The American Cancer Society is partnering with the Howard University College of Medicine in D.C. and three other historically Black medical schools for the new Diversity in Cancer Research pilot program.
Charles Drew College of Medicine, Meharry Medical College and Morehouse School of Medicine will also receive a portion of the $12 million investment. The focus is on improving equity and inclusion among cancer care researchers while providing funding and mentors.
Carla Williams is an associate professor of medicine and public health at Howard and the interim director of the university’s cancer center. She said Howard is expected to support at least 12 master scholars and 12 additional new researchers over the program’s four-year period. The money will play a crucial role in giving clinical faculty more time to focus on their cancer research and scholarly activities.
“We’re hoping that this will actually launch the careers of a new generation of scientists and reduce the burden of cancer on communities that have not been historically well served,” Williams said.
“The American Cancer Society is committed to launching the brightest minds into cancer research and to reducing health disparities,” said Dr. William Cance, chief medical and scientific officer for the American Cancer Society. “To accomplish this, we believe it is essential to invest in the minority workforce and their dedicated efforts to solve disparities and establish equity in cancer care.”
The four HBCUs have received Diversity in Cancer Research grants in a pilot program for 2021-2022. Overall, the funds are expected to help launch the careers of 104 researchers at the four HBCUs by 2025.