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Cancer Research Education Program (C-REP)


The Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma State University (OSU), and the Stephenson Cancer Center (SCC) at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center (OUHSC) have partnered together on a National Cancer Institute-funded Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (PACHE) P20 program to develop a Cancer Research Education Program (C-REP). The C-REP aims to expand the pool of students, researchers, and collaborators who meaningfully engage in American Indian cancer health equity research. The C-REP includes a series of research experiences, curricula, and outreach programs to provide cancer health equity training and career development to undergraduate students, graduate students, medical students, early stage investigators, as well as SCC and OSU faculty and staff learners.

C-REP Research Experiences

CRISP for Undergraduates

The C-REP has developed the Cancer Research Immersion Summer Program (CRISP) which is a nine-week summer research program for undergraduate students to gain experience in cancer health equity research. CRISP provides formal mentorship and hands-on research experiences as well as the opportunity for students to present their research at the conclusion of the program. The CRISP research topic areas are focused on American Indian cancer health equity research and may be related to basic laboratory science, clinical and translational research, or public and community health.

For more information about CRISP, click HERE

Medical Student Research Experiences

The C-REP offers hands-on research experiences for medical student volunteers at the partnering locations (SCC and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City or Tulsa, OSU in Stillwater, and Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah) during the summer to align with the CRISP program or throughout the year as part of a research rotation.

Early Stage Investigators Pilot Research Projects

The C-REP provides training and career development opportunities for both early stage investigators and students at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels through hands-on experiences related to the two pilot research studies in the P20 PACHE program. 

Research Pilot 1 Electronic Cigarette Use among Pregnant American Indian Women: This project addresses electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use among American Indian pregnant women. This pilot study uses biochemical verification of nicotine exposures and survey data to describe baseline prevalence of e-cigarette and tobacco use, cotinine levels, and patterns of use among pregnant American Indian women. The study aims to describe perceptions of health risks associated with tobacco and e-cigarette use during pregnancy and assess the prevalence of low birth weight and preterm birth among infants of American Indian women by tobacco and e-cigarette status.

Research Pilot 2 Tobacco Cessation among American Indian Cancer Survivors in Cherokee Nation: This project evaluates tobacco cessation experiences and examine current tobacco cessation practices delivered in primary care and oncology care among American Indian cancer survivors served in the Cherokee Nation Health System. This study aims to identify barriers and facilitators to tobacco cessation support and develop tailored strategies to improve implementation of tobacco cessation services at Cherokee Nation.


The C-REP has a diverse pool of existing mentors identified for the program located in Oklahoma City, Stillwater, Tulsa, and Tahlequah. Mentoring relationships are guided by best practices in communication, aligning expectations, equity and inclusion, fostering independence, and professional development. Mentors can receive training through the Oklahoma Center for Mentoring Excellence.

C-REP Cancer Research Methods Training Series

The C-REP is currently developing a Cancer Research Methods Training Series, which will include various in-person and web-based lectures, workshops, and short courses on specific research methods to support tobacco and cancer health equity research across institutions.

C-REP Community Outreach

Reducing Cancer Burden in American Indian Communities Lecture Series (RAISE)

Through seminars, we will increase awareness and knowledge among SCC investigators and OUHSC students of the significance of American Indian cancer health equity and appropriate approaches to conduct cancer health equity research in partnership with Cherokee Nation. Tobacco- and cancer-related seminars and workshops hosted at OSU will aim to raise awareness, knowledge, and understanding of research and cancer-related concepts, research processes, and approaches among undergraduate, graduate and professional students at OSU. Additional focus will be on disseminating information about cancer-related career opportunities for OSU students. The resulting RAISE, focused on tobacco-related cancer equity research, will include six seminars per year, two hosted at each site of the C-REP Collaborative (SCC, OSU and Cherokee Nation) with Zoom video connections to the other two sites.

Cherokee Nation Outreach and Engagement Series: Resilience against Cancer (CN-RAC)

We will collaborate with Cherokee Nation personnel to develop a 4-part series focused on American Indian cancer health equity and approaches to improving health outcomes through research and education. This short course series, Cherokee Nation Outreach and Engagement Series: Resilience against Cancer (CN-RAC), will be delivered at Cherokee Nation. The objective of this series will be to educate community members and health personnel at Cherokee Nation about cancer epidemiology and cancer burden in Cherokee Nation; cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and health outcomes; tobacco-associated risk; and cancer research methods. A unique opportunity for student- and community-focused outreach exists with the tribally-affiliated osteopathic medical school in Tahlequah, OK, the location of the tribe’s headquarters, hospital, and public health department.