings to be scheduled in May through August 2017
UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) Annual Research Retreat
[*Travel Award for best CaRES poster]
October xx, 2017
UAB Medical Student Research Day
[Requirement for UAB medical students]
October 27, 2017
UAB Graduate Student Research Days March, 2018
UAB Public Health Research/Practice Day April, 2018
UAB Health Dipsarities Research Symposium April, 2018

CaRES Program Evaluation is necessary for continued receipt of funding from NCI . . . and for continuous improvement of the program.  As CaRES projects are completed near summer’s end, 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, cancer research findings, and cancer-related clinical and service activities.  CaRES Interns are asked to provide their current and future contact information, as well as contact information for parents, other relatives, or close friends, who will always know their whereabouts and can forward them CaRES requests for career information. 

CaRES Questions should be addressed to Program Director John W. Waterbor, MD, DrPH, at the UAB School of Public Health (205-934-7146; h2obor@uab.edu; Ryals Building – 227C). 

Dr. John Waterbor
January 17, 2017