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.
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.
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