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The work of the Research and Training Institute is built on our long-standing, deep commitment to conducting cutting edge research to improve quality of care.

To achieve our mission, we draw on the expertise of the RTI staff as well as a broad range of strategic partnerships with other organizations, academicians and individuals representing the cancer community.

Our research areas include

  • The impact of psychosocial support
  • Access and barriers to care 
  • Doctor-patient communication 
  • Treatment decision making
  • Adherence to treatment 
  • Lifestyle issues
  • Patient and caregiver knowledge and attitudes on key cancer related issues such as cost of care and clinical trials 

One special area of interest is developing programs to effectively meet the individual emotional and social concerns of patients as well as assist patients in expressing their needs and wants during cancer care.

Guided by community-initiated research collaborations, these programs undergo rigorous scientific evaluation and include Open to Options® and CancerSupportSource®. Open to Options provides support for treatment decision making by helping patients understand their options and improve the quality of communication with their physicians and health care team. CancerSupportSource is a web-based distress screening, referral and follow-up program. Given the broadening implementation of these evidenced-based programs, we are now exploring best practices and the cost benefit and effectiveness for those implementing the programs. Evidence-based programs developed at the RTI are tested using implementation science and disseminated across CSC’s affiliate network, CSC’s Helpline and hospital-based programs, as well as through other national and regional outlets with a focus on quality, cost-effectiveness and best practices training.

The Cancer Experience Registry is currently the flagship program of the Research and Training Institute. This unique online community is a forum for people facing cancer to identify the issues impacting their lives by responding to survey questions, sharing experiences and connecting to each other. Participating patients and caregivers also receive targeted and tailored education and resources. We encourage patients and caregivers to explore this remarkable resource and join the Cancer Experience Registry.

The information gained from the Cancer Experience Registry and other programs is a valuable resource in developing programs and services. We also report our findings through our contributions to professional journals and meetings, and our reports to the Advisory Boards that provide direction to the Cancer Experience Registry and other endeavors.

At the Research and Training Institute, we believe that research that actively involves patients and caregivers is a highly effective tool for fueling advocacy and advancing quality of care for every person impacted by cancer. We also believe that effective programming is that which has been rigorously tested through research.