The Meharry Medical College (MMC) and the Vanderbilt-lngram Cancer Center (VICC) propose to develop a new and innovative program centered on Cancer Survivorship Research and Cancer Survivorship Health Disparities. This is designed to be a sustainable and mutually beneficial program that significantly enhances the current Meharry-Vanderbilt Cancer Partnership (MVCP) funded U54, and efficiently utilizes already established resources. There are now over 11 million people in the United States living with a history of cancer with African Americans experiencing higher rates of mortality than do other racial/ethnic groups for reasons that are only partly understood. For cancer survivors, effects of the cancer treatment, lifestyle behaviors and environmental exposures can also lead to long-term morbidity and premature mortality. Yet, surprisingly little research has been conducted in "survivorship" to assess long term outcomes especially among adult cancer survivors, and in particular, minority survivor populations where baseline health disparities exist. Therefore, descriptive and analytic epidemiologic cohort studies are required to estimate the incidence of adverse physiologic and psychosocial long-term outcomes and evaluate their determinants to inform the development of best practices for preventive interventions. This proposal is designed to plan, prioritize and implement a series of collaborative pilot projects, using mixed methodologies with the following specific objectives: 1) To establish Cancer Survivorship research initiatives as a priority for the MVCP and integrate this area of research and clinical care into the existing partnership infrastructure;2) To stimulate interactions and collaborations among faculty at MMC, VICC and a collaborating minority institution, Tennessee State University;3) To stimulate research into the determinants of health disparities in cancer survivorship, including the biologic, socioeconomic, demographic and health-related risk factors associated with inferior survival of underserved populations (including populations of color, socio-economically challenged);and 4) To identify the incidence, prevalence, spectrum, and severity of adverse long-term health-related outcomes following cancer treatment and develop interventions to prevent or ameliorate such outcomes. The benefits of such an expanded partnership and program of research include for both MMC and VICC: 1) faculty development and recruitment with increased exposure to this line of research for trainees and junior faculty;2) increases in pilot projects and ultimately competitive extramural funding that will now include research along the entire cancer control continuum;3) expansion of the MVCP funded U54 and VICC support grant to include cancer survivorship research;4) expansion of cancer health disparities research to include study of disparities in the quality and quantity of long-term survivorship;5) facilitation of increased minority participation in cancer survivorship disparities research, with respect to both investigators and subjects.
Survival from cancer in adults now exceeds 65%, although disparities exist between African Americans and Caucasians for reasons that are only partly understood. With this growing cohort of survivors, little research has been conducted to assess long-term outcomes, especially among cancer survivors and particularly in minority survivor populations where baseline health disparities exists. We are proposing to address this deficiency through a partnership between Vanderbilt-lngram Cancer Center and Meharry Medical College.