The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University (RHLCCC-NU) and Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) - the only Midwestern four-year Hispanic Serving Institution are partnering to establish the NU-Northeastern Illinois Guild for Health Behavior Oncology Research &Science. This NU NEIGHBORS application represents a strategic collaboration with the ultimate goal of reducing and eliminating cancer disparities which are prominent in Chicago.
We aim to foster community-engaged, social science cancer disparities research, build a platform for public health-related curriculum modification, and create a pipeline of well-trained and experienced cancer researchers and students who choose health and science-related careers. NEIU has evolved into a comprehensive university with a track record of training highly qualified bachelor's and master's-level students for professional careers in the social sciences, education, and science fields. Complementary to NEIU strengths, RHLCCC-NU conducts a broad range of basic, clinical, and population science research with an excess of $158 million in annual extramural funding and has expertise and experience to recruit and train students and faculty in cancer research. This synergy will facilitate accomplishment of the following objectives: 1) to expose NEIU faculty and students to research conducted at RHLCCC-NU in the areas of medical social sciences, community engagement and health disparities;2) to enhance RHLCCC-NU and NEIUs collaborative research efforts and networking opportunities through increased participation in conferences and symposia;3) to introduce cancer disparities, medical social sciences and community engaged research principles through workshops, seminars, lectures, community/university outreach, and academic instruction;4) to incorporate team-based research projects that will generate a steady pipeline of students to continue advanced studies;5) to incorporate innovative experience-learning curricular modifications to expose students to cancer disparities, medical social sciences and community engaged research;and 6) to develop scientists who will succeed in securing funding that addresses cancer disparities. We propose a three-pronged approach to achieve these objectives. First, in the initial planning phase, we will establish our administrative leadership and a community steering committee (CSC) focused on integrating scientific research training, education modification, and community engagement throughout the 4 years of this effort. Second, administrative leadership and the CSC will work to set priorities. Finally, during the implementation stage, we will conduct a series of NEIU-NU pilot research and education projects meant to develop into competitive and collaborative research and training grants and a larger U54 MSI-CCC Partnership Grant. Collectively, these efforts will engage the diverse faculty and student populations at NEIU and NU into a cohesive network of cancer-related social sciences research and education aimed at reducing cancer health disparities.

Public Health Relevance

The presence of major cancer health disparities in Chicago is well-documented, and this proposed partnership poses a unique approach to reduce deeply-engrained disparities. NU NEIGHBORS is a partnership in research and education;we aim to foster and enhance efforts to build a pipeline of students entering health-related careers, increase the number of cancer health disparities researchers and facilitate translation of cancer research to Chicago land communities most impacted by cancer disparities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-SRLB-2 (O1))
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Moten, Carmen P
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Northeastern Illinois University
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