ABSTRACT: Oncology training programs: are we doing comparative effectiveness research justice?
Comparative effectiveness research (CER) is defined as an assessment of all available options for a specific medical condition, with intent to estimate effectiveness in specific subpopulations. Medical professionals must receive training in CER, including its general goals, the ‘toolbox’ necessary to perform CER and its design. Oncologic training programs are currently not doing justice to CER: a rationale for conducting CER has been proposed, funding from the US government is available, but encouragement from oncologic residencies and fellowships is minimal. Encouragement to train oncologic physicians in CER is limited by a few factors, including inadequate emphasis on evidence weighing, and no explicit mention of factors key to CER in the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education guidelines. As residency program requirements transition to milestone-based curricula and evaluations, explicit recommendations regarding CER and patient-centered outcomes research should be implemented for all programs. Upper level trainees who have reached milestones related to CER will be competitive applicants for research funding.