Sylvester Wins Supplemental NCI Award for Regional Cancer Disparities Research

A National Cancer Institute supplemental award will make the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center the coordinating center for the NCI’s Geographic Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program–Region 3 (GMaP3) — a research consortium of 11 institutions in seven southeastern states and Puerto Rico. The project is part of the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities’ Community Networks Program Centers.

The one-year award totals $170,000 and supplements another five-year NCI grant, awarded in 2010, for cervical cancer research being conducted by Sylvester’s South Florida Center for Reducing Cancer Disparities, also known as SUCCESS. The founders of SUCCESS — Olveen Carrasquillo, M.D., professor of medicine and public health sciences and Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine, and Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of public health sciences and Associate Director for Disparities and Community Outreach at Sylvester — will oversee GMaP3. Both are also Program Directors for Community Engagement at the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Sylvester’s Jay Weiss Institute for Health Equity, which Kobetz directs, will provide infrastructure and resources.

“This award is important for two reasons,” said Kobetz. “First, it builds on our existing grant from the NCI, which is very much about community-based translational research. Second, it promotes research collaboration among institutions that have shared goals but have traditionally worked in silos.”

The GMaP3 award has two components:

1. Communication and Dissemination

a. Expand communication with community health educators in Region 3 to disseminate best practices, resources and tools, including webinars, newsletters and an online repository of health education resources.

b. Strengthen linkage and collaboration among Region 3 cancer disparities research trainees and early-stage investigators by distributing e-newsletters highlighting regional cancer disparities research, training opportunities and job positions.

The coordinator for the communication and dissemination component will be Dorothy Parker, Outreach Manager for the Jay Weiss Institute.

2. Faculty Recruitment/Job Placement

a. Link trainees and external regional experts in cancer health disparities research through an online database. Five trainee mentor pairs will attend a cancer health disparities conference and provide resources to support the review of trainee grant proposals.

b. Develop an online repository of information to help early-stage investigators and trainees with professional development, including online grant-writing seminars and resources for job searches.

The coordinator for the faculty recruitment and job placement component will be Deidre (Nikki) Campbell, Senior Administrative Assistant in the Department of Medicine.

There are plans to expand the program by adding three institutions — the University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of Puerto Rico — which have collaborated in related research programs in the past.

“We are proud to be making this contribution to the NCI’s mission to eliminate cancer disparities in the Southeast through research, training and outreach,” said Carrasquillo. “Networking and information exchange are critical to supporting that mission. We are optimistic that the NCI will renew the program, and that we will be able to continue the work for the next several years.”

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